Santa Cruz County History - Religion & Spirituality

Santa Cruz Spirituality: Other Associations
by Paul Tutwiler


  1. Outside all categories
  2. Generically Christian
  3. No longer in existence; category not ascertained
  4. Spiritual-Based Organizations
  5. Apparently Spiritual-Based Organizations

Outside all categories

» University Religious Center at Santa Cruz. Service org, Santa Cruz, 1964.

Incorporated in 1964, one year before the University of California Santa Cruz opened, the University Religious Center had as a principle, "That all religious faiths should be provided the right to minister to these students freely." (Santa Cruz County Articles of Incorporation no. 2732) The center is not listed on the university website now, 2008, and I have no other information about it. Not to be counted in totals.

» Karnak Grotto of the Church of Satan. Santa Cruz, 1973.

The Encyclopedia has a separate category for Satanism in the Magic Family. Dr. Steven Seer, however, has thoughtfully pointed out to me that this is inappropriate. Although closely associated in the popular mind with Paganism, Satanism is more properly understood as a Christian heresy, a theological dualism that places personified evil high enough in the scheme of things to be both revered and feared. (Partridge, New Religions, pp. 269-270)

In the 1960s there had been concern that some mutilated animals found in Santa Cruz had been the objects of satanic rituals, but such concern was, at least in 1969, officially discredited. (SC Sentinel, Dec. 14, 1969)

In a biography of convicted murderer Charles Manson it is said that "An individual caught having eaten the heart of a human victim and charged with murder, has told of a satan-devil organization which operated during 1967-1970 in the Santa Cruz mountains south of San Francisco.... The cult, according to the informant, was sometimes known as the Four P Movement, devoted to the 'total worship of evil.' It held out-of-door ceremonies with portable crematorium, dragon-festooned wooden altar, portable 'morgue table,' six bladed sacrificial knife and other devices. They killed humans and burnt them. It was a sick set." (Ed Sanders, The Family, New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002, p. 47. I do not know how much credence to give this statement, and I include it here for what it is worth.)

The Church of Satan was founded in 1966, had its headquarters in San Francisco, and spread to other urban centers. Its basic themes are "self-assertion, antiestablishmentarianism, and the gratification of man's physical or mental nature." (Melton, Encyclopedia *1095) Its Santa Cruz Affiliate existed at least in 1973. (San Francisco Evening Examiner & Chronicle, Apr. 1, 1973)

» World Prayers Project. Service org, Santa Cruz, 1999-2010.

The Project consists of the website,, which was launched in 1999.

The purpose of this website [as stated in 2008] is to gather the great prayers written by the spiritual visionaries of our planet into an online database representing all life affirming traditions. Many of these prayers have been used for hundreds if not thousands of years. Others are from spiritual contemporaries in today's intricate global fabric.

The address, according to the website, is 849 Almar Ave., Suite C, PMB-422, Santa Cruz 95060, and the telephone number in the 2010 White Pages is 471-9178.

» Shumei Farm, Service org, Bonny Doon, 2004-2010

The Shumei organization promotes a spirituality of art and beauty, of "balanced natural agriculture," and of bodily healing, all as "A Philosophy of Harmony with the Earth." Although Japanese in origin, having been founded by Mokichi Okada, who was active as a spiritual teacher in Japan from 1931 until his death in 1955, it is not to be categorized as Buddhist or Shinto. The San Francisco Shumei Center was officially opened in 1987. In 2003 it bought a farm, which it opened the following year, at 6040 Bonny Doon Road. ( 2010, and in particular 2010)

» Network of spiritual progressives. Service org, Santa Cruz County?, 2005-2010.

A project of the Tikkun Community of Berkeley since 2002, this is an interfaith group of liberal citizens who want to show that Fundamentalist Evangelical Christians are not the only Americans with acceptable morals. ( 2010) It has had a Santa Cruz chapter since 2005. ( 2010)

» Evinity Publishing, Inc. Service org, Santa Cruz, 2008-2010.

