Santa Cruz County History - People

A Walk Through Time: Delos Wilder

Wilder Ranch is now a state park and a name synonymous with the history of the north coast of Santa Cruz County. This beautiful pastoral site was, at one time, one of the finest working dairies in the area. Delos Wilder and his partner Levi K. Baldwin established it in 1871.

Photograph of Wilder Dairy Ranch of the Coast Road
Wilder Dairy Ranch of the Coast Road

The man who gave his name to this park was born at West Hartland, Litchfield County, Connecticut, on February 23, 1826. when he was just ten years old, Wilder hired himself out as a farm hand at the anemic wage of $6.50 a month, but even at that rate, the thrifty young man was able to accumulate enough money to open his own book agency in Ohio where he resided.

Photograph of the Memorial for Delos Wilder
The Memorial for Delos Wilder

In 1853, Wilder answered the cry of "Gold" and set out for California. It was a journey which would take him seven months to complete. He went immediately to the mines at Placer County and met with a certain amount of success. With his earnings, Wilder started a chicken ranch and small dairy in Marin County before coming to Santa Cruz in 1871. His efforts here proved to be quite profitable and settled, remaining on the dairy until his death on September 9, 1906.

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