Chapter 11 Addition - Country
Corralitos Road 1947
Brown's Valley Road Bridge
In 1891, a substantial bridge was built across the Corralitos Creek
extending what was then Mill Street to reach the east bank. Prior to
this, Mill Street crossed the creek south of the bridge from about where
this photo was taken circa 1919.
Aldridge Lane was named for Franklin Aldridge. Franklin
was born April 20, 1826 in Louisville, Kentucky. He died in Corralitos
on November 21, 1900. In 1871, he married his third wife, Anna Margaret
Fallien. She was born in 1850 and died in Corralitos in 1919.
Franklin with his third family - wife Anna and children Charles, Ernest,
Cleon, Lafayette, and Anna Katherine
In 1875 Franklin Aldridge granted in a deed to Corralitos
District School trustees John Bradshaw and Thomas Parker and their
successors a parcel of land situated in the village of Corralitos.
At that time on the property was the new two-story schoolhouse.
The property was "to have and to hold so long as
it shall be used exclusively for public school purposes, and when
it shall cease to be used for said purposes to revert to the grantor
his heirs or assigns." The 1906 earthquake damaged this two-story
building making it necessary to build a new schoolhouse. By 1929,
this second school building was described as a "crude affair."
A larger modern schoolhouse was built and continued to be in use until
fall of 1951 when the present day Elma G. Bradley School opened on
The second schoolhouse can be seen from the direction of the hill above
the corner of Blake and Aldridge
Third Corralitos school on Aldridge property 1950. Today this area is
Aldridge Lane Park
Once the third schoolhouse was dismantled, the area
became an open field. It had many informal uses over the years including
baseball diamonds, a fenceless tennis court, basketball court, volleyball
court, public parking and a horse corral. Eventually, as the population
grew, the Corralitos community needed public park space and this property
became considered for the development of a community park. With the
help of the County and Anna Belle Aldridge Edwards, the Corralitos
Valley Community Council (CVCC) undertook this project and formed
Corralitos Valley Research and Education Association (CVREA) as a
non-profit fund raising organization. Their first fundraiser was to
match grant money that was available for parks, such as was desired
for the Aldridge Lane property. In the tradition of the past, some
industrious and community spirited families rallied the community
into this project. Today Franklin Aldridge would be pleased to see
the children at play in this lovely community park on what was once
Anna Belle Aldridge Edwards, granddaughter of Franklin and Anna, kept
a wonderful account of the Aldridge family.
She passed away in December 2001. Refer to Family Contacts on site map.
At the center of the photo, from left to right, are Ella Marie, Roberta
and Ray Brodin with the Bud and Ruby Bradshaw family.
Ella Marie Brodin Fowler has shared some memories
about her parents Roberta Bowen and Ray Brodin and growing up in Corralitos:
My mother and her sister Jennie lived with an Aunt Olive
in Seattle when Mother attended University of Washington and got her
teaching credential. Her first school was at Bissell in eastern Washington.
It was a one-room school and she taught all grades. Some of the boys
were larger than Mother. They had to help with harvest and planting
and were only able to go to school a few months a year. There was
a wood stove and a bucket and ladle for water. There was a path to
the outhouses. Mother boarded with a German family. She taught there
for two years until she met my father. There were box socials and
the women decorated their boxes and cooked the most delectable food.
Mother was interested in a young German fellow and so she worked especially
hard to make her box as attractive as possible. The men bid on the
boxes and got to eat with the person whose box they won. Dad outbid
everyone and won Mother's. He kept up the relationship for the rest
of the school year. In the summer, Mother and Aunt Jennie went to
the World's Fair in San Francisco and stayed with their parents. They
had a ranch in the Jack London area. There were wonderful railroad
lines then and Mother and Jennie rode the train everywhere. My father
wrote to Mother every day while she was gone. When she got back to
Washington, he proposed and they were married October 19, 1915.
