Talk:El Camino Real (California)

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Someone has said that the rusty orange bells are the old ones and the gray ones are the originals - isn't it the other way round? Eoghan

Other way round from what? "Old ones" and "originals" sound like the same thing to me.

From the Gilroy Dispatch:

Why are bells already rusted?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Ring my bell: "I'm calling about the bells lining the El Camino Real along Highway 101. You did a story on them (Nov. 12). They're up and they're fun to spot, but how come it looks like they're rusted out? They're really not all that attractive."

The Red Phone contacted John Kolstad with California Bells. Kolstad said the rusted look was done on purpose.

"The bells were created to look old using natural oxidation or rust, as was the first bell installed in 1906," Kolstad said. The reason for this is because of the need to maintain the bells.

"There was a concern regarding maintenance in the future. Caltrans was unsure if there would be money to repaint the bells, if painted, in the future," Kolstad said, and added, "Most people compliment us on the appearance."

The mission bells project follows the original El Camino Real, which linked the 21 California missions and follows much of U.S. Highway 101.

Schmiteye 04:15, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

"The King's Highway" is not a good translation of "El Camino Real". "The Royal Trail", "The Royal Road" or even "The King's Trail/Road" are much better ones. The Spanish for Highway is "Autopista", which is only a XX century term. The best traslation of "Camino" is "Trail". "Road" would be "Carretera". I personally would choose "The Royal Trail" for this, but Google gives more hits to "The Royal Road", so this may be a more common translation. If the term "The King's Highway" is commonly used, that can be stated, but saying that "El Camino Real is Spanish for The Kings Highway" is, IMHO, linguistically wrong

The literal translation is "The Royal Road" but you can't really go around and translating things literally and expect to be correct. English and Spanish are different languages and different words have different importance. The English counterpart is "The King's Highway" (talk) 01:28, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

El Camino Real in the Bay Area?[edit]

The article claims that the El Camino Real goes through San Jose, Santa Clara, and Palo Alto, heading NW on the 101.

What happens after that? From the article, one would assume it follows the 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge and continues north. This is the easiest way to understand the article's description, since the only city mentioned north of Palo Alto (Stanford) is Sonoma.

However, there are signs on San Pablo Avenue -- the main north-south road that goes through Berkeley, El Cerrito, and Richmond -- that claim that San Pablo Ave. is El Camino Real! This stretch of San Pablo is Highway 123, which is listed on the main page.

Is San Pablo / Hwy 123 really part of the El Camino Real? If so, how does the ECR cross the Bay? Does it avoid Marin County entirely?

I wish the article actually listed the full route, or at least listed the highways and cities in the correct order. Lawrence King 02:17, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

I wish I could find the full route. Any chance of someone from the area seeing what roads the signs and bells are posted on? --SPUI (talk - don't use sorted stub templates!) 22:31, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

I think I figured out why the description is so bad. Assuming that before 1964, the routing was defined in terms of Legislative Routes, it has the following mapping:

  • LR 2, San Diego to San Francisco: I-5, 72, US 101, 82 (all of these, and I-280, were in the pre-2001 definition - parts of LR 2 are also 1, but they may have been more careful then)
  • LR 8, Novato to Sonoma (to Cordelia): 37, 121, 12
  • LR 14, Oakland to Richmond: 123
  • LR 105, (Half Moon Bay to) Hayward to Oakland: 92, 185
  • LR 253, Daly City to downtown San Francisco: I-280 (82 and 87 pre-1968)

When these routes are added to the pre-2001 definition, it gives the 2001 definition (other than 162 and 238 - see below). My guess is that there was a pre-1964 definition giving the LR numbers, and they were lazy when they converted it in 2001.

