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Lexington, California is a ghost town in Santa Clara County, now submerged by the Lexington Reservoir. It is located at latitude 34°11'47"N, longitude 121°59'14"W; decimal degrees: latitude 37.19639, longitude -121.98722. Originally located along Los Gatos Creek, the town was 550 feet above sea level.[1]

Lexington started out as a sawmill built in 1848 by Isaac Branham and Julian Jank. Zachariah "Buffalo" Jones bought the mill for $3000 and laid out a town called "Jones Mill". In 1860 John P. Hennings bought some of the property and changed the name to Lexington, after his home town of Lexington, Kentucky.[2]

Lexington was a stop on the stagecoach route from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz. In the 1860's, the saw mills moved up into the hills and Lexington began to lose importance. In 1880, a narrow gauge railroad from Los Gatos to Santa Santa Cruz was completed, bypassing Lexington and leading to its gradual decline. The Lexington Murders was one of the most notable crimes in California during the 1800s. Three men were responsible for the brutal murders of William Peter Renowden and Archibald McIntyre in Lexington, on March 11, 1883.[3][4]

Lexington's sister city Alma remained until much later, until the 1950s. The visible ruins under Lexington reservoir are actually those of Alma, not Lexington. The railroad ceased operations in March 1940, following major damage by a winter storm and the completion of State Route 17 that same year. When the Lexington Reservoir was created in 1952, Lexington and Alma were officially abandoned and SR 17 was rerouted to its present location; building foundations and original pavements of roads are sometimes visible during droughts. Another ghost town, Alma was south of Lexington and was also submerged by the reservoir.

The nearby unincorportated town of Lexington Hills is a reminder of the former town; it combines several villages in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

References

  1. ^ Lexington (historical), California: Lexington (historical), California Latitude and Longitude
  2. ^ The History of Los Gatos, Gem of the Foothills, George Bruntz
  3. ^ "Justice was swift for murder suspects in 1880s San Jose". San Jose Mercury News: pp. 1B. January 31, 1995. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=SJ&s_site=mercurynews&p_multi=SJ&p_theme=realcities&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB71E0912224200&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Retrieved 2008-11-14.  
  4. ^ Conaway, Peggy (March 15, 2006). "Premeditated murder in Los Gatos". Los Gatos Weekly Times. http://www.community-newspapers.com/archives/lgwt/20060315/lgnews5.shtml. Retrieved 2008-11-14.  
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