Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


William H. Booth, an enterprising citizen of Santa Cruz, is proprietor of Booth's Auto Camp, at 112 Water Street. He was born in Kanawha county, West Virginia, on a hillside farm, and there he was reared. He followed farming, sawmilling and lumbering in his native State, until he came to California, in 1890, locating at Boulder Creek, Santa Cruz county. The first summer he worked for the Cunningham Brothers in their lumber yard and sawmill. He then undertook business for himself, cutting and selling redwood timber. Later he removed to Santa Cruz and engaged in the grocery business on Water Street and twenty-five years ago he established a campground for summer-folks in Boulder Creek. He was known then as "the Park Maker," and the property is now the Bonnie Brier Resort at Boulder Creek.

Mr. Booth established his present auto camp on the banks of the San Lorenzo Creek in Santa Cruz some twelve years ago, taking four and one-half acres in a forest of maple trees. The oldest auto camp in the state, it is well known all over the Pacific coast and in the east. Part of this land was swamp, but he filled it in with two thousand loads of dirt and made the surface level. Automobiles from almost ever state in the Union have been here, and on last Fourth of July over two hundred automobiles were encamped here and hundreds were turned away. Ovens and gas are supplied, and there are swings for the children, and such games as horse-shoe pitching for the "old boys." When Mr. Booth first opened his place, some seven or eight persons came the first year, remaining three or four days; since then the business has so greatly increased that many come to pitch their tents for two or more months, and now Mr. Booth proposes to erect cabins for winter guests. He also owns ten acres of virgin redwood forest on the Los Gatos highway, near Santa Cruz, and this he will develop into an ideal picnic ground. When he arrived in Santa Cruz, he had no money; but thanks in part to the steadfast cooperation of his good wife, all that they control today they also own. It is no wonder, then, that this lover of and defender of the trees should have met with success in making so popular a resort.

In Tulare County, California, October 21, 1890, Mr. Booth was married to Miss Mollie E. Metts, a native of Ohio; and they came to Santa Cruz as bride and groom. They have toiled hard together, and much of their prosperity has been due to the fact that, while building for themselves, they have had a generous eye toward helping others as well.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.