Tag Archives: evergreen

Rethink the Evergreen tradition of Golf

Evergreen - Page 029, Atlas: Santa Clara County 1956, CaliforniGolf, the Scottish sport, has been a part of Evergreen’s green landscape for a long time.  In fact, Reid-Hillview Airport borrows half of its namesake to the Golf Course paved to make way for its construction.  The other half was of Hillview Golf Course was cleared for Eastridge Mall’s development.  You can see it here in a 1969 road map, before Tully Road ran through to Lake Cunningham.    Hillview Golf Course would’ve enjoyed uninterrupted views of the hillside and surrounded by Evergreen’s orchards until the neighborhood grew up around it.

Speaking of closed golf courses, Pleasant Hills Golf Course off White Road closed in 2004 and reverted back to a dairy farm with little to no alterations.  Its golf shacks are an attractive canvas for graffiti artists.

country-clubSilver Creek Valley Country Club, built in 1992, is a well scored course, privately owned and maintained.  The Golf course and Club house are separate from the Club’s homeowner’s association and amenities.  You can live here inside its gates and still not enjoy the golfing freely.  This Silver Creek Valley Community was built on top of ancient Ohlone camps and a historical tribute can be seen at the Clubhouse, to the left of the entrance.  The Villages Retirement Community is also open to its residents and members.  This private clubhouse also hosts pieces of Evergreen history in its Cribari Center.

slider2The Ranch Golf Club is open to the public and less exclusive than Silver Creek and the Villages.  Tee times are had more easily.  The Ranch Club is built atop the Hassler Ranch and its rolling vistas.  Across 101,  Los Lagos Golf Course at the far west end of the Rancho Yerba Buena and Evergreen on Capitol Expressway near Coyote Creek is also a public course.

BUT golf is boring to most residents.  It’s where the Pleasant Hills Course closed, not enough demand to keep it open.

cam12957In finding funding for the Evergreen Mural Walk, I find brand new places in Evergreen I’ve never heard of.  I usually don’t like to GPS things until I exit Evergreen.  So when I stumble on to something new, it’s nearly unheard of.

Here at the Western boundary along Coyote Creek, near Hellyer Avenue and 101, I found a new version of golf, open to the public that I’d never heard of before but now that I’ve done some digging around, it looks so cool.

imagescam12962One of your friends has a Frisbee laying around if you don’t, or you can find equipment over at Big 5.  It’s Disc Golf.

Being along Highway 101 and exposed to coastal gusts, this would be a challenging game no matter how good you are or how excellent conditions were.  This course takes advantage of Evergreen’s hills and scenic views.

disc-golfThis game has players aim into chained buckets to make their way across the course.  Though some of the Hellyer courses chains are missing or loose, you can still aim through the hoop and have a great time.  I’m sure if we used it more, we’d see some better maintenance of this public park and its awesome course.  If you’ve never played before, you must try it.

Drive down Quimby Road – Review

IMG_0168quimby road san jose - Google SearchThis is one of San Jose’s best drives, Quimby Road.  It’s got a lot of history.  I wouldn’t venture on a recreational drive with the phone on.  Checking it and texting will be dangerous.  Your reception will be shotty, so who cares.  You’re not going to want to be checking your phone anyways.  I like to think of this drive as a 30 minute vacation.  If you grew up camping and hiking, if you appreciate your relationship with nature, you’re going to like to bite-size journey.  You can return to your day to day totally renewed.

IMG_0147This drive is gorgeous!  Go grab your camera!  If you want to take photos, do be polite.  Pull to the side of road in a turn out or find a driveway and your flashers.  This is a narrow windy road.  Quimby Road also isn’t entirely lifeless, meaning you’ll find other cars passing and people live out here.  Be careful if you’re getting out of the car, check your mirrors before getting out  and use your flashers every time.

CAM12894IMG_0187Your trip out of town doesn’t really begin until you reach Murillo Avenue.  From Eastridge Mall to Murillo Avenue, this area of Quimby Road is completely developed. That’s changed since my childhood.  There’s  high school where there were once cow pastures.  Just west of Murillo Avenue are newer homes and the Sikh Gurdwara.  Murillo Avenue would mark the boundary of the Pellier Ranch and upon your first curves, you’ll find vineyards and a monastery.  You’re on the right path.  Keep going.

IMG_0145The hills are steep and windy.  Because they are, your views will be spectacular right away.  There’s no where to really pull over and park on the way up, so you’re going to have to wait for these shots on your way back when you can find room on a turn.  Or bring a friend and keep your eye on the road.  Really, that’s safest.  You’ll have to muscle up a few switchbacks back to back.  Don’t go too slow, and don’t get nervous.  I do think in 4 cylinders with ease.  Don’t be overwhelmed by the steep curves.  And when you get comfy with them, you’ll enjoy them.

IMG_0169After the switchbacks are shaded valleys and wavy roadways up here.  This is the Northeastern corner of Rancho Yerba Buena.  Picturesque barns and livestock populate Quimby Road.  This is nearly untouched wilderness and the drive is pretty relaxing from here out.  You can’t entirely take your eyes off the road, but turn offs are plentiful.

IMG_0184Watch out for deer.  Actually, there’s plenty of indigenous wildlife on Quimby – vultures, turkeys, squirrels and lovely deer.  In the past and in the evening, you can see owl, bobcat and deer galore.  I’ve found deer here, Chaboya Road and at the Wehner Mansion.  This was taken at 2pm, so they’re pretty brazen up here.  Photograph deer with caution.  This guy was calm, but I felt uncomfortable at the Wehner Mansion.  It just depends, but always remember – that’s not Bambi.  Photograph at a distance.  If you’re a serious photographer, you should take all your lenses anyway.