This publishing house, located at 903 Pacific Ave., was established by John Bruno Hare to be the parent company of the website, which has been in operation since 1999. (Santa Cruz Sentinel, August 11, 2009) Mr. Hare's website includes thousands of works from all varieties of religion and spirituality. It is a major source for these works, although it does not include modern critical texts and studies that are under copyright. Judging from the information about its publications as found on the sacred texts website and Amazon, 2008 was the first year Evinity published any books. Evinity can be reached through 2010.

Generically Christian

By creating the category of Generically Christian I do not mean to assert that there is a genus, "Christian," of which all its variants are species or subspecies. The meaning of such a set of relationships would be a difficult theological problem. In the present study I am simply lumping together avowedly Christian associations which cannot be categorized — or, I am unable at present to categorize — in the twelve Christian Families of the Encyclopedia. The broadest group of such associations is "Protestant," as opposed to "Catholic" and "Orthodox," and a large subgroup is "Evangelical Protestant."

» Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union, the WCTU, an organization of women activists, rejects alcoholic drinks of all kinds and champions women's rights. Founded in Chautauqua, New York in 1874, it has never been identified with any particular religious group, but it is generically Protestant. By 1883 it was established in Santa Cruz and throughout the United States.

Santa Cruz County alone came to have eight local unions, which are listed below. Details on them are in the essay "Woman's Christian Temperance Union" in Chapter 5 Particulars.

» WCTU Santa Cruz Union. Service org, 1883-1984.

Frances Willard, second National President of the WCTU, founded the Santa Cruz Union in person.

This union still reported active membership in 1983, but not in 1997. I have yet to find information about the intervening years.

» WCTU Watsonville Union. Service org, 1884-1959.

WCTU Fountain - Watsonville
WCTU Fountain, Watsonville
Image courtesy of P. Tutwiler.

The Watsonville Union had a water fountain erected in the Watsonville City Plaza is 1893. Placing water fountains around the country was a favorite WCTU project.

» WCTU Highland Union. Service org, Santa Cruz County, 1888-1891.

One of the Highland Union's projects appears to have been the placing of a horse watering trough to compete with the horse trough outside a saloon on an old section of the Soquel-San Jose Road. This union had surely gone out of existence by 1921, but I do not know about the years from 1892 until then.

» WCTU Boulder Creek Union. Service org, 1892-1962.

The Boulder Creek Union played a highly visible role in the temperance movement in Boulder Creek. The WCTU Building is still (2010) standing on Highway 9.

» WCTU Corralitos Union. Service org, 1894-1984.

» WCTU Soquel Union. Service org, 1923-1959.

» WCTU East Santa Cruz Union. Service org, 1926-1963.

» WCTU Aromas Union. Service org, 1936-1945.

» Last Supper. Service org, Santa Cruz, 1951-2010.

In about 1945 (Chase, Sidewalk Companion, p. 193) the craftsman Harry Liston commissioned two Los Angeles artists to create a life-size wax sculpture replica of Leonardo da Vinci's fresco of the Last Supper, which Liston carried around as a traveling exhibition for years. (SC Sentinel, Apr. 9, 2004) On March 18, 1951 it went on display in Santa Cruz, in the multi-purpose room of the Bay View School, where 2,004 people saw it the very first day. (SC Sentinel, Mar. 19, 1951)

At the end of June, 1951, the sculpture group was moved to the Santa Cruz Art League's new building on Broadway, and 115,796 viewers came to see it there in the succeeding twelve month period. (SC Sentinel, July 1, 1952) By August 17, 1954 the sculpture had had its 400,000th visitor, (SC Sentinel, Aug. 22, 1954) and in September the citizens' committee which had formed in February, 1951 to purchase it had done so and had paid the Art League for renting it the space. (SC Sentinel, Sep. 22, 1954)

The group remained in the Art League until 1990, when Santa Cruz Memorial Park took ownership of it, did extensive restoration, and began to show it in a chapel in the cemetery. (Undated leaflet prepared by the Santa Cruz Memorial Park and Funeral Home, given to me by Randy Krassow, the President/Owner in 2006)

In 2003 the figures were removed from public viewing for restoration, although they were shown on Holy Thursday, 2004. (SC Sentinel, Apr. 9, 2004) In 2010, the entire week before Easter Sunday, the restored figures were again open for public viewing. After this week the public will be admitted to view them upon appointment, as the President/Owner told me then.

