Tag Archives: agriculture

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.

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

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Evergreen – A Vacation Destination?

1876 MapPart of the joy in this project has been trying to imagine Evergreen of yesteryear.  How I’ve initially ingested the information is through the visuals which develop throughout time.  The Pueblo de San Jose was established in 1777 as the first secular settlement in California’s infancy.  Small towns and communities would grow up around the city in order to feed and sustain it.  Evergreen was certainly one of these communities, with its first recorded landowners being the Chaboyas in 1821.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.06.18 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-02 at 5.59.57 PMThe Chaboyas were cattle ranchers and orchardists.  This means much of the area was untouched in years that the cattle didn’t graze across certain acres.  Grazing in general is a natural grass mowing.  The land itself was scenic, beautiful hillsides drenched in trees and creeks in the 1800’s.  It was described at 8 miles outside of the Pueblo.

IMG_4183The relationship early landowners had with Evergreen into the 1850’s was very different than what we think of it today.  If you were a wealthy farmer, you had a house Downtown – or rather in the City of San Jose – and a vacation or second home in the town of Evergreen.  The Pueblo’s plots were close together and very similar to how it looks and feels today.  Victorian homes can be traced back to their original owners or builders.  The City spread from an epicenter at First Street and Santa Clara Street, being named after the Mission of Santa Clara founded in 1776.

1997300231This was certainly true of the Tullys, Quimbys, and Cadwalladers.  Shown here are the super trendy Tullys, Rose and John.  The Pelliers would own downtown then purchase one of Evergreen’s largest ranches off Quimby Road and Norwood Avenue.  Wealthy landowners would have large homes in Evergreen and a pueblo plot, or small lot, in the City.  John J. Montgomery would come to fly from Evergreen’s pastoral hillsides while teaching at Santa Clara University.  This was a several hour ride on horseback to the town Evergreen in the day, with limited roadways and no highways, at the time.

a 1945 - ApricotsPeople from elsewhere would travel to Evergreen for a slower paced lifestyle, as well as to tend their lucrative farms.  Farmhands would stay on site and the owners would travel back and forth to their downtown stores and homes.  Evergreen’s farming community and nature would also bring tourism to a young Evergreen Village.  If you were visiting San Jose, you had to make the drive.

CAM10475Quick history lesson, Gutenberg’s printing press would be invented in 1444 AD.  Throughout the 1800’s the printing press would rapidly improve.  The rotary press would be developed in 1843, while the Chaboyas owned Rancho Yerba Buena.  Off-set printing would come around in 1875, when the town of Evergreen was a farming haven.  Hot metal typsetting would be invented in 1884, around the time James Lick Observatory was built and William Wehner’s Mansion was constructed.  Books and publications could be created and distributed much quicker and for less.

197812780Evergreen being popularized by books and newspapers, hiking groups would come to experience eucalyptus trees imported from Australia, giant oaks, scenic hillsides and natural creek life.  Evergreen would come to light through its fruit exports and famed residents.

images7Truth is beyond the suburban developments in Evergreen, there are still vacation spots with stunning vistas and hiking destinations.  Evergreen is still at the City’s edge and full of rural beauties, if you know where to look.

P1300662Also, there are still wealthy families who consider Evergreen their vacation destination.  These large ranches end up being a link to the past traditions of their families and our Evergreen.

 

Wehner Mansion – a house by many names

Sadly, lomasazulesthere are only a few original structures left from Evergreen’s early days.  There aren’t Victorian homes standing like there are downtown.  The old timers know the old town by the hundreds year old oak trees that marked their old homes.  These relics from the 1800’s are obscured by trees and fences for the most part.  This one is tucked back into the hills of the Villages Retirement Community, empty and unused.  The absence of warmth to this one time brimming mansion is one of the sadder things I witness in Evergreen.  Personally, I would love to it restored in time for my own wedding.  This is the Wehner Mansion, but over time, it’s had many names.

Heritage Room azules.pdfThe initial 718 acre property would be purchased in 1887 for $20,000 from Mr. McCarthy and construction would begin the following year.  Built by German immigrant, William Wehner, it was originally named the Villa Lomas Azules or Blue Hills Estate for its stunning color.  It is only fitting that Wehner’s house be colorful.  William Wehner (1853-1916), after coming to the United States from Hanover, Germany in the 1850’s, would be a famous Chicago painter, painting large scale panoramic paintings commemorating the Civil War.  His Evergreen home would became a winery as Wehner planted 175 acres of vineyards within a couple years.  William Wehner’s White Wines were award winning in 1888 and into the 1890’s.  Wehner would come to own and plant over 3000 acres of vineyards.

5985327859_3f314741f2_bThe Blue Estate or Villa Lomas Azules was a 3-story, Queen Anne style home built into the hillside.  The construction on the mansion was finally complete in 1891.  It was built by famous Chicago skyscraper builders from the firm of Burham and Root, designed by Richard Burham.  It would be the only home the firm ever designed.  The Mansion’s main architectural feature was its archway entrance for carriages along the bottom floor, but I love all the rounded features.  The Mansion also has a full basement, which later became wine storage.  The Blue Estate had an outdoor kitchen and a garden house, as well as a winery added in 1908.

