The history behind Camden Avenue

Did you know that “Camden” is an acronym?

An old photograph of the Southern Pacific Coast Railroad at a depot circa 1910.

The Southern Pacific Coast Railroad once shared tracks with the Peninsular Railway.

Photo via History San José

Did you know that Camden Avenue is actually an acronym for “from Campbell to New Almaden Mine?” 👀

The road, which runs down through South San Jose, was once called “Railroad Avenue.” Back in the late 1800s, the South Pacific Coast Railroad brought timber from the Santa Cruz Mountains to the New Almaden quicksilver mine through the Camden Branch. 🚂

The branch was also used to transport quicksilver from the mines to Alviso, where it would be shipped to a smelter. ⛏️

However, by 1922, the railroad service dwindled down to a single train once a week, and by 1934, many branches were abandoned when the mines shut down during the Great Depression.

The Southern Pacific Coast Railroad then deeded the Camden Branch to Santa Clara County, where it became what is now known as Camden Avenue. 🛣️

What other historic San Jose placenames should we explore next?

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