In the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains, 21 miles southwest of San Jose and almost 13 miles northwest of Santa Cruz, on Highway 9, there exists a modest mountain borough called Boulder Creek. Within commuting distance to the Bay Area, Boulder Creek,California has a rich history and is a throw back to a different way of life. The residents are friendly and many know each other as it retains its small town feel.Search for your home in Boulder Creek below.
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Boulder Creek has a slower-paced lifestyle exists with great festivals and events year round; a historic downtown filled with remnants of a 19th century logging community and as a gateway to the amazing Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Boulder Creek has something to offer all visitors and residents alike. The town has the classic old style Main Street with Highway 9 running through it and is a warm mountain community that has a variety of small businesses and a golf course. The Boulder Creek Country Club is about 15 minutes off of Highway 236 from downtown. This lovely golf resort is an amazing find. Breathtaking, serene and not far away, yet feels like it's a million miles from anywhere. The course has condominiums for sale; great for the avid golfer. The town itself has many cabins as it was originally a vacation spot after its lumbering days were done. As a result, with the popularity of Santa Cruz real estate increasing, the mountain communities like this had their cabins converted to full time living. Most of what is available are cabins though there are plenty of custom homes as well. The majority of what you will find will be two bedroom homes, though you will find plenty that are larger and have been remodeled very nicely. The prices range generally from the $400,000-700,000's for most of the homes. There are very few condominiums in Boulder Creek that are not on the golf course, and not many mobile homes either. Some homes are in the soaring redwoods, others on ridges, or valleys while others are on creeks and streams or the San Lorenzo River. There is a home to fit every need.
Boulder Creek is at the northern end of the San Lorenzo Valley, which has the San Lorenzo River, running through it. Big Basin is California's oldest state park, founded in 1902. Big Basin is home to the largest continuous stand of Ancient Coast Redwoods south of San Francisco. Elevations range from sea level to over 2,000 feet, within the park. The climate is sunny and hot near the ridge tops; foggy and damp near the ocean. With over 80 miles of trails, there is a hike for every age and experience. One can hike all the way to Castle Rock State Park, to the beach and to the Theodore J. Hoover Natural Preserve which has one of the rarest habitats in the central coast, a freshwater marsh. The Redwoods Park has a wide variety of environments; a number of waterfalls; and many different types of animals calling it home.
Some of Boulder Creek's colorful past lives up to the image of the "wild west" back in the late 1800's. Historic downtown Boulder Creek had 26 saloons, cat houses, hotels, and gambling houses. A fire swept through almost all of Boulder Creek in 1891, however there does still exist "newer" buildings that are over 100 years old!
The old Fireman's Hall unfortunately came a bit too late after the fire of 1891. Beneath a covered walkway on the Forest Avenue side of the building, the Justice of the Peace, Isiah Hartman, also held court in his office. He sold real estate from the Judge's Bench when court was not in session. In 1915 the hall was bought by Albert Sweeney. Sweeney was ahead of his time and converted the front of the building to a grocery store and installed gas pumps out back. On Saturday nights the back part of the building became a movie theater, which showed the latest silent films. During the week, the chairs were put away, and the locals roller-skated in the same room. It was also rumored that for those that grew bored with the movies or roller-skating, there was always Sweeney's Brothel upstairs.
The Swamp House was a brothel. There was a murky slough in front of the building due to the high water table. To approach the Swamp House, patrons had to cross the swamp on a rickety raised-plank board walk. As a result, the Swamp House was probably the only whorehouse in the valley untroubled by rowdy drunks. For indeed, one had to be completely sober just to make it to the front door!
The Dougherty and Middleton Mercantile was the largest in Boulder Creek and the only survivor of the great fire of 1891. Generating power from the San Lorenzo River, the mercantile was the first in town to enjoy electricity with a single bulb in the store in 1897. The original building was replaced and later to become the Burl Theater. Three years after the first bulb was lit, R.G. Elmer installed a generator about a mile up Big Basin Highway. He gave the town ten free lights, and sold power to the public. Although the city lights went off at midnight, the rest of the public lost power at 9 pm. They were warned of the impending outage each evening when the bulbs flickered three times. One longtime resident remembers that on Sunday nights in church, the congregation always was happy to see the flickering lights because that was the only thing that stopped the preacher from preaching!
Another historical fact from downtown Boulder Creek was the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). It was built in 1893 for a little over $1,000 on a lot donated by the railroad. The ladies of the Union cooked and served meals to the people to pay off the construction loan. In 1894, the WCTU opened up a free reading room in hopes that this would cure the loggers of their other nefarious activities. Of course this did not work. However, the women were not done with the fight, and with the support of the town's churches they went to cattle. The loggers were no match for the Christian Women's will, and in 1908 the women won when every saloon in town was shut down. However, the lumbermen were not pleased and fought back by burning down the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches to the ground! Interestingly enough, the WCTU building was not touched.
Within its history, Boulder Creek has been home to many movies. All these movies were filmed in part or whole in Boulder Creek: Soul of the Beast (1923), Thunder Mountain (1925), Evangeline (1929), Vertigo(1958), The Gnome-Mobile (1967), Out on a Limb (1992), and Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man (2000).
Boulder Creek is host to many events and festivals. These all add to the charm that is Boulder Creek. The largest festival is the annual Memorial Day weekend Boulder Creek Art, Wine, and Music Festival. An estimated 20,000 people attend and it is free. As the title suggests there are an abundance of all the best life has to offer in music, art, wine, and food of course. There are several vineyards in and around Boulder Creek. These include: Ahlgren Vineyard, Bear Creek Vineyard, Big Basin Vineyards, Stone Mountain Wines, P&M Staiger Vineyard and Winery, and David Bruce Vineyard.
During the summer months, there are many community events. One is the Redwoods to the Sea Garden Tour. This annual tour of gardens around Boulder Creek costs $10 for individuals, and $20 for families. All profits are divided equally among the San Lorenzo Valley fire departments.
The Fourth of July Parade is enjoyed by all. An estimated 10,000 people show up for the parade which runs on Hwy 9 between Railroad Avenue and Scarborough Lumber. The Run to the Redwoods is a fairly new occurrence. It benefits Santa Cruz Animal Services and starts in either San Jose or Monterey and ends in Boulder Creek at the brewery. There is poker, live music, raffles, and food after the run.
In September, Boulder Creek hosts a walking tour of Historic Homes. Tickets costs $20 in advance, $25 the day of, and $15 for students and also include an afternoon tea and wine at the SLV Museum (San Lorenzo Valley Museum). Boulder Creek also has the annual Halloween sidewalk party in downtown, where kids can go from shop to shop "trick or treating". The annual Boulder Creek Christmas in the Redwoods is another fun celebration that includes: a free lighting ceremony with Santa, magic shows, carolers, wagon rides, sing-a-longs, kid's crafts, and more.
There are weekly activities within Boulder Creek such as: music classes, toddler playgroups, moms groups, and library events. Year-round there is live music to enjoy around Boulder Creek.
Boulder Creek is home to Boulder Creek Elementary School and is a part of the San Lorenzo Valley School District. Boulder Creek Elementary school hosts an annual school parade and carnival in May. There is a splash ride, bounce houses, dunk tanks, carnival games, raffle prizes, food, music, and silent auctions. The proceeds benefit a goal of class size reduction. The parade and carnival are sponsored by the BCE Parents Club.
Perfect for an existence of a more old fashioned way of life, with all the benefits of today's world, Boulder Creek is a great place to live and play.
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