Davenport, California

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Shark Tooth Rock & Davenport Beach
Shark Tooth Rock & Davenport Beach
Location of Davenport in Santa Cruz County, California.
Location of Davenport in Santa Cruz County, California.
Davenport is located in California
Position in California.
Coordinates: 37°01′05″N 122°11′50″W / 37.01806°N 122.19722°W / 37.01806; -122.19722Coordinates: 37°01′05″N 122°11′50″W / 37.01806°N 122.19722°W / 37.01806; -122.19722
CountryUnited States
CountySanta Cruz
 • Total2.85 sq mi (7.37 km2)
 • Land2.85 sq mi (7.37 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)  0.37%
Elevation259 ft (79 m)
 • Total388
 • Density136.38/sq mi (52.66/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP Code
Area code831
GNIS feature ID2582991
U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Davenport, California

Davenport is a census-designated place (CDP) in Santa Cruz County, California.[2] Davenport sits at an elevation of 259 feet (79 m).[2] The 2020 United States census reported Davenport's population was 388.


Davenport lies along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, situated about 9 miles north of Santa Cruz, on Highway One. Originally on the banks of San Vicente Creek, the town expanded to the north during the twentieth century.

The town is presently noted for the spectacular cliffs and bluffs above the Pacific, beaches in between cliffs, surfing opportunities, the cement plant run by Cemex (shuttered in January 2010), and the former headquarters of Odwalla, a company that makes fruit juices.


St. Vincent de Paul Church.
Historic Davenport jail, now a museum

A whaling captain named John Pope Davenport settled at El Jarro Point [ceb], about half a mile from today's town, in 1867. Davenport built a 400-foot wharf at the mouth of Agua Puerca Creek ("agua puerca" translates to "muddy water"). This wharf was built to load the lumber brought down from the hills for shipment to Santa Cruz. A small village grew up around the port and was known as Davenport Landing. The local post office began operations in 1874, but was known only as Davenport. Agua Puerca Creek lived up to its name by bringing down so much mud that the port filled up and steamers could not tie up to the wharf to load lumber. A small extension did not solve the problem. Then a competitor built a longer wharf, but it was destroyed in a storm. Captain Davenport went bankrupt and moved to Santa Cruz. The post office in Davenport Landing closed in 1889.[3]

When Captain Davenport went bankrupt, his assets were auctioned off to pay creditors. Among the items auctioned off were whaling items leading to speculation that he carried out whaling activities from the port, especially after he started losing money. However, no eyewitness reports of whaling activities at Davenport Landing have been found.[4]

In 1905, an east coast businessman named William Dingee bought the Santa Cruz Lime Company, which had a lime quarry on the banks of San Vicente Creek, south of Davenport Landing. In the following year, the Santa Cruz Portland Cement Company manufacturing plant was built nearby. At that time, the closed Davenport Landing post office opened up in the settlement that grew up around the cement plant. It again only used the name of Davenport; hence, the name of the town.[5]

Davenport has three restaurants, two art galleries, a store, a post office, the Davenport Cash Store, and Pacific School, the only school in the Pacific Elementary School District.

The ZIP Code is 95017 and the community is inside area code 831.

Points of interest[edit]

Shark Fin Cove, a noted photographers spot along the coast of Davenport.
American Abalone

Davenport is home to American Abalone, which produces farm-raised California red abalone.[6] No tours are offered. California farm-raised abalone has been selected by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sea Watch program as an excellent choice for environmentally conscious seafood consumers.[citation needed]

Cement Plant and CEMEX Redwoods

The cement plant was built in 1906 and operated as the Santa Cruz Portland Cement Company. In subsequent years, it was operated by Pacific Cement and Aggregates (1956), Lone Star Cement Corporation (1965), and RMC Pacific Materials (1998).[7] In 2005, the plant was acquired by Mexico's CEMEX corporation. That same year, the plant was reported to have emitted 100 pounds of mercury.[8] The presence of high levels of chromium-6, purported to be a cancer-causing chemical, led to strained relationships between CEMEX, the Environmental Protection Agency, and County of Santa Cruz.[9] CEMEX ceased operations and decommissioned the plant in 2010.[10] The 8500-acre parcel is now referred to as the CEMEX Redwoods and is planned for future park use.[11] According to the Palo Alto-based Peninsula Open Space Trust, the CEMEX Redwoods have been renamed the San Vicente Redwoods

Davenport Jail

Of historical interest is the Davenport Jail. It has two cells, and was used only twice from the time of its construction in 1914 until its decommissioning in 1936. Today it is a museum featuring coastal history supported by volunteers from the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.

