Santa Cruz County History - Making a Living

Mineral Survey of Santa Cruz County - Mineral Water
by C. McK. Laizure

Prepared by C. McK. Laizure,
Mining Engineer of the California State Mining Bureau

Although several small mineral springs occur singly and in groups within Santa Cruz County, no mineral water is bottled or commercially produced. There is little improvement at any locality except St. Francis Springs which was formerly a popular resort, long known as Chittenden Springs and later as El Pajaro Springs, where hotel accommodations were available.

Hinns Sulphur Spring

This is a small unimproved cold sulphur spring, located near the top of Hinkley ridge about one mile east of Olive Springs. A number of other small unnamed seepages or springs of mineralized water also occur west and northwest of Olive Springs.

Olive Springs

This picturesque property, which still remains practically in its natural state, comprises 100 acres, located on Hinkley Creek near its junction with Soquel Creek and extending to the top of the ridge between the two streams.

The property is in T. 10 S., R. 1 W., and varies in elevation from 300 feet at the camping ground to 1200 feet on the ridge. It is six miles north of Soquel with which it is connected by a good road. Owner EIizabeth J. Corcoran, Box 81, Seabright, California.

Hinkley Creek flows through a deep canyon here, the walls of which stand nearly vertical. Seepages and springs occur at numerous points in the creek bed and from the sandstone formation, which forms the canyon walls. The rock is very soft in places and in process of decomposition.

Of probably a dozen springs on the property, five have been somewhat improved by constructing small concrete basins around them. These five are known as the 'White Sulphur,' 'Sulphur.' 'Sulphur and Iron,' 'Magnesium,' and 'Magnesium and Iron' Springs, but the names mean little. All are cold.

The so-called 'magnesium and iron' spring has a flow which more than fills to capacity a 2-inch open pipe line, with a fall of 100 feet or more in a few hundred yards, leading from it to the camp grounds.

No water is sold but visitors are permitted to carry away as much as they desire.

Analysis of the 'White Sulphur' spring water
by G. A. Bangs, M. D., Chemist:

Reaction: Constituents in
parts per million
Primary salinity 29
Secondary salinity 2
Tertiary salinity 0
Primary alkalinity 0
Secondary alkalinity 62
Tertiary alkalinity ?


Constituents By weight Reacting values
Carbonate (CO3) 390 12.98
Sulphate (SO4) 234 4.80
Calcium Ca 180 9.00
Sodium Na 156 6.90
Phosphate (PO4) 0 0.00
Chloride Cl 104 2.98
Magnesium Mg 86 6.92
Potassium K 2.5 .06
Total 1152.5
Carbon dioxide (CO2) present
Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) 8.2

The soft decomposed sandstone in the vicinity of the springs has been investigated with a view to utilizing it in the preparation of a cleansing compound or soap, as it is claimed to have remarkable qualities as a 'chemical clay.' It has a soluble potash content, and a small plant was erected on the property during the war period for the production of potash. A steel leaching tank and parts of what appear to be a concrete calcining furnace or evaporator remain on the ground, but as this work was carried on before the present owner took possession, the results obtained are not known. It is said that some potash was produced.

According to an analysis by E. W. Rice, of Santa Cruz, the decomposed sandstone has the following composition:

  Per cent
SiO2, Silica 72.680
Fe2O3, Iron Oxide .755
Al203, Aluminum Oxide 13.575
CaO, Lime 4.305
MgO Magnesia .325
K2O Potash 3.265
Na2O Soda 1.925
Loss on ignition 3.125

St. Francis Springs

This property contains 37 acres located on the banks of Pajaro River at Chittenden Station. At least 12 cool, strongly sulphuretted springs issue at this locality along a sloping bank near the river. The springs were long known locally as Chittenden Springs. In 1909 they were improved and opened to the public as Shale Sulphur Springs. Later the name was changed to El Pajaro Springs.

The property is now owned by the Franciscan Fathers, 133 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, and is called St. Francis Springs. It has reverted to private use and probably will never again be opened as a public resort. The conversion of the buildings into a seminary is contemplated.


State Mineralogist's Reports: VIII, p. 555; XIII, p. 519; XVII, pp. 239-241.

U. S. Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 338, pp. 272, 274- 276.

>>Continue with:

Bituminous Rock   Gold Mineral Water
Black Sand Granite Moulding Sand & Peat
Cement Iron Petroleum & Potash
Clay Lime Stone Industry
Coal Limestone   

The Mineral Survey of Santa Cruz County was printed in the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce Annual Report, 1926. Reproduced by permission of the Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce.

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mining, water supply


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