That still doesn't explain 162, which was LR 45 (Biggs-Willows) and LR 21 (Richvale-Oroville-Beckwourth Pass). 238 is not in any of those (it was part of LR 5, which also included routes like I-580), but may have been grouped into LR 105, with the "bump" of LR 5 and LR 105 in Hayward. Or maybe they were more careful with 238 but not the others. --SPUI (talk - don't use sorted stub templates!) 18:21, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

But this means the El Camino Real crosses the Golden Gate. Before the bridge was built, this wasn't possible. A hundred years ago you could be ferried across the bay, because the shores are accessible: even today you could row a boat pretty much from Candlestick Park to the Raiders' stadium in Oakland. But I don't see how you could cross the Golden Gate in a small boat. First, the north side is all cliffs, as far as I know. Second, you've got big ocean waves coming in from the Pacific.
It never crossed the Golden Gate. It went to Mission Dolores and the Presidio. Call it a fork if you want. Another leg went _around_ the bay.

So if the old route went to San Francisco and also to Sonoma, was it just a generic name for many unrelated pieces of road? Lawrence King 01:50, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Many (most?) parts of US 101 are on new alignment - this is a modern definition of El Camino Real. If you live in the area, can you report on any existing bells or signs? --SPUI (talk - don't use sorted stub templates!) 19:55, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

--- At present, the article states that "In reality, the route originates near the southernmost tip of Baja California Sur in Mexico, at the site of Misión San Bruno in San Bruno (the first mission established in California)."

Surely, this can't be right, can it? That mission was abandoned after a couple of years, in the 1680s. It was another decade before a permanent mission was established in Baja California. David Harley, March 10, 2006

From a conceptual standpoint, this is correct; while Misión San Bruno was founded in 1685 and abandoned in 1687, it still marks the starting point of the Spanish missionaries' trek up through the Californias.--Lordkinbote 21:32, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
The caminos reales (there never was just one) were never under the jurisdiction of religious orders, and were not only intended to connect missions, but all important points. Thus, there is no particular reason why a camino real would be demarcated by the happenstance that a missionary trek may have begun in a particular place.Tmangray 03:24, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

In Orange County[edit]

Noted that there are bells off of the legally defined route. So far, I'm logging that, if the bells demarc the route, the route (from the south) deviates from I-5 in Orange, travels north on Main Street, and west on Chapman before reconverging with Interstate 5. From there, it exits again on Anaheim Boulevard/Haster Street and travels north to La Palma Avenue, where it proceeds north on Harbor.

I would, in short, like to see the route as listed per the bells. I'm certain that segments of the eponymous route in Tustin aren't actually part of it.

--Dennis The TIger 16:49, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

"Old Maps" Not so Old and Not so accurate[edit]

The maps provided for this article date to the 1920s, not to the era the captions imply. The information these maps supply clearly reflect the American period faux "Spanish" revival version of the camino real. In particular, these maps seem to demonstrate that there was a single, continuous camino real and that its sole purpose was to connect the missions. This is nonsense. There was, for example, a Camino Real del Rancho San Antonio which ran up the east side of San Francisco Bay which connected no missions. Its main purpose was to connect the vast Peralta ranch (San Antonio) and its bayshore landings with the pueblo of San Jose, and only incidentally ran past the Mission San Jose located in what is now part of Fremont. Tmangray 03:35, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

This is like asking which came first: the chicken or the egg. Before the pueblos or ranchos, the missions were colonizing efforts. Between them was no paved road between the missions. But as with the Oregon Trail over time, a preferred route sprung up and became known as per the title of this article. As the ranchos were parcelled out, alternate routes sprung up. Put yourself back

at that period of time and try to imagine a missionary or native american trying to give directions from Mission San Francisco Solano to Rancho San Jose. Chances are they said something to the effect, "You take the King's Road south where it crosses the Bay tributary. . ." Since that route was not the King's Road, it probably became King's Road Rancho San Jose, which is an imposition of the way people have named roads, drives, etc.

