January 31, 2000
Santa Cruz historian dishes up the dirt on the San Lorenzo River in UCSC talk
By Barbara McKenna
Santa Cruz historian Sandy Lydon will be the featured guest for the upcoming Cowell
College Night. He will present a slide show and talk titled, "River's Child:
A Water-Level History of Santa Cruz and her Mother of a River." The talk, free and open to the public, takes
place on Monday, February 7, at 7:30 p.m. in UCSC's Cowell College Dining Hall.
Lydon, a professor of history at Cabrillo College, has a longstanding personal
history with the San Lorenzo River, having first set foot in it more than 50 years
ago as a steelhead fisherman.
The history surrounding the river is colorful and sometimes dramatic. According to
Lydon, pioneers who came to Santa Cruz in its early days laughed at the city plan
that had set the town of Santa Cruz in a floodplain. And, Lydon jokes, people are
Along with pondering the ramifications of the location of Santa Cruz, Lydon will
also demonstrate how the river bottom was--and continues to be--the bottom rung on
Santa Cruz's economic ladder: From Chinatown to the Homeless Shelter, Santa Cruz
has always relegated its poorest citizens to the river bottom. Lydon will also clear
up some of the mythology about the San Lorenzo, and speculate about the river's future.
In conjunction with the talk, Lydon will lead a guided walk along the San Lorenzo
on Sunday, February 13, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine. Tickets for the walk
are $3 and can be purchased at the Monay night lecture. Those who wish to participate
in the walk are required to attend the lecture. A bag lunch is recommended for the
For more information, call (831) 459-2255.
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