National Historic Landmarks of Santa Cruz

National Historic Landmarks of Santa Cruz

As one of the 27 original counties establishing California as a state in 1850, historic landmarks of Santa Cruz include adobe structures, a covered bridge, a primeval forest, and a wooden roller coaster.


  • The Santa Cruz Mission Adobe is thought to have been built around 1824. It’s community is known to have contrasted with the nearby Villa de Branciforte, a secular pueblo built by the Spanish government in 1797. Both landmarks preserve significant archaeological features.


  • The beginning of the state park system began in 1902 in the redwoods of Big Basin. 3500 acres was deeded to the state of California. Today, the forest is still considered unaffected by humans and therefore exhibits unique ecological features. The park is located 45 minutes north of downtown Santa Cruz proper and is a National Historic Landmark. 


  • Amusements also painted the history of Santa Cruz in the early 1900’s. The San Francisco Chronicle documents a dancing hall, a grand casino, and (as a National Historic Landmark) one of the nation’s oldest roller coasters. The Chronicle writes, “Danish woodcarver Charles I.D. Looff, who had seen success with a carousel placed at Coney Island in 1875 and delivered a merry-go-round to the boardwalk in August 1911. His son, Arthur Looff, built another treasure of the boardwalk: the Giant Dipper roller coaster, which opened in 1924.” Read 100 Years of Santa Cruz Boardwalk Fun and Memories.


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