Part of the confusion is that we as Americans are superimposed our concepts of transportation on what was once a dusty trail that is now defined by markers, and legislation at the city, state and federal levels of government. Yes, now it is pretty much a connect the dot road or delinated line on a pretty map like the on used to illustrate the route. Would it be nice to have a map from that era- yes! Does it exist? I don't know. Maybe you have a good point in that the map should be called an illustration because it is used as a teaching tool to reference the Camino Real.
One of my history professors once said, "Reading history is like watching the best movie ever - you have to suspend all beliefs for it to work otherwise you will walk out before intermission."
The camino reales were property of the Spanish Crown, not the Catholic Church. They connected missions because it was in the secular interest of the crown that they do so. But they also served other purposes like connecting the Presidios (the oldest institutions---older than the missions) upon which the missions depended, as well as serving the later (not by much) ranches and pueblos. Tmangray 20:10, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Consisting of Highways?[edit]

Is the statement "Today, a sequence of modern highways approximates the historic route." still correct? It seems there a significant chunk of El Camino Reales that aren't really fully-fledged highways?

So, you don't think that I-5, US-101 (SF Bay Peninsula area), et cetera, approximate the historic route? If you look at all the roads currently labelled "El Camino" or "El Camino Real", I bet they don't diverge from "modern highways" by more than 1.5 miles on average.

So how does the legislative definition actually go and how does it differ from the historic route?[edit]

The first legislative definition was in 1959 (c. 1569), which was just Legislative Route 2 from San Francisco to Mexico. In the 1964 renumbering (1963 c. 385) this was changed to SR 82, US 101, I-105, I-5, SR 72, and I-5. The only part of this that wasn't Route 2 was the short-lived SR 51 in Santa Ana. In 1968 (c. 282), I-280 was added and I-105 was deleted, since part of SR 82 in San Francisco became I-280 and I-105 became part of US 101. The route was allowed to use city streets and county roads in 1981 (c. 292), since part of SR 72 was deleted.

It started to get weird in 1999 (c. 724), when SR 237 was added between SR 82 and US 101. But it was not until 2001 (c. 739) that the current definition was adopted, changing SR 237 to SR 238 and adding SR 12, SR 37, SR 121, SR 87, SR 162, SR 185, SR 92, and SR 123.

So the question is how this was interpreted by Caltrans. They seem to have followed US 101 to SR 82: [1] I can't find anything about the 2001 addition.

[2] (1911) details the route marked by bells, as follows (approximate routing based on modern highways; information also added from other sources):

  • I-5, San Diego to Anaheim
    • India Street, San Diego Avenue, Morena Boulevard?, I-5, Gilman Drive?
    • 1917 map: mostly old US 101 etc., Doheny Park Road, Camino Capistrano, Cabot Road, I-5, El Camino Real, 1st Street, Main Street, Chapman Avenue, I-5
  • SR 72, Anaheim to Whittier
    • 1917 map: Anaheim Boulevard, La Palma Parkway, Harbor Boulevard, Whittier Boulevard
  • SR 19, Whittier to San Gabriel
    • 1917 map: Rosemead Boulevard, San Gabriel Boulevard
  • I-10, San Gabriel to Los Angeles
  • US 101, Los Angeles to Gaviota
    • 1912 map: Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood Boulevard, Highland Avenue?, Cahuenga Boulevard, Ventura Boulevard, Calabasas Road, Mureau Road, US 101, Agoura Road, US 101, Thousand Oaks Boulevard, US 101, Old Conejo Road, US 101, Main Street (Ventura), Ventura Avenue, Casitas Vista Road, SR 150
    • Carpinteria Avenue, US 101, State Street, Hollister Avenue, US 101
  • ?, Gaviota to Solvang
    • Alisal Road
  • SR 246, Solvang to Lompoc
    • SR 246?
  • SR 1 and SR 135, Lompoc to Santa Maria
    • Harris Grade Road, SR 135, Marcum Street, Clark Avenue, SR 125
  • US 101, Santa Maria to San Miguel
    • Thompson Avenue, Los Berros Road?, ?, US 101, Higuera Street, US 101, SR 58, El Camino Real, Main Street (Templeton), US 101, Spring Street, US 101, Mission Street
  • ?, San Miguel via Pleyto to Jolon
    • 10th Street, Bee Rock Road, Vista Road, under the south part of reservoir, Jolon Pleyto Road, Jolon Road
  • ?, Jolon to Soledad
    • Jolon Road?? Reliz Canyon Road and Arroyo Seco Road??
  • US 101, Soledad to Salinas
    • US 101, Alta Street, US 101, Abbott Street
  • San Juan Grade Road, Salinas to San Juan Bautista
    • Main Street, San Juan Grade Road, Salinas Road
  • US 101, San Juan Bautista to Coyote
    • San Juan Highway, US 101, Monterey Highway
  • SR 82, Coyote to San Francisco
  • US 101, SR 37, SR 121, and SR 12?, San Rafael to Sonoma

