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Opal Cliffs homes feel like they are part of Capitola, but they are in Live Oak. The Opal Cliffs' area is west of Capitola's downtown region, but is visible from the the wharf. Like most other beach locations, Opal Cliffs real estate varies is size and view, but this is the type of lovely view of Capitola some of the bluff homes have. Located on the south end of Santa Cruz, it is one of those gems or hidden treasures known best to locals. And what keeps the area especially guarded is a beach called Privates, named for the key you must purchase to gain access to the beach. It keeps the neighborhood beach and surfing spot the way they like it, private. Opal Cliffs is technically Santa Cruz, but it has the flavor of Capitola and the history more associated with it.
The name, Opal Cliffs, was derived from a train stop and lumber yard named Opal, operated by the Loma Prieta Lumber Company approximately 100 years ago. Above Capitola Village at the end of what is today Prospect Street, the Loma Prieta logging camps in the mountains above Aptos and Soquel brought their lumber to Opal for shipment on the Southern Pacific Railroad to San Francisco. Local entrepreneur and logging baron Frederick Hihn, who build a gorgeous hotel in Capitola, purchased this land and deeded the property surrounding the Opal train stop to grandson Eulice Hihn. When Eulice died in an accident, his widow Kathryn inherited the land. She married J.T. McGeoghegan and they subdivided the land during the real estate boom, after World War I.You will see from the photo on the bottom of the page, not much was added for homes since then, and the beginnnings of the second world war. Capitola used to have an airport where Cliffwood Heights/ Seaview Terrace subdivision is now, near New Brighton Beach. In the summer of 1923, the land became Opal Subdivision 1 of the Fairview Tract, taking the name of the train stop. After Capitola incorporated in 1949, a demand for new homes grew and during the 1950's the Jewel Box was developed and Opal Street was joined by Garnet, Diamond, Jade, Topaz, Crystal and the other "gems" of the Jewel Box.
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