In the early years at the Art League many church groups visited the sculptures, recordings of sacred music were played, and Bible readings and prayers were allowed. (SC Sentinel, July 1, 1952 and Aug. 22, 1954)

Last Supper wax sculpture
Wax sculpture replica of Leonardo da Vinci's fresco of the Last Supper
Image courtesy of P. Tutwiler.

» Sunset Christian Homes, Inc. Service org, Live Oak, 1976.

This residential care facility was incorporated in 1976; all its board members listed 2268 Chanticleer Ave. as their address. (Santa Cruz County Articles of Incorporation no. 4296) Although in 2008 there is still a similar facility at 2266 Chanticleer, it is not Sunset Christian Homes.

» Linda's Bible Book Store. Service org, Live Oak, 1976-2007.

"Your complete Christian book store serving Santa Cruz County since 1976." (store business card) Established in 1976 in Watsonville, it has been at its present location for 10 years. ("Christian bookstore marks 29th anniversary," SC Sentinel, Mar. 16, 2005) As I observed in 2004, the store appears not to represent any particular church or tradition although it is strongly Protestant in its selections of books and merchandise. It closed in 2007, as I observed in September of that year.

» Graceland Christian Books. Service org, Capitola, c1984-2005.

As I was told on a visit in 2004, this book store, which was at 4150 Capitola Road, had been in existence for about 20 years and it was not connected with any church. In March, 2006, however, the store had been vacated and the phone number had been disconnected.

» Valley Churches United Missions. Service org, Ben Lomond, 1985-2010.

All the following is quoted from the website 2010:

1985 Valley Churches United was formed by bringing together representatives of area churches and the community to form a distribution site in our area for USDA food pantry, and social services.

1988 Based on resident's [sic] increased needs, Valley Churches United Missions voted to form a seperate [sic] non-profit corporation to concentrate on expanding social services to area residents, with paid director and staff. In October of 1988 the Valley Resource Center received its non-profit status.

1996 VCUM purchased, refurbished and moved to its permanent location in downtown Ben Lomond.

The Mission was dedicated on Sunday, October 27th. Fulfilling a mission of love to assist the less fortunate in times of crisis, VCUM remains the only non-profit organization in Santa Cruz County operating on a budget of a half million dollars a year totally staffed by volunteers and with no government funding.

VCUM's programs include emergency food distribution, direct aid assistance for crisis rent, utility and medical, educational supplies, disaster relief, Holiday projects, Easter, Thanksgiving and the Valley Christmas Project, USDA food and Grey Bears distributions and VCUM supplements.

The address of the organization is 9430 Love Creek Road, Ben Lomond 95005, tel. 336-5651. (2010 White Pages)

» Word Shop. Service org, Aptos, 1995-2010.

Founded in 1995 by Alliee DeArmond, this is a new and used bookshop stocked mainly with titles on or relating to the Christian religion. Although it is technically for-profit, it is staffed by volunteers from many local churches. (2005 interview with the owner, Ms. DeArmond)

"A bookstore with 'something to offend everyone'" in the SC Sentinel, Mar. 20, 2005 also has information, as does the bookstore's website, 2010. The address is 246-A Center, Aptos 95003, tel. 688-6607. (2010 Yellow Pages)

» Family Faith Center. Watsonville, 1999-2010.

Located at 801 Freedom Blvd. since 1999, this association has been listed in the White Pages each of these years. Its telephone number is 728-2018, and its category in the 2010 Yellow Pages is "interdenominational."

» Acts 2 Christian Fellowship, Santa Cruz, 2001-2010.

