Skip to main content

Ice Cream Grade

While in the Southern Santa Cruz Mountains I encountered oddly named mountain road known as the Ice Cream Grade.


The Ice Cream Grade is an approximately 2.7 mile roadway in Santa Cruz County connecting Pine Flat Road eastward to Empire Grade/Felton-Empire Road.  The origin of the name "Ice Cream Grade" may have been due to ice cream socials being used to fund the roadway.  Apparently the Ice Cream Grade appeared as presently named in 1899 in public documents .

Ice Cream Grade Santa Cruz Wiki

The Ice Cream Grade does appears as an unmarked roadway between Pine Flat Road the Empire Grade on the 1935 California Divisions of Highways Map of Santa Cruz County.

1935 Santa Cruz County Highway Map 

Regarding my drive on Ice Cream Grade I started from Pine Flat Road headed east.  The Ice Cream Grade is immediately signed with "Icy" advisory signs.  Considering the elevation on the Ice Cream Grade is somewhat low I can only assume someone had a sense of humor placing a somewhat ironic sign.


Commercial loads over 10,000 pounds are prohibited on Ice Cream Grade.


The alignment of the Ice Cream Grade is very haggard and alternates between two-lane to one-lane.  The Ice Cream Grade crosses Laguna Creek about mid-way between Pine Flat Road and Empire Grade before climbing a large hill.









The Ice Cream Grade ends at Empire Grade.  The road continues eastward as Felton-Empire Road through the Fall Creek unit of Henry Cowell State Park.


I'm honestly surprised that the street blades are so large and displayed so prominently on both ends of the Ice Cream Grade.  The unique name would tend make me think they are the target of signage theft.  The remote terrain probably deters most would be thieves.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Central Freeway of San Francisco (US Route 101)

The Central Freeway is a 1.2-mile elevated limited access corridor in the city of San Francisco.  As presently configured the Central Freeway connects from the end of the Bayshore Freeway to Market Street.  The Central Freeway carries the mainline of northbound US Route 101 from the Bayshore Freeway to Mission Street. The Central Freeway has origins with the establishment of Legislative Route Number 223 and is heavily tied to the history of the once proposed Panhandle Freeway.  The Central Freeway between the Bayshore Freeway and Mission Street was completed during 1955.  The corridor was extended to a one-way couplet located at Turk Street and Golden Gate Avenue in 1959 which served to connect US Route 101 to Van Ness Avenue.  The Central Freeway was damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and has since been truncated to Market Street.   The Central Freeway as pictured on the blog cover was featured in the May/June 1959 California Highways & Public Works.  The scan below is fro

The Bayshore Freeway (US Route 101)

The Bayshore Freeway is a 56.4-mile component of US Route 101 located in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The Bayshore Freeway connects the southern extent of San Jose to the Central Freeway in the city of San Francisco.  The corridor was originally developed as the Bayshore Highway between 1923 and 1937.  The Bayshore Highway would serve briefly as mainline US Route 101 before being reassigned as US Route 101 Bypass in 1938.  Conceptually the designs for the Bayshore Freeway originated in 1940 but construction would be delayed until 1947.  The Bayshore Freeway was completed by 1962 and became mainline US Route 101 during June 1963.   Part 1; the history of the Bayshore Freeway Prior the creation of the Bayshore Highway corridor the most commonly used highway between San Jose and San Francisco was El Camino Real (alternatively known as Peninsula Highway).  The  American El Camino Real  began as an early example of a signed as an Auto Trail starting in 1906.  The era of State Highway Mainte

The history of US Route 80 and Interstate 8 in California

The historic corridor of US Route 80 and Interstate 8 through the borderlands of southern California share a largely mutual history.  Both highways originated in the city of San Diego and departed the state at the Colorado River into Yuma, Arizona.  Both highways share numerous famous geographical components such as the Mountain Springs Grade and Algodones Sand Dunes.  This article serves as a comprehensive history of the combined US Route 80/Interstate 8 corridor in California from the tolled stage route era of the nineteenth century to the development of the modern freeway.   The blog cover photo features US Route 80 along the Mountains Springs Grade through In-Ko-Pah Gorge during late 1920s.  This photo is part of the Caltrans McCurry Collection. Part 1; the history of US Route 80 and Interstate 8 in California US Route 80 and Interstate 8 in California share a largely mutual history.  The backstory of both highways is tied heavily to the corridors of the Old Spanish Trail, Legisl