CAM12900CAM12899Further down Quimby Road, you will pass some stunning, old school ranches to the left and right where you reach the Summit.  These ranch entrances alone are beautiful.  They’re not open to the public, so don’t go wandering up a driveway.  This far removed from civilization, hunting is a reality and serves a huge purpose in wildlife control and conservation.  It’s simply not safe to have unplanned visits.  Stick to the road and take all the pictures of hundreds of year old Evergreen oaks and historic barns you want.  This portion of Quimby is fun to drive, but not without well marked turns and elevation changes.  You gotta stay alert.

IMG_0166IMG_0163Beyond the Summit and just outside of the Rancho Yerba Buena, you drop down into a Valley.  You’re officially out of Evergreen.  A beautiful lake in Halls Valleys reveals itself and Quimby Road soon ends at Mt. Hamilton Road, Highway 130.  By turning right, you’ll reach Joseph Grant Park nearly immediately.  This park entrance is a great spot to pull over for pictures of the lake.

IMG_0159James Lick Observatory is another 30-45 minutes away, depending on how you drive on windy roads.  Like we discussed in our Best Drive List, this is where this drive becomes tremendously difficult.  This is not for new drivers.  This is not for texting.  This is not for the timid.  This is not for the car sick or just eaten.  This is not for old tires or weak brakes.  If you have any questions or doubts, stop off at Joseph Grant Park and collect your thoughts.  This isn’t a fun drive beyond this point, but it’s worth it if you’re curious about the Observatory.  During this drive, it’s fun watching it come into focus as you get closer.

 

 

 

Quimby Road – History

 

thumb200caQuimby Road, from its 1860’s creation, has been an artery into the town of Evergreen, intersecting with historic White Road and King Road for over 150 years now.  We’ve discussed previously in Evergreen Mural Walk’s blog Evergreen’s Own Mayor Quimby.  John Alonzo Quimby, San Jose Mayor, is indeed the roadway’s namesake, whose second home outside of downtown was here in Evergreen in the 1860’s.  Quimby Road on our Best Drives List, however, is host to many powerful stories and breathtaking vistas.

P1310216 (2)

We’re looking at Quimby Road from the familiar now 1899 map, which I found at Evergreen Valley College’s library in the Heritage Room, curated by Colleen Cortese.  Let’s talk about what these parcels are now.

6254416259_78f082522aYou can see White Road further left.  Left is west and a pinch south.  White Road runs North and South and Norwood Avenue, running off the map here, ought to point directly East.  The right of the adjacent Chaboya properties, belonging Ramon Chaboya, is the Evergreen School District Office and Quimby Oak Middle School.   This is Ramon, or Raymond, Chaboya to the left here.  The western border of the western, or left, Renaud property is Ruby Avenue which later builds through to the Mirassau or Mirassou property on Chew Lane, which became Aborn Road.  This is a particularly interesting tid bit because of the Pellier lineage

.CAM11091The roadway was named for the one time Mayor, long time civil servant and Evergreen rancher.  Strangely enough though, the Quimby Family property, in the family as shown above, isn’t located on Quimby Road in 1899.  It appears to have been downsized and passed down to the Quimby’s daughter, then Mrs. Wright, lived on Chaboya Road.  Can I be honest with you?  This M. Wright parcel feels more like the corner of the Pellier Ranch.  The straightened portion becomes Murillo Avenue and the offshoot of Chaboya Road is there.  This is where the Sikh Gurdawa is today.  It would’ve outline the neighboring Pellier Ranch in 1876 and become the driveway by 1899.

We’re going to look back at Quimby Road again, but this time in 1876.  I’m going to tell you that this zoom out is very deceiving.  The properties will appear to be the same size, but that is not the case.  They’re much larger and fewer.  They’ll just be bigger.  Check the acre size on the Ramon Chaboya and the McClay/Chaboya parcel to be sure.  Ramon Chaboya’s are both 39 acres.  The McClay/Chaboya parcel on Quimby Road is 36+ acres.

Map 006, San Jose, Evergreen, Silver Creek, Mount Pleasant, Pal

As stated above, Quimby Road connected Evergreen to downtown at its Northern end as Evergreen and Chew Lane did on the South side.  The portion of Tully Road where Quimby Road first appears was also known as Quimby Road.  This section was soon after renamed for the prominent businessman and landowner, John Tully, Lake Cunningham were developed.  You can see Cunningham on the Wallace & Tully parcel in yellow.  Tully Road would divide this property in half.

Along the dotted line, Norwood Avenue would’ve been built and Tully Road would border the Wallace Tully property to the North.  This is considered the boundary of Evergreen itself.

 6254426015_f091ee3233_bDuring the 1870’s, the Chaboya’s would spread out along Quimby Road with large ranches and a driveway that would later become Murillo and Chaboya.  Into the 1890’s the family would downsize and swap parcels with neighbors like the McClays, who would also downsize over the years as it passed down to later generations.  The Kettmann’s were upsizing, purchasing Mt. Hamilton land for goat herding, and surely used Quimby Road and Mt. Hamilton to get there.  The widowed Mrs. Tully was buying up property.  Also seemingly moving out of the Evergreen area is the Pellier Family, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

129607434_1399786458 12314282_198416020500512_5584157587879954674_o As we discussed before in RIP Louis Pellier, detailing a gravestone mix up, the Pierre Pellier family lost their budding male heir at the age of 16.  This was a huge blow for Mr. & Mrs. Pellier and their daughters , soon after the death of Pierre’s brother  .  There wasn’t another son.  Uncle Louis and his wife would have no children.  Uncle Jean would have children.  He is the only one who would carry on the family name.  But the Pellier daughters would step up, marry well and pass on their family lineage and French heritage.