This is a Christian Fellowship organization which holds weekly meetings on campus for students at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Its website is 2010.

» Prayermobile. Santa Cruz, 2002-2006.

On Tuesday afternoons two individuals prayed for those who come up to the parked auto, a 1953 Cadillac parked on Pacific Avenue, and asked for their prayers. This was not a function of any organization, but was Christian in inspiration. It started in 2002. ("Park 'n' Pray: It's heaven inside the Santa Cruz Prayer Mobile" Good Times, Sep. 11-17, 2003) I observed it in June, 2004, and in August, 2006 a local business person told me she had seen it not long ago in summer, but in 2007 another local business person said he had surely not seen it within the past year.

» Christ Order of Prayer. Capitola, 2004-2010.

According to the 2010 White Pages, the address of this group is 4401 Capitola Road, tel. 464-8070. In November, 2005 there was a sign showing that Christ Ministry of Peace was there and that it was "a Religious Order of spiritual care serving continuously since 1900." My telephone call to the listed number at that time was answered with courtesy, but without revealing specific information.

» Faith Community Church. Santa Cruz, 2006-2010.

I found this congregation in in July, 2006. In June, 2007 its website,, and the Yellow Pages stated that it held worship services in the Rio Theatre on Sundays and that its office was at 1729 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz 95062, tel. 429-9000. The website and the congregation office and worship locations have not changed in 2008. (2010 Yellow Pages)

The website presents its beliefs as generically evangelical Christian without reference to either conservative or liberal nuances and without mention of affiliation with any parent denomination or umbrella group.

» The Door Christian Bookstore. Service org, Live Oak, 2007-2009?.

This bookstore opened in December, 2007 at 3912 Portola Dr. ( 2008) It was no longer there in May 2010, as I observed.

No longer in existence; category not ascertained

» Bible Hope Mission. Santa Cruz. 1909.

Met in Farmers' Union Hall. (SC Surf, Jan. 2, 1909 and June 26, 1909)

» Church of God (1). Santa Cruz, 1912.

This church appeared at 25 Pennsylvania Ave. in Thurston 1912-1913. I hesitate to think that the Church of God Mission at 242 Soquel Ave. in the SC Surf May 29, 1915 Church Directory is distinct from it.

» Eclectic Institute of Universal Reform. Santa Cruz, 1915.

At 121 Soquel Ave. in the SC Surf May 29, 1915 Church Directory.

» Church of God (2). Santa Cruz, 1923.

This church was at "Washington near Lincoln" in the Santa Cruz County Directory for 1923-24.

» Assembly of Israel. Santa Cruz, 1936.

This church was at 25 Raymond St. according to Polk 1936.

» Las Lomas Community Church. Monterey County, 1950.

The address of this church was "rt 2, Watsonville" according to Polk 1950.

» Revelation of Truth Gospel Church. Santa Cruz, 1953-1959.

This church met in Hackley Hall, 513 Center St., Santa Cruz. (Polk 1953-59)

» Open Door Chapel. Santa Cruz, 1953-1967.

According to Polk 1953 through 1967 this chapel was at 152 Walnut Ave. It was never during that period listed in the White or Yellow Pages.

The present chapel-like interior of 138 Walnut Ave. was White's Mortuary, also called White's [mortuary] Chapel during the whole period of the existence of the Open Door Chapel. (Yellow Pages for each year involved) I do not know how the two chapels were related.

» Calvary Temple Church. Watsonville, 1959-1964.

In 1959 there was a Revival Center Church at 1119 Main St.

At the same address in 1960 there was a Watsonville Revival Center and a Calvary Temple Church.

In 1961 the only church listed at 1119 Main St. was the Calvary Temple Church.

Calvary Temple Church was listed at 146 Blackburn St. from 1962 through 1964.

All the above information is from the respective yearly Polk. It appears to me that the Revival Center and the Calvary Temple Church are the same.

» Bible Missionary Church. Santa Cruz, 1960.

