Trail Center logo

Theme: Parks with a Past

A Brief History of Bay Area Parks and Open Space
   Pt. 1, 1840s-1950s

A Conservation Timeline
   Pt. 1, 1840s-1950s

Up and Down the Peninsula and South Bay

Names on the Land
   Pt. 1, San Mateo County

Other Features

Sudden Oak Death

Oak Mortality Syndrome

Grazing Through Huckleberry Heaven

Old-Fashioned Huckleberry Muffins

Wild Lit

Note from the Literary Editor

Blacksmith Fork and Fox - Megan E. Hansen

Down Harkins Fire Road (El Mar de la Purissima - Greg Dunn


From the Editor

Park News

Trail Center Notes

Upcoming Events

The Trail Companion

Fall 2000

Theme: Parks with a Past

Names on the Land
Part 1, San Mateo County


Oil Creek (Long Ridge OSP): Oil seeps into the creek at numerous places (likewise in Tarwater Creek (Pescadero County Park). In the 1860s, Pescadero Creek and its tributaries were the center of petroleum-mining excitement in the "Neblina Mining District."

Page Mill Road (Skyline Ridge OSP): The road was built to provided access to the logging operations in Peters Creek basin and was called Peers' Mill Rd. and Rogers' Mill Rd. before Page took over in 1868. The portion of Alpine Rd. west of Skyline and the northern half Portola Park Rd. were originally called Upper Page Mill Rd.; the abandoned portion within Skyline Ridge OSP was sometimes called Stage Coach Rd. because it was built as part of a projected Menlo Park-Santa Cruz turnpike, but was most often known as Lower Page Mill Rd.

Peters Creek (Skyline Ridge OSP and Portola Redwoods SP): Jean Peter settled near the upper end in 1860. In 1955, the USGS extended the name to include the former Devils Canyon Creek.

Pomponio Trail (Pescadero and Sam McDonald County Parks): Named for José Pomponio Lupugeym was a Coast Miwok from Bolinas, captain of a group of outlaws who called themselves Los Insurgentes and fought against Mexican rule. In the summer of 1823, his headquarters were somewhere in the upper Alpine area (tradition says in the Devils Canyon falls - one account says the large cave at the head of the falls was "once called Pomponio's Cave." Santa Clara News, 11/12/1869). He died before a firing squad in 1824 and remained a hero to the native Californians long afterward. Old maps show the divide between Pescadero and San Gregorio creeks as Cuchilla de Pomponio (Pomponio's Ridge); the headwaters of Pomponio creek are located on this ridge.

Pulgas Ridge (Pulgas Ridge OSP): Government geologists named the ridge in 1892, referring to the nearby Alameda de las Pulgas, although the name had no local currency until recently. A native settlement near the present San Carlos called Cachinigtác, was translated as Las Pulgas (the fleas) by the Spanish. The name later applied to the land grant, Rancho de las Pulgas.

Slate Creek (Portola Redwoods SP): The slate-like rock (actually shale) prominently exposed along the creek caused a small gold rush in the middle 1860s.

A note on use of the possessive in geographical names: The policy of the U.S. Board of Geographical Names is to drop apostrophes "suggesting possession or association...within the body of a proper geographic name" (Peters Creek: not Peter's Creek). The word or words that form a geographic name change their connotative function and together become a single denotative unit. They change from words having specific dictionary meaning to fixed labels used to refer to geographic entities. The need to imply possession or association no longer exists." (Orth, Donald J. and Roger L. Payne. Principles, policies and procedures: domestic geographic names. 3rd. ed. USGS Office of Geographic Names, 1997)

<== Back 2 of 2

Trail Center logo
Copyright © Trail Center. All rights reserved.

Please contact the Web Manager for corrections or comments.