Interior-FirstGeneration-PierrePellierMrs. Pellier’s distant family members, the Renaud’s, would move in near the French immigrants and begin planting vineyards on Quimby Road.  One Pellier daughter would marry into the Renaud Family, third cousins or further removed.  Elise Pellier would marry Alfred Leon Renaud and have eight children in 17 years on a Quimby Road Estate.  In fact, Alfred Renaud would’ve passed away before Rose knew she was pregnant with their last child in 1901.  I think a Renaud property is across from Evergreen Valley High School, but the larger E. L. Renaud property may stand for Elise Leon Renaud.  In fact, there are still grapes grown here.  The homestead may have been across  Evergreen Valley High School while the grapevines grew up the street.

148) Herman, Peter, & John Mirassou, circa 1905Again, a Pierre and Henrietta Pellier daughter would marry a French transplant moving to the Santa Clara County to engage in agriculture. Pierre Mirassou would marry Henrietta Pellier, the eldest daughter, and a wine dynasty would be born from their union.

Pellier Daughter Josephine would marry Mr. Michael Casalegno, an Italian immigrant, and have six children on the Pellier Ranch.  I got to see their house, which has been moved and preserved within Evergreen.  This would’ve been the Pellier’s home at one point.  The largest ranch in Evergreen would again break up and become many of the largest ranches in Evergreen.  The awesome ending to this Evergreen story is that it doesn’t end and they continue to raise new generations in Evergreen today.  Rad.

I also need to confirm another historic Quimby Road lead that one of the Rinella daughters, a large Sicilian, Italian family, would marry into the LaMantia Family.  Mr. LaMantia would maintain orchards of his own and the vineyards for the Evergreen Cribari Winery.

Back to Quimby Road in the late 1800’s, though.  It would’ve been paved fairly early as an alternative route to James Lick Observatory.  Alum Rock Road’s construction would have to be innovative and swift so the Observatory could begin its construction.  Evergreen’s awesome drives and almost unchanged roadways have a lot to do with East San Jose and the Observatory’s development in Santa Clara County.  Suddenly Evergreen’s thousands of residents were receiving a little more love from its Department of Transportation.

Let’s see if Quimby Road has changed much.  Here it is today.

And the side by side.  Can’t find it earlier than 1876.

Map 006, San Jose, Evergreen, Silver Creek, Mount Pleasant, Pal

IMG_0163The Evergreen artery, Quimby Road, has had some updates.  I think there’s been two path changes in Quimby’s 150 year history.  The first is the part of Quimby Road that now runs through to Mt. Hamilton Road.  In 1876, it merely ran through Evergreen or up to “the Summit”.  That was the boundary for Rancho Yerba Buena and is the color change at the end of each Quimby Road.  This area simply didn’t exist before.  Mt. Hamilton Road’s path too has been softened over time.

IMG_0182The second place updated is where I’m thinking is where I found evidence of it in a bridge. Quimby Road crosses creeks many times and therefore would’ve been washed out if unpaved or poorly maintained.  This update would’ve taken place adding a second and steeper hump between the J. A. Quimby and A. Chaboya in the 1876 map.  This was cleary updated in 1935.  I’ll have to find out when Quimby reached Highway 130 and see if they happened at the same time.

A Tribute to Wehner Mansion

5985327859_3f314741f2_bHeritage Room azules.pdfThis guy once painted Civil War scenes on a panoramic scale in Chicago. Wonderful William Wehner, German born, American famed artist, moved to Evergreen in the 1880’s and built one of the most beautiful structures in Santa Clara County.  The Blue Hills Estate, Wehner Mansion or Cribari Mansion, whichever you prefer, has been a longstanding gem of Queen Anne architecture hiding in Evergreen.

IMG_0214IMG_0206Behind locked gates, this historically designated but almost uninhabitable building has seen better days.  There’s a questionable title and legal loopholes being used to keep the home out of the bank’s hands exclusively, rendering it unable to be sold, preserved or renovated.  Wait a second, there is life here.  I felt it all around me when I took these photographs.  It’s just not human life.  The Mansion is quickly being reclaimed by nature, and a territorial young buck.  Read the above post for that story.

Wehner, Albert Haentz, Cribari and Mirassou families all utilized this stunning home and its expansive vineyards.  Until the 1970’s, this mansion was storage and winery for some of the world’s most famous vines.

I know it’ll be some time before you make older friends who’ll let you snoop around their homes looking for nuggets of Evergreen gold.  Here’s a reimagining of the Wehner Mansion.

wehner mansion Wehner%20mansion

Here’s the progression of the drawing for your art buffs

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The State of Public Arts

9dbad7c9-3b83-4309-8011-1ac1e52b1788P1310589Needless to say, I’m letting my nerd flag fly with every blog post for the Evergreen Mural Walk.  If you think I enjoy Evergreen, consider how much I love Public Arts.  As a San Jose Native and based Artist, how could anything be more personal or provocative to me as San Jose’s Public Arts’ Scene.  I’m going to narrow my review to the Visual Arts’ for the most part because it’s my expertise and experience.  I still don’t get out often enough to be a critic of our performing arts or festivals, which San Jose has a ton of!  Well done, us.  There is constantly something happening in San Jose and a holistic approach to the public spaces being highly considered makes those more engaging.  City Hall is somewhere I find inspiration and a lot of support.

january_lectureSince coming up with this crazy Evergreen idea a year ago, I’ve been to every City of San Jose Arts Commission and Public Art meeting open to the public.  San Jose’s art portfolio is vast with a wide variety of investments and installations.  Overall beautiful and well considered, I cannot help but to notice lots of funding going to out of state artists for their unique concepts.  There’s been two pieces that people hate in Downtown.  The Arts Commission funds programs like the Ballet, Symphony and other performing Arts.  Illuminating Downtown appears to be a success with more projects on the way, a series of light Public Arts Installations to Downtown’s Underpasses.  Brand new pieces have been installed on Lincoln Avenue in Willow Glen.