This congregation is listed by Polk as being at 270 Soquel Ave., but only in the year 1960 and not at all in the Yellow Pages. It appears to be unrelated to the later Bible Missionary Church (in Generically Christian) which seemed to have a connection with the Elm Street Mission. In 1959 and only 1959 there was a Bible Mission Church at 2259 7th Ave., Live Oak, and I am supposing that it is at least closely related to the Bible Missionary Church of 1960.

» Christian Assembly Church. Santa Cruz, 1964.

This church appeared in Polk only once (1964). The previous year there was a Christian Science Reading Room at this address, 510 Errett Cir., and the succeeding year there was nothing. The Christian Assembly Church did not appear at all in the Yellow Pages.

» Mission Street Christian Fellowship. Santa Cruz, 1974

The only information I have about this congregation is that it was incorporated in 1974. (Santa Cruz County Articles of Incorporation no. 3956) Not to be counted in totals.

» Inner Nature Foundation Institute. Santa Cruz, 1975-1976.

At 1307 Seabright Ave., this association is listed in Polk 1975-76 and in the 1975 and 1976 Yellow Pages.

» Christ Divine Center. Watsonville, 1979-1981.

Originally named Universal God Unlimited Hearing Temple, but changed to Christ Divine Center, Inc. in 1979, (Santa Cruz County Articles of Incorporation no. 4590) this group was located at 30G E. 5th St. in the 1980 and 1981 Yellow Pages.

» Biblical Fellowship Church. Aptos, 1983-1984.

In the 1983 and 1984 Yellow Pages and in the SC Sentinel, July 26, 1984.

» Celebration Christian Fellowship. Santa Cruz County, 1985-1992.

As shown year to year in the Yellow Pages, this congregation was established at 100 Santa's Village Road, Scotts Valley in 1985 as the Word Fellowship. In 1987 it was listed under both names. In 1991 and 1992, however, it was listed solely as Celebration Christian Fellowship and its address was 135 Aviation Way, Watsonville.

» Church of the Holy Spirit. Santa Cruz, 1989.

This was listed at 1344 Pacific Ave. and under "Non-Denominational" in the 1989-90 Yellow Pages.

» Life Inc. Santa Cruz County. Santa Cruz?, 2003-2004.

This group was listed under "Churches—Community" in the 2003 and 2004 Yellow Pages, without street address.

» Victory Faith Center. Scotts Valley, 2003-2005.

At 4200 Scotts Valley Dr. in the 2003-2005 White Pages.

Spiritual-Based Organizations

» Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA)

The YMCA was founded in London in 1844 and it began work in the Eastern United States in 1851. Throughout the years its purpose has been "To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all." The YMCA concept is flexible, and its programs are varied: sports, education, camping, lodging, and so on, according to the needs of times and places. ( 2010)

By about 1855 there was a YMCA in San Francisco. ( 2010) Thirty years later, in April, 1885, the YMCA was organized in Santa Cruz, and by August of that year it held the first public reception in a hall. (SC Surf, Aug. 29, 1885) In 1888 F. A. Hihn donated land on Pacific Avenue between Elm and Maple Streets for the construction of a YMCA building, (SC Surf, July 14, 1888) which was dedicated the following year. (SC Surf, Apr. 13, 1889) Although the YMCA remained in this building at 304-308 Pacific Ave. at least through 1911, (Thurston, 1912-1913) it was gone from there by 1916, (Santa Cruz County Directory, 1916-1917) and there has not been a Santa Cruz YMCA since then. (I have checked all the city and telephone directories listed in the bibliography.) Although the YMCA of the Redwoods at 16275 Highway 9, Boulder Creek, tel. 338-2128, known as "Camp Campbell," is in Santa Cruz County, it belongs to the YMCA of Santa Clara Valley. ( 2010)

