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The map, designed by Polly Hill and published in 1912, was part of a promotional brochure extolling the beauties, joys and pleasures to be sampled in Santa Cruz and environs - centred on the Casa del Rey Hotel, and the adjacent Casino. Both were recently built by Fred W. Swanton, a local businessman and civic leader who had such an impact on the area at that time that the city was nicknamed, Swantacruz.
More than a cartographic gimmick, the hand shape is also a clever way of representing the local geography, with the two outer fingers representing the coastal corridor and the three middle ones some of the valleys radiating northward through mountainous terrain.
At the bottom of the palm, we see the street grid of the city of Santa Cruz, one of the most recognisable features of which is the Circles Neighborhood. On more detailed, modern maps, it consists of Palmetta Street, Bethany Curve, and Walk, Wilkes and Errett Circles, all centred on the Circle Church.
On the coast, between the US Lighthouse (at the southernmost point) and the mouth of the San Lorenzo River, are Swanton’s Casino and the Casa del Rey Hotel. East of the river, past Seabright, Twin Lakes and Del Mar, is the Hotel Capitola.
Via Strange Maps