artboxThe Art Box program finds itself empowering charming pieces in already charming, walking Communities.  To engage this program, you must have an artistically or culturally valid concept and private sponsorship.  Its this programs’ intent to create opportunities for professional artists, though the stipend is low.  I think this is why there are some done to a lesser quality than others.  It takes a larger commitment of time from the artist than the program pays.  This program adds to San Jose’s rich culture by creating exposure for artists.  The location is chosen by the Arts Commissioner in charge and the private donor, so the pay off is in the location.  Because of these elements, the Art Boxes have not been employed in Evergreen, or other graffiti ravaged Communities, though this Public Arts approach could help the safety and walkability of Evergreen.  You’ll find Art Boxes in Willow Glen, Downtown, and the Alameda.

newsofaThere is such a lack of color in San Jose, it’s known as Tan Jose to those in the Arts Community.  People lament the boredom of San Jose’s Airport, knowing the Cultural hotspot that waits for them outside.  San Jose State University trains brilliant, competent artists, but we outsource the Artistic Identity of San Jose to others.  Those like Erin Salazar, with the Exhibition District, finds private funding and public walls to empower San Jose’s Arts Community to have a hand in its Individuality.  Sadly, the Exhibition District focuses Downtown.  Not in Evergreen.  Cherri Lakey, too, with Two Fish Designs, brings Artists Opportunities forth in her successful galleries and SOFA events.  SOFA, however, still isn’t Evergreen.    Love seeing strong women creating business opportunities and cohesion for the Arts in San Jose.  That connectivity to opportunities and empowering artists is crucial to San Jose’s Artistic Identity.

What has Public Art done for Evergreen lately?  Does Evergreen have Public Art?

91d4d203-6e45-4919-9cdf-7295ef5f6498It’s gotta be asked because it’s not widely known or appreciated.  It’s often teased for its curious shape.  This first of these is a contribute to John J. Montgomery, the pioneer aviator who lost his life flying in our Evergreen hills.  This is a recreation of a wing from his Evergreen glider.  This stands at the park on the corner of Yerba Buena Road and San Felipe Road, within a mile of where the glider crashed on the Ramonda Ranch.

montgomery 1The importance of this shape is it is the modern shape of wing.  John Montgomery flew before the Wrights Brothers and had the guidance systems in mind in advance.  The East Coast bias goes back before National Sports leagues.  Publication and their Printers were in high volume along the East Coast while the West Coast enjoyed the last standing Old West and settling.  Circulation to local outlets would’ve been easy, but getting publications of Montgomery’s early flights back East were a feet.  The Wrights Brothers have the public’s opinion on Flight’s First, however it was Montgomery and he simply did it better than others until his unfortunate landing.

mouthearHave you heard of these delights to the left and right?  Evergreen Library has beautiful pieces of Public Art, but I had to hear about it in a Public Art Meeting.  That would lead me to believe perhaps you’ve not seen Larry Kirkland’s “Discoveries” either.  The Washington DC based artist here uses the senses and scale to engage his audience in an association with nature.  Mr. Kirkland’s work can be seen in airports around the world, and here at the remodeled Evergreen Library off Aborn Road.  Though little known, it think this is a wonderful addition to San Jose’s and Evergreen’s Artistic Identity.  I think I’ll take a selfie with the giant ear.  I love the honest qualities to the rock with the smooth contours of the skin.  It’s a powerful textural contrast that leads us to opinions of our relationship with nature.

1905Enough La-Ti-Da.  We’re done.  That’s it in San Jose’s District 8.  The largest Rancho in Santa Clara County has 2 pieces of Public Art.  We’ve recognized and tried to bring relevance to the Montgomery piece in our proposed artwork.  There’s splendorous fountains and decorations in new home and retail areas, but we have an artwork portfolio of two and no non-profits receiving operational grants in Evergreen, though I’m sure we have some budding ballerinas and musicians from Evergreen in our Arts Organizations.  Andrew Bales of the SV Symphony discusses the 90% decrease in philanthropy over the last decade, which the Arts has endured.  There are funds set away from every new development that goes towards things like Public Art.  This too gets trimmed away by other needed services like homeless housing.  What’s odd to me is that Evergreen is continuously development the rolling hillside but the 1% for the Arts doesn’t come back here in proportion.  If Corporate Giving and governing agencies cannot fund the Arts, it’s going to go away unless someone gets creative.

P1310632Evergreen sees epidemic graffiti in public spaces and on historic grounds.  Graffiti is a broken window to the factory that is the Evergreen Community.  I can’t help but to think Public Art and bringing charm and romanticism to Evergreen could improve safety and tensions.

Tensions will naturally occur where you have a socio-economic contrast like ours and residents don’t feel like they have any options to improve their own situations.  I maintain this Community is colorful, not unsafe.  Those committing this vandalism are our target volunteer from our high school crowd.  Their ownership and individuality brought to the project bring it success and authenticity.  This was a wildly walkable Community when I was a little girl on my red bike.  Before that, farmers freely roamed through the shortest path through their neighbors’ orchards on horseback.  This project seeks to find that walkability and boost in tourism in Evergreen’s third piece to the Public Art Portfolio.

HARD WON – Cowboy Wisdom

coe_brothers_smallPeter Coe Verbica carries many torches of tradition that are uniquely Evergreen in nature.  Mr. Peter Verbica is a member of the Revolutionary War fighting, Valley of Heart’s Delight rumor creating, dried apricot perfecting, cattle ranching, beautiful poetry writing, longtime Evergreen family, the Coes.  Today, Mr. Peter Coe Verbica is a successful businessman and a Silicon Valley author and poet, deriving inspiration from his long held family traditions.

P1310184Don’t worry if you feel a little confused about where the Coes actually come from.  You did see the Coe name in Willow Glen.  Coe Avenue runs right past Henry W. Coe’s home in “the Willows”, a town which became Willow Glen some time later.  Henry Coe, Sr., would move out to Evergreen in the 1860’s as the Yerba Buena land disputes starting settling.  After a poor year of farming in Willow Glen, Henry W. Coe would move the homestead to Evergreen, buying large tracks in Halls Valley and San Felipe Valley.  His sons would extend the grazing land further.  This cattle ranching track stretched all the way out to Morgan Hill, to Henry W. Coe State Park.

