Swanton, California, is a small community in an Unincorporated area of Santa Cruz County on the Pacific Ocean, situated about 5 miles (8.0 km) north of the town of Davenport, on Swanton Road (east of State Route 1).
The US Geographical Survey designates Swanton as a populated place, located at latitude: 37.06417 and longitude: -122.22639 with an elevation of 135 ft (41 m).
Ranched with dairy cattle since the California Gold Rush, Swanton was named after Fred Swanton, builder of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Swanton had its own post office from 1897 to 1930 and its own elementary, Seaside School, until 1960. It was the northern terminus of the southern branch of the Ocean Shore Railroad until it closed in 1922.
Currently it is home to the Swanton Pacific Railroad, a one-third scale small gauge railroad that runs on 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of track through the Scott Creek Valley using locomotives and cars from the San Francisco Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915. The community comprises many small residences and two big occupants, Big Creek Lumber Company and the Swanton Pacific Ranch campus of California Polytechnic State University.
Swanton was heavily impacted by the 2009 Lockheed Fire which burned for two weeks consuming nearly 8,000 acres (32 km2) and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents. It was the first major fire since 1948, cost $26 million to fight, and destroyed 13 structures (but no houses) as well as many millions of dollars of prime timber land.
- Davenport oral history, (videorecording, series), Community Action Board, (Santa Cruz: Community Television of Santa Cruz County, 1998).
- Clark, Donald T. (1986). Santa Cruz County Place Names. Santa Cruz Historical Society. ISBN 0-940283-01-8.
- Staff (8/12/2009). "Lockheed Fire burns 1,000 acres Wednesday night; evacuations ordered, 250 structures threatened". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Retrieved 13 March 2013. Check date values in:
- Santa Cruz Wiki - The People's Guide to Santa Cruz County, California.
- Oral History of Swanton Pacific Ranch
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