Latitude / Longitude:
37°08′21″N 121°56′49″W / 37.13917°N 121.94694°W / 37.13917
991 ft (302 m)
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
Wrights, California (also known as Wrights Station) is a ghost town in unincorporated west Santa Clara County, California. It is located near Summit Road in the Santa Cruz Mountains, on the north bank of Los Gatos Creek, east of State Route 17.
The National Weather Service maintained a cooperative weather station on the site of Wrights until May 31, 1986, which recorded rainfall and snowfall. The weather station was 1,600 ft (490 m) above sea level. The location is on the San Andreas Fault, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and it experienced considerable damage in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Geologists observed a lateral displacement of 4.6 ft (1.4 m) at Wrights.
Wrights has so completely disappeared that today no trace remains, except the ruins of the old tunnel. Some building foundations and debris from the town can still be found in the dense woods. Satellite and ground photographs show thick overgrowth and forest on the site. The surrounding area is now only sparsely settled. The name of the community lives on in “Wrights Station Road”, which runs through the redwood forest from Morrill Road to Cathermola Road (also known as Metcalf Road on some maps), north of Summit Road. Wrights Station Road crosses Los Gatos Creek on an historic bridge with iron railings (possibly dating from the 1920s), ending at the site of the town. Lake Elsman, a reservoir, is near the site of Wrights. Several miles of the original Los Gatos – Santa Cruz narrow gauge railroad have been preserved in Santa Cruz County and trains operate year-round as a tourist attraction known as the Santa Cruz, Big Trees and Pacific Railway.
In the 1870s a toll road was built over the mountains from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz that was utilized by stagecoaches. Then, a narrow gauge railroad from Alameda was constructed along the same route, beginning in 1877, by San Francisco capitalists James Fair and Alfred E. Davis, who headed the South Pacific Coast Railroad (SPCRR). One of the stops along the line, just below the summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains, was adjacent to the property of James Richards Wright, who had a residence/hotel known as Arbor Villa in Burrell near the summit, and he maintained commercial orchards of fruit trees and grapes. The small community that sprouted around this stop on the railroad became known as Wright’s Station, or simply Wrights. The Rev. Wright was the patriarch of a large family that had moved to California from Ohio and the younger brother of the well-known abolitionist Elizur Wright. One of his sons, Frank Vincent Wright, later married Susie Davis, the daughter of SPCRR president Alfred Davis, and another son, Sumner Banks Wright, moved to southern California and established a town in the San Bernardino mountains known as Wrightwood, today a ski resort.