Skip to main content

Spreckels Avenue

Spreckels Avenue is an approximately 1.5-mile roadway located south of Salinas in Monterey County.  Spreckels Avenue is named after the community of Spreckels which is one of the best-preserved company towns in California.  Spreckels was founded in in 1898 by the Spreckels Sugar Company who operated a mill in the community from 1899-1982.  Spreckels Avenue begins at the grade of the former Spreckels Branch Railroad and terminates to the west at California State Route 68.  

Part 1; the history of Spreckels Avenue

Spreckels and the Spreckels Sugar Company were named after Claus Spreckels.  The Spreckels Sugar Company was founded in August 1896 after Claus Spreckels and began construction of a mill south of the city of Salinas.  Much of Salinas Valley during the 1890s had been undeveloped for agricultural purposes.  

The community bearing Claus Spreckels' name was constructed near the new mill and was connected to the Southern Pacific Railroad via the so-called Spreckels Branch Railroad.  Both the community of Spreckels and the Spreckels Branch Railroad would be complete by 1898.  The Spreckels Branch Railroad split from the Southern Pacific Railroad via what is known as Spreckels Junction.  The Spreckels Sugar Company mill would open to operations during 1899.  

Spreckels was connected to the Salinas-Monterey Highway via what came to be known as Spreckels Avenue.  The 1910 United States Geological Survey Map of Salinas displays Spreckels Avenue ending at the Old Hilltown near the 1889 Salinas River Bridge.  Old Hilltown was once the site of a ferry operation at the Salinas River along the highway between Salinas and Monterey.   The site of Old Hilltown was located along what is now Spreckels Lane.  

Private home sales began in Spreckels during 1925 but much of the community would remain in the hands of the Spreckels Sugar Company.  The Salinas-Monterey Highway was added to the State Highway System as part of Legislative Route Number 117 during 1933.  Spreckels Avenue can be seen connecting Spreckels to Legislative Route Number 117 on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Monterey County.  Legislative Route Number 117 would begin to be signed as California State Route 68 in 1961.  

The Spreckels Sugar Company mill in Spreckels shuttered during 1982.  Following the shuttering of the mill the Spreckels Branch Railroad was withdrawn to the city limits of Salinas.  The remaining homes in the community of Spreckels were sold to the public.  

Part 2; a drive on Spreckels Avenue

As noted in the introduction Spreckels Avenue begins at the former grade of the Spreckels Branch Railroad.  Spreckels Avenue acts as a continuation of the Harris Road.  The transition of Harris Road to Spreckels Avenue is easy to spot due to the non-Manual of Traffic Control Devices advisory speed signage.  

Spreckels Avenue westbound passes through the downtown area of the community.  The Spreckels Volunteer Fire Department building boasts being active since 1899. 

Westbound Spreckels Avenue departs the community of Spreckels through a tunnel of trees.  As the tree tunnel ends the roadway intersects with Spreckels Lane which as noted in Part 1 once connected to Old Hilltown.  

Westbound Spreckels Avenue terminates at California State Route 68.  


Popular posts from this blog

Horace Wilkinson Bridge (Baton Rouge, LA)

Standing tall across from downtown Baton Rouge, the Horace Wilkinson Bridge carries Interstate 10 across the lower Mississippi River between West Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parishes. Unusually, the bridge is actually named for three separate people; three generations of Horace Wilkinsons who served in the Louisiana State Legislature over a combined period of 54 years. Constructed in the 1960s and opened to traffic in 1968, this is one of the largest steel bridges on the lower Mississippi. It’s also the tallest bridge across the Mississippi, with its roadway reaching 175 ft at the center span. Baton Rouge is the northernmost city on the river where deep-water, ocean-going vessels can operate. As a result, this bridge is the northernmost bridge on the river of truly gigantic proportions. Altogether, the bridge is nearly 2 ½ miles long and its massive truss superstructure is 4,550 ft long with a center main truss span of 1,235 ft. The Horace Wilkinson Bridge is one of the largest

Sunshine Bridge (Donaldsonville, LA)

Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in southern Louisiana, the Sunshine Bridge spans the lower Mississippi River near the city of Donaldsonville as part of the longer Louisiana Highway 70 corridor, which connects Interstate 10 and Airline Highway (US 61) with US 90 in Morgan City. In the years following World War II, the only bridges across the lower Mississippi River in Louisiana were located in the area of the state’s two largest cities – Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Postwar agricultural and industrial development along the river in this region led to the planning of a series of infrastructure projects in southern Louisiana that were aimed at spurring this development and modernization of the Delta region. One of these projects was known as the Acadian Thruway and was developed in the 1950s as a toll road intended to connect greater New Orleans with Lafayette and points west while providing a high-speed bypass of the Baton Rouge metro area. The Thruway, which

Veterans Memorial Bridge (Gramercy, LA)

When we think of the greatest engineering achievements and the greatest bridges of North America, we tend to focus on those located in places familiar to us or those structures that serve the greatest roles in connecting the many peoples and cultures of our continent. Greatness can also be found in the places we least expect to find it and that 'greatness' can unfortunately be overlooked, due in large part to projects that are mostly inconsequential, if not wasteful, to the development and fortunes of the surrounding area. In the aftermath of the George Prince ferry disaster that claimed the lives of 78 people in October 1976 in nearby Luling, LA, the state of Louisiana began the process of gradually phasing out most of its prominent cross-river ferry services, a process that remains a work in progress today. While the Luling-Destrehan Ferry service was eliminated in 1983 upon completion of the nearby Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge, the ferry service at Gramercy, LA in rural St.