The Cowell family lived in Santa Cruz for only two generations, but left an outsized legacy. Henry Cowell (1819-1903), a Massachusetts native, came in the early 1860s, acquiring a share of the Davis & Jordan Lime and Cement Company in 1865. He became sole owner of the Cowell Lime and Cement Company in 1889. The main operation was at what is now known as the Cowell Lime Works, and included lime kilns, quarries, timberlands, and livestock.
Lime operations ceased in the 1940s, but son S. H. (Harry) Cowell held the ranch into the 1950s, establishing the S. H. Cowell Foundation before he died in 1955. The Foundation made two large donations of the Cowell estate land. A large portion became the UCSC campus, and another large area became the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.
- History Pages: 16 - Lime and Wine
- History Pages: 19 - Return of the Limeburners
- Lime Kiln Legacies (2007 book), by Frank Perry et al.
- "Henry Cowell: The Enigmatic Figure of Santa Cruz History", by Dunn, Geoffrey, SCPL articles
- The Sidewalk Companion to Santa Cruz Architecture (4th ed. 2023), Chapter Ten, introduction, page 253.