Campo Punta West, Santa Cruz Island

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Campo Punta West, Santa Cruz Island (Campo del Oeste) [Sp. west point field] is located on the westernmost point of the island that includes Fraser Point and Forney’s Cove. Justinian Caire developed this out-ranch in the 19th century to serve the west end of the island. Early maps hand drawn in 1886 and 1890 indicate many acres of hay were raised here. The 1890 map shows Campo Punta West developed with a ranch house, foreman’s quarters with an attached storeroom, sheep corrals, a hog pen, pump, reservoir, stable, and two hay barns (zacateras). In addition, fences surrounded two adjacent hay fields. A wagon road and a magneto telephone line connected this ranch with the Christy Ranch about six miles away.

Campo Punta West fell into disuse sometime after the turn of the century. In 1906, Margaret Eaton reported that “There were 18 of them [fishermen] living there in the large hay barn that belonged to the owners of [Santa Cruz] island.” Campo Nuevo was built several miles to the east with lumber salvaged from Campo Punta West. Today the stone foundations of the two hay barns and the stone corner of a building remain as evidence of this former outpost.

In the News~

December 13, 1898 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Santa Rosa came into port late last night bring with her six shipwrecked men from the schooner Helene. These men tell a fearful tale of exposure that they had to endure for two days on a rock off Santa Cruz Island. Thursday night while near the island in pursuit of live seals, the schooner Helene encountered a very heavy southeaster. She attempted to find in shelter from Forney’s Cove on the west end of Santa Cruz Island, and anchored just outside this cove. A northeast wind came up soon and so suddenly that it was impossible for them to get out… The vessel dragged her anchors for some distance, and about midnight struck a low reef… Late the next afternoon the tide had gone down so low that it was possible to wade a considerable distance, and by swimming a short distance they reached the main island. There they found an old Chinese cabin with some provisions, which they used. Saturday afternoon, the large schooner Santa Rosa, which had left Santa Barbara port a few days before to go to sea in order to avoid the southeaster, was crossing the channel, and being three or four miles from the wreck, sighted several men on the island who apparently were in distress… The six men on the vessel were Ramon Vasquez, Joseph Leva, Colice Vasquez, Joe Cota and Charles Shout… The Helene was a comparatively new boat, having been in the channel about four years… She has been employed catching live seals for the Rogers Brothers…”