The city of Santa Cruz was the location of an American Indian settlement since ancient times. It was also one of the earliest settlements of the Spanish during the exploration of California in the later part of the 18th century. During the late 19th century, after California became part of the United States, Santa Cruz became widely popular for its idyllic beaches and coastal redwood forests, establishing itself as a resort community.
Cooper Street and Pacific Avenue
During the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, several buildings along what was known as the Pacific Garden Mall were destroyed, including the former courthouse renamed and reopened in the 1960s as the Cooper House. The Cooper House was widely regarded as the heart of the downtown area and featured outdoor music each day by Don McCaslin’s band “Warmth”.
The Cooper House had a restaurant and bar that went through several owners throughout the 1980s but consistently attracted the townspeople, their guests, and local characters to the outdoor patio where cocktails, food, music, and people watching were always on the menu. Since the earthquake, the old “Pacific Garden Mall” theme was eliminated.
Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History
The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History is a non-profit educational institution in Santa Cruz. It is located at the downtown McPherson Center. Its aim is to promote a greater understanding of contemporary art and the history of Santa Cruz County.
The Museum of Art & History promotes a greater understanding of contemporary art and the history of Santa Cruz County, through its exhibitions, collections, and programs, for the benefit of residents and visitors to Santa Cruz County.
The Octagon Building
The Octagon Building is an historic redbrick octagonal government office building in Santa Cruz, California. It was built in 1882 to serve as the Santa Cruz County Hall of Records. It later became the Museum Store for the adjacent Museum of Art and History.
The building is located at 118 Cooper Street, at the corner of Front Street, along the Pacific Garden Mall. Much of the mall was damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, but the building survived. It is now an upscale coffee shop called Lulu’s at the Octagon. On March 24, 1971 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Pearl Alley and The Good Times Building
Santa Cruz’s alleys have a variety of purposes. Many of the alleys serve as “back doors” to businesses and some even as “front doors.” All are used as key pedestrian connections between major portions of downtown. Pearl Alley is a favorite and has some great dining establishments and is home to Good Times.