P1310186 (2)In 1915, Wehner would sell the winery and vineyard portion of the estate to Albert Haentze.  The two men had a lot in common.  Haentze (1896-1947) was another German immigrant vintner from Chicago.  His main occupation before coming to California was a mortgage broker.  Haentze came to Evergreen and bought Wehner’s vineyard.  Mr. Albert Haentze would become the leader of the Santa Clara Valley Grape Growers Association until Prohibition.  Haentze renamed the winery Rancho Villa Vista.  William Wehner sold his vineyards in the knick of time.  Prohibition closed down the Evergreen wineries in 1918 and Wehner passed away only a year later.  The Santa Clara Valley Grape Growers would then consider canning grapes and crushing grapes for juices and syrup.

housevin-villagesIn 1933, Italian born, Benjamino Cribari (1859-1942) would purchase the first portion of the Villa Lomas Azules.   With Prohibition having been lifted, the Italian immigrant would raise his vineyards for altar and traditional table wines.  In 1940, the Cribari family would come to own the rest of the property.  It would then be known as the Cribari Mansion.

cribari1Benjamino Cribari, born in the Calabria, Italy, would come to the United States at the age of 29.  With his wife and two small kids in Italy, Benjamino would work on the railroad for a couple years before returning home to his family.  In 1902, the young Cribari family would relocate to Colorado and then California, where they bought 40 acres of land east of Morgan Hill.  At first, Benjamino, a farmer, would only sell wines to his friends and family before he needed to acquire more land to compete with his growing demand for Italian style wines.

The Cribari Wineries would move operations back to Morgan Hill in 1959.  The Blue Estate’s future became unclear.

P1310098In the meantime, the Mirassou Family vintners would come to lease the property.  They would rent the independent winery for winemaking and the full basement for storage.  The oldest winemaking family in America would use the historic facilities until its historic operations also had to relocate in the 1980’s.

P1320410The Evergreen wineries were being pushed out by development and a growing suburb.  Several developers purchased the property before the Villages were finally built around it.  The Historic value of the Victorian mansion is recognized by the condition of the home is quite questionable.  There’s much discussion about preserving the historic home, but the fruits of those discussions are yet to ripen.  It’s a beautiful piece of Evergreen’s history and someday, we’ll see the Blue Estate shine again.

Here’s our artwork which features the Wehner Mansion.

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Redundant Theme – Evergreen’s Vineyards

P1310197There are some motifs which reoccur throughout the Evergreen Mural Walk artwork.  Let’s be transparent about what they are because these themes will eventually amount to be the identity of the Evergreen Community in different stages of its history.  A common denominator which reoccurs several times within the artwork is Evergreen’s agricultural prides.  One of those were our vineyards and its grapes.

Interior-FirstGeneration-PierrePellierLouis%20Pellier%20from%20HSJ(1)California would have its own wild grape before immigrants began colonizing.  The California Missions would grow grapes by the Spanish, but not fancy ones.  The Pellier family from Evergreen would bring European grape varietals over from their Native France in the 1850’s and ignite the California Wine Industry.

Charles C. Smith, F.J. Smith Store and Residence, Adam Herman,Evergreen was a town that began alongside the California Wine Industry.  One of the first businesses in Evergreen would be opened by town founder, Francis J. Smith.  The Smith Winery off of San Felipe Road at the epicenter of Evergreen. openeing next door to the family’s general store.  I will do some further research whether or not this is the same structure the beauty salon opened in at the same location today.

P1320569 The Kettmann clan would boast about their hundreds of acres vineyards, even keeping them planted even through Prohibition when many farmers abandoned them.  The Kettmann family profited off of the sales made for illegal winemaking operations.

Heritage Room azules.pdfWilliam Wehner, a German painter coming to California by way of Chicago, would who come to Evergreen and build the Wehner Mansion or Villa Lomas Azules in 1891 by an influential skyscraper architect.  From the Mansion built for winemaking, Wehner would grow award winning white varieties of wine.  The Villa Lomas Azules, or Blue Hills Estate, would house winery operations for almost 75 years in Evergreen.

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1876 MapDr. C. C. Babb, Mayor John A. Quinby (Quimby), and farmer John Avena would also be noted as having vineyards in the Village of Evergreen in the early 1900’s.  I am fairly certain smaller vineyards would have existed throughout Evergreen for personal use.  Homesteads had to be self-sufficient as possible in those days.  These were what was found in Business Directories until 1902.

05s1cyP1310071The Pellier brothers plants would live on, but their French winemaking tradition would be passed down as well.  Henrietta Pellier, daughter of Pierre, would marry Mr. Mirassou and the couple began the Mirassou Winemaking Family still being cultivated in Evergreen today.  After Mirassou’s passing, her new husband would also continue to make wine in Evergreen.