That leaves SR 87, SR 162, and SR 92. It's probable that SR 162 was a typo for SR 262, a short portion of which was part of the original route; SR 87 was probably substituted for the old route through San Jose to SR 262, and SR 92 must be an error.

The following text is from "California Missions and Landmarks: El Camino Real", 1925.

A Committee on Location was appointed with instructions to study the road, prepare a map, and then report to the State Executive Committee. The report was given in 1905 and says: "We have had an abstract and map of all old roads in Los Angeles and Orange counties made for us by the Title Indemnity & Trust Co., now merged with the Title Guarantee & Trust Co. From this abstract and map the work of re-locating El Camino Real was begun by the committee on location appointed for that purpose. The names of the committee are Mrs. A. S. C. Forbes, chairman; Hon. R. F. Del Valle, Col. J. B. Lankershim, Rev. Juan Caballería and Mr. O. W. Longdon, county supervisor. The work on location has been verified by church records, disénos of ranchos, and valuable information from old Spanish settlers, until now there is not one mile of the old road that once joined the twenty-one missions that has not been investigated, and we find that El Camino Real of old is the main traveled road of today and that it joins the missions, the county seats, and centers of population in the counties through which it passes—as is shown by the general route of El Camino Real as given below:

Mission San Diego to Old Town, via Rose Cañon to Del Mar and to Mission San Luis Rey and Pala, or from Del Mar to Oceanside. From Oceanside, El Camino Real leads to Mission San Juan Capistrano, Myford-Irvine, Tustin, Santa Ana, Orange, Anaheim, Fullerton, La Habra, Whittier, Mission San Gabriel, to Los Angeles; or from Mission San Gabriel the Camino Real de San Bernardino goes to El Monte, La Puente, Pomona, Claremont, Uplands, Cucamonga, Etiwanda, San Bernardino, Redlands and Colton.

From Los Angeles El Camino Real leads to Hollywood, through Cahuenga Pass to Sherman Way, thence to Mission San Fernando, or from Sherman Way to Calabasas, Camarillo, Mission San Buenaventura, Mission Santa Barbara, Gaviota, Mission Santa Inés, Mission La Purísima (near Lompoc), Los Olivos, Santa Maria, Mission San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Mission San Miguel, Jolon, Mission San Antonio de Padua, ruins of Mission Soledad, Salinas to Monterey and Mission Carmel, or from Salinas to Mission San Juan Bautista, San José and Mission San José, Hayward, San Leandro to Oakland; or from San José to Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Mateo, Colma, Ocean View to Mission de los Dolores and the presidio; or to the water front where the boats went over to Mission San Rafael, which is totally gone. The old road is well known that joined the two Missions of San Rafael and San Francisco Solano de Sonoma." The report was accepted unanimously...

--NE2 00:42, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

This is a case of the California state assembly legislating history. The above information about the route of historic El Camino Real between Mission San Miguel and Mission San Antonio traveling along the San Antonio River. (we called it the River Road before Lake San Antonio was built) through Pleyto (now under the waters of San Antonio Lake) and on to Jolon and Mission San Antonio and thence North over Reliz Canyon crossing the Arroyo Seco River and on to Mission Soledad (west of Salinas River) is right on. US 101 from San Miguel to Soledad was designated by the state legislature to be the historic El Camino Real and has the historic El Camino Bell signs but this bypasses Mission San Antonio de Padua. It was after all the road/trail connecting the missions. This portion of 101 is about 20 miles off the actual routing of historic El Camino Real. The Salinas Valley in this portion was known as the great Salinas desert. Take a look at pg. 47 of (talk) 01:41, 24 December 2012 (UTC)