My father had a business degree from college in Coeur
d'Alene, Idaho. In Washington, he had a store and post office near
Davenport. The upstairs above the store was their living quarters
and in the winter when it snowed they would get together and dance
and have a great time. Dad played the violin and other men played
instruments, too. Sometimes the snow would be so high that they were
snowed in and had to spend the night. Dad bought a two-story home
on a quarter section of land in eastern Washington and raised wheat.
The depression hit Washington and he could not make a go of farming.
He wrote to my grandparents and they tried to discourage him from
moving, but he and Mother packed up their belongings and their three
daughters and moved to California, anyhow. By then, my grandparents
had moved to a ranch near Watsonville and we stayed with them. I went
to first and second grade there. When we moved to Corralitos their
fourth daughter was born.
In the summer of 1926, Mother went to summer school in
San Jose and got her California teaching credential. She got a position
in Corralitos teaching third and fourth grade. We had to make up a
district for the school, so we lived in a cabin up in Brown's Valley
for a couple of years. Dad was working for Paul Momand and doing his
books. He took the car to work and the rest of us walked a couple
of miles down a trail to the bus stop. There were so many wild berries
and wild flowers that it was an interesting walk and Mother knew the
names of all the trees and flowers. It was like camping there because
we had to haul water from the creek and use kerosene lamps, but all
of the time we lived there none of us ever got sick or missed a day.
There was poison oak and we did not get it, either.
I was in Mrs. Munson's fifth grade because Mother did
not want two of her daughters in her room at the same time. I skipped
the fourth grade and did not know how to multiply or divide. My first
report card had a red D and my father worked with me for the rest
of the year to do story problems and everything else. When we were
in Mrs. Munson's room she had us play in a harmonica band. We would
go to San Francisco and play on KGO. It was in her room that we listened
to the National Broadcasting Music Hour. They had quizzes and once
they gave a five-dollar gold piece if we could identify all of the
instruments correctly. I could not believe that I got them all right
and won the gold piece. It was a prized possession of mine, but when
we went off the gold standard in 1933 I had to turn it in. I bought
my class ring with the money.
When we were in Mrs. Bradley's seventh and eighth grades
she took us to Sunnyvale to see the Macon dirigible and we got to
go into the hangar where it was moored. It was such a wonderful experience.
She also arranged for us to play basketball at Amesti and other schools.
Each spring there was a playday at Soquel School and we went as a
school and had all kinds of activities. When we were in the old school,
the playground was divided and the girls were on one side and the
boys on the other. By 1930 the new school was built, just before we
graduated. Our graduation exercises were held in the Ceschi hall and
we dressed up in pretty clothes and received baskets of flowers.
We belonged to 4-H club and the girls took sewing from Mrs. Ceschi.
She was a stickler for perfection. We were not allowed to work on our
project except at her place. We learned to hem dish towels and when
I got older I made a light green, lined, wool suit with bound button
holes and was able to model it in Davis at our convention. We went to
various places for our meetings.
In the summertime, we picked berries and cut cots. Irene
and Jim Work had a drying shed and we went each day and cut cots all
day for 10 cents a box. I was never able to make more than a dollar,
as we were not to slip pits, as that would make slabs of the fruit.
When we got a box of Moorparks we were delighted as they were large
and you could cut a box in no time, but we didn't get Moorparks too
often. We went to 4-H camp at Camp Loma up near Loma Prieta. There
we had crafts and swimming and hiking. We took turns working at the
tables. It was great fun. I never wanted to go home. We did not have
sleeping bags. We just dug a hole for our bottoms and put straw down
and our blankets. In the morning we would put on our bathing suits
which we had hung on bushes and went swimming before breakfast.
When we lived at the Manchester place on Brown's Valley
Road all of us kids would go to the Free Methodist Church on Sunday
nights. Max Weedon was the pastor and the church was just across from
where we lived. I do not remember if it was a youth group or just
regular evening service. It was very simple times when we were growing
up. After we moved to the Rocco house across from Scott's store (now
Corralitos Market), we girls would sit on the fence by the flume and
wait for the boys to come by. There were Ed, Ray, and Elmer Pybrum,
Elvin Bradley and others. When Ed got old enough to drive we would go
all over the roads in Corralitos. One time we were on Hames and he kept
going faster and faster and we were all yelling. An axle broke on the
car and we all got out. We were not too far from home. I fell and skinned
my knees. It seems I had skinned knees most of the time. Mother used
to say I would probably have skinned knees when I got married.