Winnifred Coe Verbica, who died on March 31, 2013, in the early 1950sP1300723This large Evergreen ranching property raised not just cattle, but generations of ranchers, or more specifically Cowboys.  It’s been rumored that Peter’s mother, Winnifred Coe Verbica, was bitten by a rattle snake as a baby on the Evergreen Ranch.  San Felipe Ranch, the main homestead, would be located at the Southern tip of Rancho Yerba Buena.  Various other homes and outposts are dotted throughout the ranching property because you’d be miles and miles away from home on a cattle run with men, dogs and horses to feed.  Mr. Verbica would be born on San Felipe Ranch, like his mother before him.  Cowboy Wisdom is something Mr. Verbica is well-versed in.

1888616_10152084007824902_1583107476_nMr. Verbica obtained his BA in English at Santa Clara University, and received his JD from Santa Clara University’s School of Law.  Though clearly well versed in city life, Peter Coe Verbica spent some time disseminating pearls in his book HARD-WON: Cowboy Wisdom.  This latest book from Peter Coe Verbica is short bursts of common sense uncommon to city-slickers.  Because of the brevity of the clips, it’s a perfect read for a busy person on the go to pick up in spare minutes.  Some of his passages made me laugh out loud in a crowded, busy place.  His snippets are in no particular order.  Mr. Verbica gives tips on cattle running, hunting, and ranch owning.  A simple kind of intelligence from self-sufficient, hardworking farmers can be gleamed throughout HARD-WON.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever daydreamt about being a cowboy and lassoing their little brothers.

image1Here are some of my favorite snippets from HARD-WON: Cowboy Wisdom:

“15.  Don’t wear too big of a buckle unless you’ve earned it.”

“60.  Rides your fences.”

“78.   If someone doesn’t believe in his heart that the West is the Best, don’t trust him.”

“137.  When in rattle snake country, wear high boots.”

“193.  Don’t make fun of a ‘C’ student.  You may have to work for them someday.”

“213.  Unfenced mine shafts are the bane deer and curious children.”

“252.  Finish what you can start, but think first about what you’re starting.”

“292.  Give a horse’s hind end an appropriate distance so that you don’t get kicked.”

“300.  Eat the game you kill.”

“305.  Don’t be too proud to copy what you neighbor does, but try to make it better. – Courtesy of Barry Swenson

“370.  Don’t pen horses with barbed wire.”

“449.  There are lots of ways to skin a cat, but the easiest way is to let someone else do it.”

“476.  Think twice before trying to save your dog from a grizzly.”

 

 

Who was Cunningham?

P1310197We have a giant Lake in Evergreen, showing up in every map throughout time.  Lake Cunningham wasn’t always a lake but rather a large marshland.  This was where Silver Creek, Ruby Creek, Flint Creek and Thompson Creek emptied into.  Also remember that many other creeks empty into Thompson, like Fowler and Norwood Creeks.  Our Evergreen area was also known as the Lagunitas for the multiple creeks and run off steams in Evergreen.  The Lake was initially called Laguna Seca or Socayre.  In the late 1800’s would become known as Silver Lake.  Velma Million would initiate the campaign and follow through on her passion to create Lake Cunningham.  So, who was Cunningham?

CAM09068velma_interiorLake Cunningham’s Champion, Velma Million, explained to me that the name of the park was the person who owned the property last before seized by the City of San Jose for flood control measures that would stabilize and help the entire Evergreen watershed known as lower Silver Creek.  James F. Cunningham wouldn’t be a pioneer or impressively long term resident of Evergreen, but he was quite a remarkable character on his own.  Truth is Cunningham would only come to Evergreen and San Jose in the later years of his life.

new orleansjf cunninghamBorn in Canada, Queens County, New Brunswick, in 1844, James F. Cunningham worked on the family farm before apprenticing for a merchandise store when he was thirteen.  Cunningham would then travel to Maine and enlisted in the United States Army to fight in the Civil War when he was seventeen.  James “Jim” Cunningham would be apart of the battle taking back New Orleans.  He saw battle quite a few times and was a well decorated soldier, serving in the GAR as a veteran.  After serving in the Gulf of Mexico through the Civil War, Cunningham would go to Brooklyn, New York, and open up shop.  If you can’t make it there…. Make it, Cunningham would.

]Jim Cunningham was wounded in while serving twice, and as a result, his health suffered even at the age of 25.  A young James Cunningham would close down his New York merchandise store and move South.  Cunningham would open another store in Missouri looking for warmer weather at the behest of his doctors.

james_f_cunninghamJames F. Cunningham then traveled in San Francisco in 1869 again for his health and again engaged in the merchandising business.  Cunningham would deposit all of his money from the Army, New York and Missouri into the bank and shortly after the San Francisco bank collapsed.  In 1870, Cunningham would loose all of his savings and need to be creative in his endeavors.  James Cunningham would get knocked down a couple times and manage to get back on his feet.

Cunningham Mill - Staff PosingJames’ brother would live in Santa Cruz County and be the closest family penniless James had.  Jim Cunningham would take advantage of homesteading laws and open government land in Santa Cruz County, in the Felton and Boulder Creek area.  James Cunningham would get his start making tanbark and shingles for roofs.  In just a few months, Jim cut and sold lumber, saving up $1,000.00 to open another store with a partner, H. W. McCoy.  Cunningham would become a part of many successful business ventures in Santa Cruz County between the multiple lumber mills and general stores.

