Santa Cruz County History - Making a Living



The Tin House
by Barry Brown

Photograph of the Second Powder Works Office
Photograph of the Second Powder Works Office
Photograph from the Hagley Museum & Library, Wilmington, DE

This photograph was taken sometime in the 1890’s by Santa Cruz photographer O. V. Ort who photographed many areas and buildings at the Powder Works during that decade. The view looks north on Joppa Street and shows the location of the second Powder Works Office. The Office was re-located to this spot in order to be closer to the main Black Powder manufacturing area (see Historical Marker #7). It was constructed of corrugated sheet metal which was typical of the buildings that made up the CPW and according to historic description, was painted yellow contrasting pleasantly with the surrounding redwoods. As an administrative building, it was kept in relatively good condition and survived until the Masons purchased the land in 1924. It stood where Paradise Park’s Green Swings are now, near the intersection of Joppa and York streets. Early Park members called this building the Tin House because of its construction. But others, remembering social evenings there when they would gather for music and dancing, knew it as the Terpsichore after the Greek Muse of choral singing and dance. After an evening’s festivities, families lit their way through the dark woods with lanterns as they returned to their campsites.

Mr. Ort's photograph shows several power poles; this indicates that electricity had replaced water power as a means of running the machinery. In addition, electricity provided light for nighttime operations. Interestingly, Ort became so intrigued with powder-making that he eventually became Assistant Superintendent of the Powder Works and had a long career here and with the DuPont Corporation in Wilmington, Delaware.


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