It's easy to appreciate Antonelli Pond for its peace and quiet, its rustic beauty, and its birds and wildlife. But the history or Antonelli Pond is rich and fascinating.
Here are a few historical facts you may enjoy about Antonelli Pond, courtesy of the Land Trust of Santa Cruz which took over the pond 30 years ago.
1. Antonelli Pond is a man-made pond, about a century old.
2. The earliest known occupant of Antonelli Pond is George Hyde, who built his home on the north eastern tip of the pond in 1850, in "Hyde Grove."
3. Around 1930, during prohibition days, the San Vicente Lumber Company's boiler house (located on the south side closest to Delaware Avenue) was used as a distillery for making moonshine, and a speakeasy was soon added. This was also the location for a rowboat concession and boathouse for Mazzoni's hotel.
4. The Antonelli brothers began a begonia farm on the east side of the pond, which would later help inspire and supply the Begonia Festival and Parade in Capitola Village. The brothers used the pond as an irrigation source and fishing hole.
5. Thus, around 1950 the pond became known as "Antonelli Pond."
6. Back in the mid-1920's, the Young brothers converted the old San Vicenty Company's boiler house into a mushroom factory since it provided the perfect cool, moist climate for growing mushrooms.
7. Those posts sticking out of the pond, "post piles," are remnants of an old wharf that used to extend out into the pond.
8. In the mid-1920's, the first artichoke crops were grown on Thistle Hill, (there are still lots of beautiful purple thistles blooming at the pond right now) located on the west side of the pond. From there all the way up to Half Moon Bay marked the west's original artichoke capital.
9. In the late 1910's and early 1920's, Hollywood used the San Vincente mill for sawmill mackdrops for movies. Moviola Vista was the site most commonly used, and over 10 silent films were made at Antonelli Pond.
Antonelli Pond lies on Santa Cruz's west side, tucked away behind the Homeless Garden Project's farm. It's a well kept secret where locals go to canoe, picnic, fish, and let their dogs run free.