The YMCA was organized in Watsonville in November, 1898; in January, 1899 it took up quarters in the Hildreth block, and in March, 1904 it moved to the Jefsen block. (Pajaronian, Mar. 10, 1904) In 1905 it offered bible classes, practical courses, a reading room, a game room, socials, a gym, baths, basketball, and physical examinations. (Pocket size flyer of April, 1905 in the Pajaro Valley Historical Assoc. archives.) From 1909 to 1954 it occupied its own building at 535 Main St., and in 1954 it opened its new center at 27 Sudden St. (Undated YMCA pamphlet in the Pajaro Valley Historical Assoc. archives.) It has also operated a summer camp near King City, (Ibid.) and it has had rooms where young men could stay. (Pajaronian, May 10, 1924) Now it is the "Watsonville Family YMCA," still at 27 Sudden St., Watsonville, tel. 728-9622. ( 2010)

» Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA)

According to its website, 2010

The YWCA USA is a women's membership movement nourished by its roots in the Christian faith and sustained by the richness of many beliefs and values. Strengthened by diversity, the YWCA draws together members who strive to create opportunities for women's growth, leadership, and power in order to attain a common vision: peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all people. The YWCA will thrust its collective power toward the elimination of racism, wherever it exists, and by any means necessary."

The same website relates that the YWCA was founded in London in 1855 and arrived in the U.S. in 1858. It was established in San Francisco in 1878. ( 2010)

The "Monterey Bay District YWCA" was founded in May, 1929 to serve both Watsonville and Santa Cruz. (Pajaronian, May 18, 1929) For years, however, it met only at the Watsonville Woman's Club on Brennan Street. (Pajaronian, Feb. 11, 1995) Even after the division into Santa Cruz and Watsonville chapters the Watsonville one continued to meet at the Woman's Club until 1952, when it purchased a building at Marchant and Maple Streets. (Ibid.) In 1977 it purchased its present building, (Pajaronian, Sept. 15, 1977) which is at 340 E. Beach St., Watsonville, 95076, tel. 724-6078. ( 2010)

The YWCA started in Santa Cruz in 1944 in the building on the Southwest corner of Chestnut St. and Walnut Ave. (SC Sentinel, Aug. 14, 1949) The locale, however, became the "Walnut Avenue Women's Center" in 1994. ( 2010)

» Good Government League

At the beginning of the twentieth century California politics were notoriously dominated by business interests, especially those of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Various groups arose to restore power for the electorate, and the Progressive Party, which by 1911 was a national force, is the best known among them. Along with it were many grassroots organizations, such as the Good Government League, which united the public behind initiatives, referenda, and recalls of government officials. The League became particularly famous for the cleanup, starting in 1905, of Los Angeles. ("Progressivism in California" in 2010) Its work was also notable in San Jose at about the same time, ( 2010) and it also existed in Santa Cruz in 1905. (SC Sentinel, June 20, 1905)

The Santa Cruz League's notable role in local politics, however, occurred in the 1932 movement to force out of office and prosecute the Chief of Police and the Commissioner of Health and Safety for accepting bribes. The Santa Cruz League differed from those of Los Angeles and San Jose in that they, like the generality of Good Government Leagues throughout the country, were mainly led by business and professional people, whereas the Santa Cruz League was led by Protestant ministers. The stirring oration documented for 1905 took place in the Congregational Church, and the exhortation that led to its refounding in 1929 took place in the recreational hall of the First Christian Church. (Santa Cruz News, May 28, 1929) Local churches whose ministers are mentioned in newspaper articles about the League were from the Garfield Park Christian Church, the Christian Missionary Alliance Church, the First Christian Church, and the Free Methodist Church. (Collection of newspaper articles maintained in the files of local historian Phil Reader.)

» Ku Klux Klan

In 1915 William Joseph Simmons reconstituted in Georgia the Ku Klux Klan, which had been disbanded in 1874. According to its constitution and by-laws, the renewed Klan was a fraternal and patriotic organization dedicated to the defense of the weak and innocent and to the protection and execution of the American Constitution and laws. As to membership, however, "Only native-born American citizens who believe in the tenets of the Christian religion and owe no allegiance of any degree or nature to any foreign government, nation, political institution, sect, people or person, are eligible." (William Joseph Simmons, "The Ku Klux Klan Yesterday, Today and Forever," undated Klan booklet, one of a set of three, copies of which I perused by courtesy of local historian Phil Reader. Frequent mention is made in these of the Christian faith of the members, but Catholics are excluded because of their supposed allegiance to the Pope.)

