Aptos (Images of America)


Aptos Images of America

Aptos is a coastal town filled with beaches, a federally protected redwood forest, a community college, shopping centers, a golf course, and more. It is also home to the self-proclaimed “World’s Shortest Parade,” which takes place every Fourth of July. The true meaning of Aptos lacks definitive evidence; however, all sources agree that it is derived from an Indian word. The most common belief is that Aptos translates to “the meeting of two streams” or some variation of that phrase. The two bodies of water the name describes are known today as the Valencia and Aptos Creeks. Another explanation is that the town is named after a famous Indian chief. A third theory comes from Fr. Juan Crespi’s interpretation of the native language on the Portola Expedition of 1769. Although the native people had been here for thousands of years, the first deed of land was not granted to Rafael Castro until 1833. In its relatively short life, Aptos has changed significantly.

This is a collection of stories and photographs, selected by Kevin Newhouse and the Aptos History Museum Committee that best allows readers to travel back and visit Aptos through the years.

Santa Cruz History Journal #9: Landscapes

The 9th edition of the Santa Cruz History Journal is about environmental activism and historic preservation in Santa Cruz. From the fight to save Lighthouse Field to the opposition of a nuclear power plant on the North Coast to the establishment of the California Coastal Commission, this anthology is about the people, organizations, ballot measures, and movements that literally shaped our county.

Of special interest is the essay How Grassroots Community Activism Changed History at the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, written by Friends Executive Director Bonny Hawley, Historic Preservation Manager Jessica Kusz, and Operations Director Peg Danielsen, which recounts the surprising story of the grassroots effort to shape the Santa Cruz Mission into the cultural and historical landmark it is today.  


Also available at the Santa Cruz Mission, Natural Bridges, Wilder Ranch, and Seacliff ParkStores. 

Santa Cruz Wharf (Images of America)

The Santa Cruz Wharf has shone as one of the crown jewels of the Pacific Coast, and today it serves as a gateway to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. What began as a shipping pier quickly morphed into the home of the colorful and fabled Santa Cruz Italian fishing colony. In its most recent iteration, the wharf serves as the primary destination for upward of four million annual visitors to Santa Cruz County. Since the time of the California Gold Rush in the late 1840s, there have been six wharves, or wooden piers, along the Santa Cruz waterfront, providing critical links for the local community to regional and global markets. The Santa Cruz Wharf, and all the 4,528 wooden piles that compose it, provides both external and internal vistas not found anywhere on land and is a place for contemplation, reflection, and quietude.

Geoffrey Dunn is a fourth-generation member of the Cottardo Stagnaro fishing family and an award-winning journalist, historian, and filmmaker. He is the author of several books, including Santa Cruz Is in the Heart (volumes I and II) and Sports of Santa Cruz County, published by Arcadia in its Images of America series. The recipient of a Gail Rich Award for artistic contributions to Santa Cruz County and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce, Dunn was named both Artist of the Year and Historian of the Year in Santa Cruz County for 2015.