Barson, Alfred and Mary Ellen

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Barson Riverside Hotel.jpg

Alfred (Fred) and Mary Ellen Barson bought thirty acres along the river, south of Soquel Avenue, in 1870. After the bridge opened, Barson built the Riverside Hotel with his wife Mary Ellen in 1877. Children and descendents ran it successfully until 1945. With its extensive gardens, river access and home-grown meat and produce for its restaurant, the Riverside was a unique and attractive tourist resort.

A few years later, Barson made another major contribution to the city’s current configuration. He deeded to the city two rights-of-way through his land. One, running along the north boundary of his land, became today's Barson Street. The other (now Campbell-Riverside Street) extended from Barson Street to the riverbank. This new street became the approach to the next bridge to be built over the San Lorenzo (known as the “cut bias” bridge), later replaced by today’s Riverside Avenue Bridge.