In practice the Klan of 1915, which attained its maximum extent and influence in the 1920s, played on the xenophobia of the times. According to Eldon G. Ernst, Pilgrim Progression, pp. 96-97, "... the brief rise of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in California between 1921 and 1926 had significant Protestant support. Yet Protestants also figured in opposition to the Klan... In California the KKK was strongest in the Central Valley and the southern portion of the state."

Its first initiations in Santa Cruz were held in 1923 (Santa Cruz News, December 17, 1923), and soon audiences of over 500 at a time in the Twin Lakes (Baptist) Tabernacle heard Baptist and Methodist ministers tell how American values were imperiled by the half of its population which consisted of foreigners — Irish, Italian, Poles, Bohemians, and others. (Santa Cruz News, April 24, 1924, April 26, 1924, May 17, 1924; SC Sentinel, May 17, 1924.) Since membership in the Klan was secret, no one knows how many Klansmen were in Santa Cruz, but on March 25, 1926 287 men and 150 women attended a Klan banquet in the Odd Fellows Hall. (Santa Cruz News, March 27, 1926) A Junior KKK was organized in Santa Cruz in 1926, (Santa Cruz News, June 12, 1926) and a Pajaro Valley Klan chapter in Watsonville was chartered on December 22, 1926. (Sandy Lydon, "The Mystery of the Pajaro Valley KKK," SC Sentinel, Jan. 24, 1993) It appears that the Klan's power in Santa Cruz was not great and that it did not last long. (Sandy Lydon, "The Hooded History of the KKK in Santa Cruz County," SC Sentinel, Jan. 10, 1993)

Apparently Spiritual-Based Organizations

» The church structure on Van Ness Avenue

The wooden church structure at 157 Van Ness Ave., Santa Cruz was a church, but in a location on the other side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and it was moved to its present site in the 1970s. (private communication from local historian Ross Gibson, 2005) In 2006 it houses an architectural firm. (2006 Yellow Pages) In The Sidewalk Companion to Santa Cruz Architecture, p. 242, John Chase says it was built in the 1870s and brought from Gilroy.

» The Bicycle Church

The Bicycle Church or Bike Church was founded about 1997 at a location on Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. It moved to 224 Walnut Ave., the City of Santa Cruz's "Hub for Sustainable Transportation," about 1999 and then to the corner of Pacific Ave. and Spruce St. on January 1, 2006. It is staffed by volunteers who repair and even rehabilitate bicyles for use by residents. The founder, Josh Muir, gave the name to the facility without implying that there was anything spiritual about it. There are similar Bicycle Churches in some other cities. (This information was supplied to me by one of the early staff members when I visited the facility in December, 2005.)

In 2010 the website adds information, including the address, 703 Pacific Ave., and the telephone number, 425-BIKE.

» United Ancient Order of Druids

The term "Druid" conjures up a picture of a fierce ancient Celtic priestly class. Unfortunately, the meagre present day knowledge about the Druids is mixed with stories of imaginary heroes and fantasies of ancient religious rites. Santa Cruz had several Druid groves over the years from 1871 to 1969, but the most conspicuous local Druid group and the last to disband consisted of Italian immigrants! This came about because the resuscitation of Druid orders in the eighteenth century followed two tracks. The one was spiritual, a Neo-Pagan earth religion, which as far as I can tell, never reached Santa Cruz, and the other was fraternal and benevolent, similar to the Masons. The latter type is the one that took root in Santa Cruz, and the U.A.O.D. Grove 42 counted many italian immigrants from about 1920 to its demise in 1969.

Details about Druid history and the Druids of Santa Cruz can be found in the essay Santa Cruz Italian Druids (2010) which is found in the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History Research Forum, in the forum entitled "Churches & Spiritual Organizations".

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