By Lisa Robinson
Have you ever thought about how the street where you live got its name? In these articles, we will look at street names in the San Lorenzo Valley and explore the history hidden in their names.
Newell Creek Road is named for the creek it follows, which in turn was named for Addison Newell. Addison was born in Alna, Maine in 1812. There he married Sarah Soule and they raised five children. Addison was a music teacher with a love of singing. He migrated to California in 1852, where he worked in the gold fields. In 1855, he moved to Sacramento, where we find him giving singing lessons and growing cabbage.
He came to Santa Cruz around 1857, where again Addison gave singing lessons. The family eventually homesteaded in the San Lorenzo Valley on the banks of Newell Creek around 1866 where they managed a farm. And what a farm! Grapes for wine were a major crop. And he harvested the timber, such as redwoods and pines.
In 1871, Addison grew Sorghum, a Chinese sugar cane from which he made “considerable syrup and some sugar.” Crop seed from the plant was saved to replant several acres. He exhibited his harvested sorghum at the first annual fair of the Santa Cruz Agricultural Society in 1875 – along with pop corn on a stalk and Hubbard squash.
In 1875, Addison put the farm up for sale and placed an advertisement in the Santa Cruz Weekly Sentinel:
Valuable Ranch for Sale
That well-known and very valuable
and productive Farm known as –
In 1876, “in accordance with the petition of Newell and others” the Newell School District was formed. The school was located in the vicinity of Locust Street and Glen Arbor Road on land purchased by Jacob Steen from Addison. Steen “sold” one acre of the land to the school trustees, Addison Newell, Byram L. Dakan, and Andrew T. Warren. The school had twenty-one pupils in 1876; twelve boys and nine girls. Miss Fannie Berry was the first teacher.
Addison was very active in the local Santa Cruz County community, becoming a Justice of the Peace for the San Lorenzo Valley around 1869, and later for the Branciforte Township. He even contemplated running for a state assembly seat (Rep).
In 1886, Addison and Sarah celebrated their golden wedding anniversary along with family and friends at their residence on Newell Creek. The Reverend William Askins reportedly “performed a humorous marriage ceremony. The groom agreed to keep his wife supplied with kindling-wood, and to obey her while she promised to sew on his shirt-buttons and give him plenty to eat.”
Sarah passed away in 1890; Addison passed just two years later, from complications related to pneumonia. Both are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Santa Cruz. When he passed, he left 1,200 gallons of wine, amongst other property in Oakland and Shasta, having only ten days prior, sold his Newell Ranch in Ben Lomond.
In 1905, a 1.5 mile spur line, the Newell Creek Railroad, was laid up the Newell Creek canyon to the California Timber Company’s Newell Creek Mill. A railroad stop was added at the junction with the main line and called Newell Junction. The mill, the railroad, and the junction are long gone.
Addison Newell’s name would be more prevalent in the area today but for the renaming of the Newell Creek reservoir to Loch Lomond – for commercialization reasons in the 1960s. It was thought that the rebranding would increase tourism to the recreation area.