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Construction of the main portion of Highway 17 was completed in 1940. The new road featured four lanes with wide sweeping curves. This photograph was taken before traffic lines were painted. Source: California Department of Transportation

The Santa Cruz Mountains

When the Highways are Completed

by Laura Sears

(A poem written during the construction of highway 17)

The Santa Cruz Mountains are changed you know

From what they were thirty-five years ago.

The fences are gone from farms at last,

The horse and buggy are a thing of the past.


Machinery does the work on the land,

And very few horses are in demand.

Our roads will soon be paved highways,

So different from those of bygone days.


The Skyline Boulevard wends its way

Past Loma Prieta and on toward the bay.

A fire trail road skims along the tops

Of the highest ridge, near Alma it stops.


At a nice fire station where a beautiful lawn

Has a green grizzly bear sleeping upon.

We all have autos in which to ride

And building nice homes is the people’s pride.


Over our heads fly the big air-ships

For business or pleasure—all sorts of trips—

From city to city across the state,

From Los Angeles to the Golden Gate.


Thousands of redwoods have been milled out

Furnishing lumber for towns about;

But then the cutting the trees don’t kill,

For the redwood has a determined will.


The stump sends up new sprouts around

And, in time, reforests the barelooking ground.

While many acres of orchard trees

Stand waving their fruit in the summer breeze.


We’ve telephone lines, and a rural route

To take the daily mail about.

The butcher and grocery store

Bring you service to your door.


Electric lights we have galore.

The tub and board we use no more;

The washer’s by a motor run,

And house work is more easily done.


Fishing and hunting up here you’ll find

For recreation of the idle mind.

With birds to sing, and flowers to bloom

To fill the air with delightful perfume.


Our climate is lovely, it’s a nice place to live,

Where nature responds to the efforts you give.

Do you know any place in the Golden State

That rivals the Santa Cruz Mountains to date?


Source:  Sears, Laura J. Nuts from Hazelhurst. 2004, pp. 180-181.


Thomas Bros. Map of Santa Cruz County California (CC).png

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22849 Summit Road

Los Gatos, CA 95033

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