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Santa Cruz Through Time, book review

Published on: July 20, 2019

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By Deborah Muth, Arcadia Publishing with Fonthill Media, LLC

Book Review by Craig MacDonald

Santa Cruz, south over the mountains from its nearest big city–San Jose–has been a tourist destination for more than a century.

In her book, “Santa Cruz Through Time,” Historian Deborah Muth has helped preserve its diverse history by locating many historical photos as well as having Sian Burckett St. Laurent document through pictures, what’s at many of the same locations today.

Through this book, you can see the growth of the city’s downtown, beach boardwalk, surfing and splendor as well as learn little known tidbits, like how ZaSu Pitts starred in drama at Santa Cruz High School before becoming a top film idol in Hollywood and how Betty and Benny Fox performed a marathon dance and acrobatics on a 30-inch platform atop a 50-foot pole above Hotel Palomar in 1932. This photo is priceless as is the one of a US President visiting town.

Reviewer Craig MacDonald has visited Santa Cruz much of his life & his grandparents once lived in the Casa Del Rey Hotel, originally built in lavish Spanish Revival Style, across from the boardwalk in 1911 by city promoter Fred Swanton. It served as a Navy Hospital during World War II and later became a wonderful retirement hotel.

His grandparents loved going across the street to the fun boardwalk, seeing the roller-coaster, concerts and fireworks. The Casa was destroyed by the 1989, 6.9 Earthquake, and demolished to form a parking lot. His son rode his first Merry-Go-Round at the boardwalk & his wife loves also loves fun Santa Cruz.

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