My father and all of the men in Corralitos
worked to build the Grange Hall and each of the men took turns at
being master. My dad was the second master. We had some wonderful
times in that hall. I did not belong to Grange as I was a Rainbow
Girl and our meetings were the same night. My mother and sisters were
in the drill team and held various offices through the years. It was
such fun living and growing up in Corralitos. Everyone knew everyone
and we did all kinds of things together. Before I was married, the
folks bought the Jenkins place at 147 Hames Road. There were two and
one half acres. When Dad died, Mother sold two acres to Mr. Winterholder.
He was going to build a home on the bottom part of the property. He
sold the property to Ed Pybrum who developed it for other homes. He
cut a road through and named it Brodin Lane.
The Corralitos Grange Hall and Brodin Lane development circa 1969.
By Barbara Hatton Wall
was depression time in the 1930s and people were having a difficult
time finding work and caring for their families. Mr. Ed W. Crow bought
acreage in an apricot orchard off of Amesti Road. He sold lots for
$1.00 down and $2.00 a month. He named the property Paradise Heights.
It didn't retain that name because it was nicknamed Crow's Nest. This
is the name that has stayed with the area over the years.
Mr. Crow's autobiography from
Referendum Reader's section of newspaper: c1940s
"I was born in Pike county, Missouri, January 9, 1856; crossed
the plains to California in1857; farmed 50 or 60 years and farming went
on the bum so I quit farming and tried the real estate business when
Cleveland was president. I had 300 acres of alfalfa, 80 head of horses
and mules, 100 head of hogs, 40 or 50 turkeys, 100 chickens, a good
stallion, a thoroughbred jack and I came to Watsonville about seventeen
years ago with a model T Ford and about $2,000.
Since then, I have sold lots to about 60 poor people for $1.00 down
and $2.00 a month. On June 14, 1941, I went back to Missouri on the
train to see my sister and nephew, Governor Lloyd Crow Stark of Missouri.
The governor gave me a nice cane (pearl handled and inscribed) and my
sister gave me a new hat and a nice valise. Coming back, I stopped off
to see my four boys who have made a barrel of money the last year around
the army camps. They told me if I would give my old car to W.T. Crow
who runs the vinegar works near Capitola they would give me a late model
eight cylinder car, so I drove the new car up from L.A. and gave the
old car to my oldest son, Wyman. Now I am out of debt and I have an
income of about $80 a month. I am living all alone, keep bachelor's
hall, and I feel lonesome at times and if any old maids or widows that
have got an income ¼ as much as I have got I would like to get
acquainted with them. Ed. W. Crow Rt.5, Box592"
Mr. Crow died when his two-story house caught fire and burnt down
sometime in the early 1940s. According to the newspaper, he was 86
at the time. The house burned to the ground after 10:00 on a Friday
night. His remains were taken from the home to Mehl's in Watsonville.
Deputy Sheriff Lowell Roundtree gave the information of the fire and
death to the newspaper.
The streets in Mr. Crow's subdivision were named after him and families
living there; Crow, Bowen, Hatton, Whiteman, and Velazquez (sic).
Mr. Crow's two-story house had been on the right hand side of Varni
Road beyond Mattie Dye's Home Grocery Store that was situated on the
corner of Varni and Amesti Roads. Mr. Crow's name for the subdivision,
Paradise Heights, was certainly appropriate for the area. Others came
to refer to the area as Crow's Nest, which became a nickname fondly
used. For a time, people from other areas referred to the place as "Little Hollywood" in making fun of the many poor people
arriving from different places looking for a place to live. This name
was used as a derogatory term in the early days of settlement, but
did not stick. "Crow's Nest" it was and always shall be,
thanks to a generous man having made it possible.
Read more about Crow's Nest in Growing Up
in Corralitos section