Beautifully engraved certificate from the Ocean Shore Railway Company
issued in 1905. This historic document was printed by the American Banknote Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of a horse drawn streetcar. This item has the signatures of the Company’s President and Secretary.
The Ocean Shore Railway Company was incorporated on May 18, 1905 for the purpose
of constructing and operating a double-track, high-speed electric railroad from San Francisco south to Santa Cruz. With the exceptions of San Francisco and Santa Cruz, most
of the Ocean Shore route would be built on privately owned land, much of which the
initial investors and their agents quickly acquired with the hopes of luring new residents
to purchase housing and business tracts (Wagner 1974; Hunter 2004). In order to attract
tourism and weekend excursions, the route was designed to follow as near to the shoreline
of the Pacific Ocean as possible, and would cover a distance of 130 kilometers (81 miles).
Indeed, one of the major selling points to the investors of Ocean Shore Railroad was the
scenic viewscape along its route
At 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906 the Great San Francisco Earthquake struck. At Mussel
Rock, the magnitude 7.8 quake brought down in seconds what had taken the Ocean Shore
workers months to erect. Since the Ocean Shore had not yet seen any revenues, the earthquake proved an enormous setback.
The railroad line had several stops in Pacifica-Edgemar, Salada, Brighton, Vallemar, Rockaway, Tobin-before plunging into a 354-foot tunnel through San Pedro Mountain. It resurfaced at the edge of the high cliffs, 700 feet above the crashing surf. This dramatic ride caused a great deal of trouble for the rail line, because the roadbed was built on an unstable piece of shifting mountainside known, appropriately, as Devil’s Slide. Numerous slides damaged the roadway. One landslide, on January 15, 1916 closed the line for more than two months and required over $300,000 in repairs.
The round-trip fare averaged about 20˘ (based on the purchase of a $5 monthly ticket). Excursion trips were popular. On Sundays, the railroad supplemented the traditional cars with open flat cars topped with picnic benches.
The End of an Era
The competition created by the newly popular automobile sounded the death knell for the little railroad. It had rarely made a profit and, in 1920, was forced to stop operations. Most of the Ocean Shore right of way was paved over and turned into Highway 1 to be the most spectacular road on the West Coast.
History from Wikipedia and
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