Cunningham Mill - 1892 Sanborn MapIn 1873, James would marry Sarah Glynn but the couple never had children.  James Cunningham would later be elected to Santa Cruz County office and represent Santa Cruz in the State Assembly in 1878.  The lumber business became very competitive in the 1880’s and Cunningham, being away so often, allowed himself to be bought out by partners.  He was too old to work on the Mill anymore, although Jeremiah may have managed for sometime after.  This print from the Lumber Mill is from 1901.

books cunninghamP1310186 (4)Don’t worry.  The force of nature that was James F. Cunningham never gave up even though he had enough money to retire into the sunset.  Cunningham’s sunset was the East San Jose farm and it wasn’t retirement.  The Cunningham’s ranch would be off of Cunningham Avenue and King Road, extending into Evergreen.  Cunningham may have hunted at the Lake named in his honor.  I found James F. Cunningham in the 1890 edition of Polk’s San Jose City Listing with his brother, Jeremiah.  Cunningham & Co. owned a general store off Market Street.  James would develop this land and sell a portion to his brother as seen in this 1902 map.  Jeremiah’s residence would be labeled JWC here.

James Cunningham would also known a large ranch in Mountain View, located at present day Moffett Field.

80492586_133783552796James F. Cunningham would pass away in 1907 at the age of 63, having a military honor at his burial.  His East San Jose farm would be worked by his brother for another twenty years after.  His brother, James F. Cunningham, was a warm, well-liked guy from many sources.  The Santa Cruz Surf said on November 25, 1907:

“For one who had made his way in the world from the bottom up by personal force and aggressiveness, ‘Jim’ Cunningham was a remarkably lovable man, and to him the people in his employ and of his neighborhood were notably loyal.”

Fowler Road and Creek

P1330025I work a lot at Chaboya Middle School, in fact its the first school I ever painted at.  People often ask, “Chaboya On Fowler Road?”  And I always say yes, but I know its address is on a different street.  Fowler Road is indeed very close by, but Chaboya is on Cortona Drive.  What’s the confusion?  It’s been redundant for me throughout my career, so I checked it out on behalf of the Evergreen Mural Walk.

1876 MapFowler Creek was named after Andrew Fowler, whom I’m enjoying getting to know.  The street was one of the first in Evergreen, as was the man.  We’ll discuss him in further detail later.  This road was built before Chew Lane/Aborn Road’s eastward section.  This 1876 map hasn’t put a name to the street, but you can see A. J. Fowler’s property along the south side of the road.  This was William Matthew’s portion of the attorneys fees paid out by Chaboya in his lengthy court battle.

In 1899, Fowler’s name finally appears on the road.  This Fowler Road runs all the way through.  It did when I was a kid.  What happened?  This is Fowler Road’s modern path below.

Microsoft Edge

By 1956 however, Fowler is the straight thing I remembered it being as a child.  It ran east of Ruby Avenue.  This map cuts off the windy portion but it was a solid straight line.

Below, Fowler Road is broken up into two parts and straightened out in portions.  There are switchbacks indicated on Fowler Road in 1899 on the Eastern zig zag which appear true on the modern map, but the road also ends sooner in the modern map.  It ends even sooner if you’re driving.  It ends at the straight spot.  This road kept going in 1899.  What gives?

fowler road san jose - Google Search

fowler road 2Here’s what gives.  New homes plans were put in place back in 1991 to get this area built out.  Before that point, in was rolling Mirassou vineyards and orchards.  Chaboya was built on Fowler Road in 1991, but the road’s path would change names as homes were built.  The new bend in the western part of the road came with the build out of the  the Classico neighborhood.  Historic homes still line the straight entrance, but then Fowler Road takes a turn towards the development and later becomes Cortona Drive.  Fowler Road would be built straight during the before 1956 but between proposal in 1991 and build out, something changed.  A portion of the existing Fowler roadway, which clung to Fowler Creek, would become Cortona Drive.  That’s the portion of Fowler which ran through P. Kelliher’s ranch in 1899.  Fowler Road then picks up on the other side of a small park on Chaboya Middle School’s East corner, where the road turns in the Western most part of H. W. Pierce’s acreage.  That’s where the arrow lands.  Today, Fowler Road straightens out, drops again and is private roadway after that.  You can see the windy road, but it appears to be shorter today.

CAM11655 Gemellos, why did you think about that?  Cobble Stone.  Now that I’ve investigated Cottle’s Cobble Stone and now Cadwallader Avenue’s fallen cobble stone bridge, I know there’s something up in areas where I find it in volume.  It’s too heavy to clear and it was clearly a favorite of late 1800’s farmers marking their homesteads.  I was in between appointments around Evergreen and I stopped when I saw it in volumes all over this area.  In fact, I traced Fowler Road’s old path following the stone.  I started at the most eastern section I could legally get to.  I soaked up some rustic Evergreen treasures then saw this row of cobble stone.

CAM11651It feels like trail markers hikers make to let you know you’re headed in the right direction.  When I found this kind of cobble stone along Keaton Loop, I knew it was roadway markers.  This was something.  I wasn’t sure this was Fowler’s original roadway, though.  It’s not lining up with my understanding of the historic maps I’ve found.

CAM11670I found it again on Yerba Buena Road.  Nothing creates perpendicular intersections up here in old Evergreen.  What am I seeing?   Every time I see this kind of rock, I know something is going on.  Just before I turned right and westward looking for Fowler Road again, I looked left and bang.

P1320018This water station was built out prior to 1956, and improved in 2000.  It controls flooding in Fowler Creek.  Fowler Creek now trickles in the winter but the homes are safe and the groundwater is saved for less than rainy days.  This is at the intersection of Altia Avenue and Yerba Buena Road.  This road looks like old Silver Creek Road, and would’ve been paved around the same time, being the same age.  This is a little better maintained and a little less traveled as a City of San Jose Water Station.   I think the stones were rolled over when the ranches turned into farms before they turned into home development.  This undeveloped area shows us what it used to look like.  That straight section of marker and present day Fowler Road is possibly the boundary of M. P. Ramus and Kellihore’s ranches in 1899.

