Guide to the California Powder Works Photo Album Collection (1890) – History

View the full guide to this collection

The California Powder Works was the first explosive powder manufacturing company west of the Rockies.  It was incorporated in 1861, began manufacturing in 1864, and ceased operations in 1914.  It was located on the San Lorenzo River about 2.5 miles north of the city of Santa Cruz, CA.  The California Powder Works was rated as second to none to other operations in the United States and Europe.  In 1898 there were a series of explosions that rocked Santa Cruz.  These explosions at the powder works killed 13 men and injured 25 others.  These also raised public concern about a dangerous operation located near a populated area.  With the construction of the Panama Canal and improvement in transportation Dupont concentrated manufacturing operations at his New Jersey plant.  The Powder mill facilities were dismantled and property sold in 1924.

Santa Cruz County History – The California Powder Works,

Wikipedia – California Powder Works,