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History of the San Lorenzo Valley

Main Street Boulder Creek c. 1900

The San Lorenzo Valley is located in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains in Santa Cruz County, California and was once a logging industry center of California especially during the rebuilding of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. Now it is home to over 35,000 people. Home to millions of Sequoia sempervirens, or redwood trees, the valley includes the mountain towns of Ben Lomond, Felton, Brookdale, Boulder Creek, Mount Hermon, Lompico, and Zayante.

The San Lorenzo Valley boasts a rich history intertwined with the towering redwoods. Originally home to Ohlone people, the valley's fate changed with the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the late 18th century. Mexican land grants followed, but significant development began in the mid-19th century.

The discovery of gold further north fueled the valley's growth. Lumber became king, and San Lorenzo Valley transformed into a bustling logging center. Towns like Felton and Boulder Creek sprang up to support the industry. The iconic Felton Covered Bridge, built in 1892, served as a vital passage for transporting lumber.


At the turn of the century, the San Lorenzo Valley Board of Trade was the precursor organization to the San Lorenzo Valley Chamber of Commerce which formed officially in 1926. 

By the early 20th century, logging began to decline. The valley transitioned, with agriculture and tourism emerging. Today, the San Lorenzo Valley offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty. Redwood groves stand as silent sentinels to the past, while charming towns, restaurants, and art galleries beckon visitors. The legacy of logging lives on in museums and historic buildings, reminding us of the valley's fascinating journey.


The San Lorenzo Valley History page is a repository for historical photos and documents for the towns of Boulder Creek, Brookdale, Ben Lomond, Bonny Doon, Felton, Zayante, and Mount Hermon.

San Lorenzo Valley Town Plans

Town plans for Boulder Creek, Ben Lomond, and Felton serve key purposes for the communities' development - vision and direction, setting priorities for land use and transportation, environmental and viewshed protection. The intent is an improved quality of life for the residents and businesses. 

Join the Chamber

Joining your local San Lorenzo Valley Chamber of Commerce connects you to a network of local businesses, community leaders, and nonprofit organziations for collaboration and growth.

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