CAM11678CAM11690So, I met up with Fowler Road at Chaboya Middle School and the marker continued.  Heading West, the Cobble Stone reoccurred at Fowler Creek Park.  Makes sense.  Evergreen used Cobble Stone to protect from flooding.  Fowler Creek would be dammed up by cobble stone in several sections.  Today, Fowler Creek only trickles in the rainy season.  That makes sense, too, because the Creek is captured by a water tower at its most eastern and uphill point.

CAM11692And then I started feeling silly because I’m excited about rocks.  I followed it all the way to Ruby Avenue and Cortona Drive, once Fowler Road.  So, what part of Cortona is old Fowler Road?

Let me get nerdy for a second, find north on each map and scale them.  There.  So, what happened?

fowler road san jose - Google Search

Maybe a little clearer still, with the paths traced on one map….

scan0167-1Fowler Road’s path was straightened through the early 1900’s then altered by the schools built to service this growing Community.  Evergreen School would have a horse tie up instead of a parking lot for a long time.  The District Office was originally located there along with the school but as time went on, a larger school was needed and the office moved.  Many District services still operate out of this office, though.  Matsumoto Elementary School was also built on the Fowler Road path.  When people ask me about Chaboya on Fowler Road, they mean built on top of Fowler Road itself.  They were more correct than I ever realized.  The cobble stone I observed was in the Yerba Buena Road portion of one time Fowler Road.  The changes that occurred over time were fairly straight forward and made the road more useable.  It’s cobble stone roots are still showing on both Cortona Drive and Fowler Road today.

 

 

Cadwallader Avenue Bridge

IMG_0007signpostPat Loomis once wrote about Cadwallader Avenue’s driving bridge over Thompson Creek that had been washed away in a flood in January 1893 in her series of Sign Posts published in the San Jose News Newspaper in the 1970’s.  Today, we all remember the walking paths connecting these neighborhoods.  We rode our bikes over wooden planks and metal rails with lush creek beds beneath us as children.  I went poking around in the old Dry Creek looking for remnants of the Cadwallader Avenue bridge because I’d been there recently researching San Felipe Road with Judge Jerry Kettmann.  Maybe he assumed I knew about the bridge, but I couldn’t envision a bridge in this “S” curved portion of Dry Creek.

P1310185 (2)The intersection here at Cadwallader Avenue and San Felipe Road is really ground zero for Evergreen.  This was downtown Evergreen.  The first residents’ homes still stand near ground zero.  Keaton Loop, cuddled up next to Thompson Creek, was once part of San Felipe Road. Cadwallader Avenue, however, once met San Felipe Road before 1893.  Here, in the map to the right, you can see the “C” of Cadwallader on top of San Felipe Road as it crosses Dry Creek, known as Thompson Creek today.

Here, the Women’s Relief Corps, Evergreen School house and Evergreen’s first dense home development grew off Cadwallader Aveunue.  Mr. Cadwallader is fascinating as well.  Though he never would call Evergreen home, he was certainly generous towards the Community of Evergreen.  Cadwallader Avenue’s lost bridge was a new revelation along the research.  It’s neat now when I learn brand new things about Evergreen.  This Cadwallader Community seems so secreted away when it used to be at the heart of everything.  It’s certainly the second smallest parcels on the map above, a precursor to what Evergreen would eventually become.

IMG_0021Here, I found deer frolicking.  I found sun ripened wild berries.  I found really old trees.  I found the end of Fowler Creek here now under San Felipe Road and graffiti.  There is a foot bridge now.  This new bridge is the straightest line down the Avenue itself.  Today’s foot crossing is certainly very permanent and wide, but a direct line down which didn’t feel true to my materials.  I wouldn’t be too sure that’s all it was or created from what was left of the old crossing.

IMG_0018These sand bags would have been from any number of floods through the 1900’s.  Sadly, I wouldn’t expect sandbags or burlap to stand up to 120 years of moisture, deterioration, rainfall and overflow.  I could be wrong, though.  These would’ve had to be treated with some sort of plastic to have survived this long.   These bags protect the creek’s fragile lining at this pipe’s opening.  Over saturation would result in things beginning to slip into the creek, like the old bridge did.  This area was prone to flooding with a huge events as recent as 1969.  I do however see lots of rock, thanks to all the unsightly graffiti highlighting them.

IMG_0013This large, metal pole is so random, and literally in the middle of the way creeks crossing.  Its placement is so odd that this must be evidence of some sort.  But what?  Also, observe all the rock around it.  That’s weird too.  It caught my eye as we were taking cute photos of me gathering research.  I took these in street clothes on a return visit because I just couldn’t stop thinking about this pole sticking out in the middle of the creek bed and that driving bridge.

P1100123 (2)1850 - bridgeCome to think of it, I was jumping over rocks taking those pictures that day; so much so, I forwent the heels on rocks concept because it was unsafe.    It felt like Cottle’s Cobble Stone all over again, starring me right in the face.  This pole would support a cobble stone bridge like the one my imagination conjured up.  Cadwallader Avenue began with a slight bend, when today’s Cadwallader Avenue crossing is flush with the avenue’s direction, as it reaches Keaton Loop.    What would convince me absolutely that this was the collapsed bridge?  Another support pole or more cobble stone would prove it to me.

IMG_0020Done and done.

Sadly, the second pole I found also epitomizes the great need for the Evergreen Mural Walk.  The general public doesn’t know the history of Evergreen and therefore doesn’t respect the land.  It’s so sad to see the vandalism and destruction on school campuses and private properly.  It’s a dang shame, but okay.  Second pole, in the right place to support the San Felipe Road side of the bridge.  Check.