Saint Vincent DePaul Church

St. Vincent DePaul Church, in Davenport, was built entirely of cement from the local cement factory in 1914. The Church is the subject of a famous photograph by Ansel Adams.

Southern Pacific Freight Line

The southern portion of the Ocean Shore Railroad operated between Davenport and Santa Cruz from 1907 to 1920. The Southern Pacific freight line between the two communities is still in place.


Davenport Beach

It lies at 37°00′42″N 122°11′27″W / 37.011667°N 122.190833°W / 37.011667; -122.190833. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP covers an area of 2.8 square miles (7.4 km2), 99.63% of it land and 0.37% of it water.


Davenport has mild weather throughout the year, enjoying a Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb) characterized by cool, wet winters and warm, mostly dry summers. Due to its proximity to Monterey Bay, fog and low overcast are common during the night and morning hours, especially in the summer.

Climate data for Davenport, CA
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 60.6
Average low °F (°C) 40.8
Average precipitation inches (mm) 6.40
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.6 10.9 10.0 5.9 3.3 1.3 0.3 0.7 1.5 3.5 7.5 10.7 66.2
Source: NOAA[12]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[13]

The 2010 United States Census[14] reported that Davenport had a population of 408. The population density was 143.4 inhabitants per square mile (55.4/km2). The racial makeup of Davenport was 272 (66.7%) White, 6 (1.5%) African American, 5 (1.2%) Native American, 12 (2.9%) Asian, 82 (20.1%) from other races, and 31 (7.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 172 persons (42.2%).

The Census reported that 349 people (85.5% of the population) lived in households, 59 (14.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 123 households, out of which 36 (29.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 51 (41.5%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 16 (13.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 11 (8.9%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 15 (12.2%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 3 (2.4%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 30 households (24.4%) were made up of individuals, and 13 (10.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84. There were 78 families (63.4% of all households); the average family size was 3.36.

The population was spread out, with 79 people (19.4%) under the age of 18, 41 people (10.0%) aged 18 to 24, 115 people (28.2%) aged 25 to 44, 132 people (32.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 41 people (10.0%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 137.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 141.9 males.

There were 139 housing units at an average density of 48.9 per square mile (18.9/km2), of which 56.1% were owner-occupied and 43.9% were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 1.8%. 49.5% of the population lived in owner-occupied housing units and 36.0% lived in rental housing units.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Davenport, California
  3. ^ Clark, Donald Thomas. Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary. [Santa Cruz, CA: Santa Cruz Historical Society, 1986]. See pages 90-91.
  4. ^ Bertao, David. The Portuguese Shore Whalers of California 1854-1904. [San Jose, CA: http://portuguesebooks.org/[permanent dead link], 2006]. See pages 184-186.
  5. ^ Clark, Donald Thomas. Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary. [Santa Cruz, CA: Santa Cruz Historical Society, 1986]. See pages 90-91
  6. ^ American Abalone Farms
  7. ^ "Cemex". Santa Cruz - Local Wiki. localwiki. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  8. ^ Ragust, Kristin. "Toxic trouble in Davenport". ventana.sierraclub.org. Sierra Club. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  9. ^ "What's the Matter with Davenport". Wall Street Journal.
  10. ^ "CEMEX USA Finalizes Sale of its Davenport, CA Redwood Forest Property to the Living Landscape Initiative". www.cemexusa.com. Archived from the original on 6 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  11. ^ Hoppin, Jason. "Officials detail plans for Cemex Redwoods". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Santa Cruz Sentinel. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  12. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  14. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Davenport CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014.

External links[edit]