IMG_0015Then as I was leaving, I stopped to admire some giant hundreds year old oaks and enormous 150+ year old eucalyptus trees when I noticed this congregation of rocks.  This would’ve outlined San Felipe Road, now Keaton Loop, and protect horses and vehicles from running too close to the creeks’ edge, which often flooded in the early days.  This cobble stone also though lines portions of San Felipe Road in from of L. C. Smith’s historic residence and several Cadwallader Avenue properties in the same pattern.  This was a connected network of well traveled streets in the heart of Evergreen as one point.  This bridge’s significance was bringing South Silver Creek to Downtown Evergreen and further connecting it with Norwood neighborhood and San Felipe Valley.  Nearby Fowler Road would’ve also been a popular turn for the interior of Evergreen, as would Quimby Road.

IMG_0022This cobble stone street lining would end where a pump station currently sits, accommodating the flows of the creeks so as not to flood Evergreen.  It is my belief this structure, not the current foot path from today’s Cadwallader Avenue, takes advantage of the previous Cadwallader Avenue bridge’s construction.  Or at least near the opening of the bridge on the southeast corner of the three way crossing with San Felipe Road.

Jerry Kettmann would explain to me that patrons of his uncle’s bar on San Felipe Road would kiss under the bridge.  That makes a lot more sense if the bridge in within view and reach of the watering hole.  Down in the creek bed would’ve been a perfect place to hideaway and canoodle.

The sandbags I found are probably a precaution from the bridge having been swept away and ongoing flooding.  Cobble Stone is definitely a thing in Evergreen, then and now.  It’s too heavy to really haul away and its so quaint.  Why bother?  I am so glad I took a second look at this crossing.  It was really starting to bother me.

 

 

Cottle’s Cobble Stone

P1310192The Cottles were long time residents of Evergreen who lived in Silver Creek, creek adjacent along Dove Hill.  You can see them here, O. B. Cottle, directly on Silver Creek Road on the left side of this map.   Trusted historian, long time resident and valued Community member, Colleen Cortese, told me that I’d like pieces of Orval Cottle’s Cobble Stone fences along Silver Creek Road.  Try to say that 5 times past.  Cottles Cobble Stone, Cottles Cobble Stone…. I followed that lead and looked where she told me.

CAM11541In fact, I followed that path specifically along Silver Creek, the creek, that continues once the road ends.  This is a lovely little hike to commune with nature in a hurry.  I had my computer packed with historic maps with me, trying to feel my way across the land and features.  The Cottles lived around here somewhere.  This beginning to the path would’ve been the first place the road and creek crossed. Where this meets Yerba Buena Road in another crossing of the creek as Silver Creek Road once led up the hillside.   But… following the road didn’t do much for my hypothesis.

CAM11535Along my hike to the West of the trail, I found two giant stones out in the open that I could align visually to be fence, but no visible guts of a stone wall like I’d suspect.  I personally had zero desire to find out if there were rattle snakes certainly sunning on this gorgeous summer day.  This path was old Silver Creek Road that connected to San Felipe Road some time ago, so it could’ve been the most Southern point of the Cottle Ranch.

CAM11549CAM11556I veered for a hike up to the base of the electrical towers here, which appears to be a dog friendly path into Silver Creek.  Well, I found more giant stones like before, but there at the edge of the plateau was a great cobble stone barrier left in tact.  At the high elevation, I could see it all over the place.  I knew I had found it.

CAM11562I found my way back to my car and saw a pile of the same stones at the base of the pond there, across from Silver Creek Linear Park, as I was leaving.  I’ve been driving past here looking for Cottle’s Cobble stone a couple times and haven’t found it.  That’s what this was the whole time.  Not a decorative element by the home development company, but a genuine element.  Rusted barbed wire along the path would’ve been the genuine article too.  So I had to turn left off of Silver Creek Road and see if I could find anymore more of the cobble stone.


CAM11566CAM11564Jackpot.  In fact, totally cobble stone wall formations left behind in construction.  It’s apparent all over the place.  It was probably expensive to remove but considered quite charming.  This area, I suspect, was repurposed for the roadway here to the right.  This cobble stone barrier is relic of a forgotten time.  It’s beauty, however, never overlooked.

5985404833_eb2e904b36_bThe Cottles were married in Wisconsin in 1842 and came West to Nevada County in 1850, where he entered the mining boom.  Mr. Cottle did a little bouncing around as a kid.  In 1854, the couple relocated the family to Evergreen.  Orval had a hard time buying his property in Evergreen, Silver Creek adjacent specifically, and rumored to have paid for the same land 3 different times.

Thought the map above states 254 acres on Silver Creek Road, a contemporary 1860’s source describes the Cottle Estate as “Located seven miles south-east of San Jose, where the valley floor gives wasy to the low foothills of the Mt. Hamilton Range, was the Cottle Farm of some 320 acres.The little stream known as Silver Creek meandered through the Cottle acres at the foot of the hills and then some distance southward left the foothil area and ran through the valley lands.The home buildings of the Cottle Farm were located on the edge of the valley floor, as it broke into the wider expanse downward some ten or fifteen feet to the shallow bank of the creek.”

CAM11534Children playing with their neighbors and cousins, rolling rocks down the hill would knock out a portion of the stone wall.  That could be the reason these rocks have no noticeable debris between the giant rocks.  It’s actually something I thought about looking at the landscape.  The Cottles’ only daughter would end up marrying the neighbor boy, Frank McCray, who was present in the rocking and rolling that broke the cobble stone wall.

6254418671_24064aa570The Cottle Family cultivated orchards, vineyards, cattle, chicken and various other harvests.  They would have taken full advantage of Silver Creek running through their yard, using the natural irrigation and spring nearby.  It’s why the area is so grassy.  It was cleared for farming over a hundred years ago.  This is Mr. and Mrs. Cottle on their 50th wedding anniversary.  They were very well liked and their grandkids were born in Evergreen as well.