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EastSideFruitGrowers-smThe East-side Fruit Growers Association would assist East San Jose and Evergreen farmers negotiate with Packing Companies.  Nearby Barron-Gray would need grapes for their first-to-market Fruit Cocktail.  Large winemaking operations would outsource certain varieties which they themselves couldn’t grow.  Grapes are fickle fruit.  They liked the climate and hillsides of Evergreen.  This East-side trade association would eventually be goggled up by the California Prune and Apricot Growers Association, which would become SunKist Fruit.

cribari1housevin-villagesAn Italian immigrant, Benjamino Cribari, would come to own the famed Wehner Mansion in 1933, then known as the Cribari Mansion, and plant vineyards up the steps of the Evergreen foothills and extended the winery’s property in 1940.  The Cribari’s family specialty would be table and altar wines.  Benjamino’s children and grandchildren would grow to cultivate the Evergreen vineyards into the 1970’s.  Silver Creek Winery is still operated by the Cribari family today.

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lomasazulesmenu2-9631Later generations of the Mirassou family vintners would lease the basement of the Cribari Mansion for wine storage.  The Wehner/Azul Lomas Villa/Cribari Mansion is now located inside the Villages Retirement Community nestled into Evergreen hills.  Today, the mansion is a historic landmark but needs a little love.

CAM09455P1310098The Mirassou Wine Family would be the oldest winemaking family in California.  Mirassou Winery today continues to be a landmark on Aborn Road.  The fourth generation would take over the wine operations in 1966.  The wine operations would move, due to suburban development and depletion of soil nutrients.  That having been said, this is an ungoing love affair for the Mirassou family who continue to make wine and call Evergreen home.

Vineyards in Evergreen may be scarce today, but we owe credit to the grapevines of Evergreen’s glory days.  Here’s the artwork conceived with our Evergreen vineyards in mind.

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Through the grapevine – Pellier Contributions

1876 MapMy grandmother used to own a home off Norwood Avenue and have volunteer grapevines charging up through her hillside backyard.  Little did she know, my grandmother’s house was a part of the Pellier estate, one of the largest in early Evergreen.

Louis%20Pellier%20from%20HSJ(1)The Pellier Brothers would eventually come to call Evergreen home in the late 1850’s.  Before that, the Pelliers would live in the Pueblo of San Jose as California became a State and as San Jose became its Capitol in the early 1850’s.  Luis Pellier would get creative with his brother Pierre while gold panning in 1848, changing San Jose and California forever once again.

Interior-FirstGeneration-PierrePellierBy bringing over their cions , seeds, clippings and plantings from their Native Country of France, Luis, Pierre and Jean Pellier would set fire to the huge California Fruit Industry.  Basically, there was no industry before that, as Mission lands and their predictable orchards were left unattended and were being reclaimed by wilderness.  The California Missions were secularized by Mexico in 1833.  By the time the Pelliers came to California, the Missions weren’t even holding Catholic Mass.

In fact, Evergreen before the Pellier journeys would’ve been cattle grazing land.  After the Pellier journeys, Santa Clara Valley would become known as the Valley of Heart’s Delights.

MissSJLoWhat was grown in the Spanish Period at the Franciscan Missions in California from 1769-1821?  I’m so glad you asked.  The indigenous native peoples, priests and monks grew “mission grapes”, apples, lemons and oranges, beans, veggies and olives for the most part.  Olive Oil would be a source of pride for the Missions.  The “Mission Grape” of the Spanish colonists was a Vitus vinifera, a Spanish variety that was black and blue in color.  The clippings would’ve been brought over sea with Cortez’s colonization of Mexico or New Spain.  Only problem was less than 1000 acres of vineyards would be cultivated in California until the 1850’s.  These plants were a dying off as people left the Missions.  The Mission Grape would have been made into wine for Sacraments.  The Spanish may have brought apricots as well, originating in Turkey.  There was an indigenous plum tree present in California.  A wild grape, too, would be indigenous.  Mission San Jose would be one of the biggest producers, but would’ve been closed for several years by the time the Pelliers set sail.

booksOE4IRI16s-l225What did the Pellier brothers from France with help from the Delmas brothers bring to the Port of Alviso and to Santa Clara County?  Luis and Pierre Pellier would pull into port and sell peach, pear, plum, cherry, apple and prune cions off their boat in Alviso in the 1850’s.  Certainly his most famous contribution was the Angen ‘D Petit Prune, but the Valley of Heart Delight would begin with these trips to France and these cions.  With the driving force of the Pelliers’ new varietals, the Fruit Industry would soon provide thousands of jobs, would drive people to come to the Santa Clara Valley and would bring spark the Fruit Canning business.  We, in California, still feel the benefit of their actions today.

books1The French Prune brought to California in 1854 was considered perfect for drying and dipping.  After it was grafted on to a California plum tree, it became an instant success.  Pellier raised orchards of prunes and a nursery famed in downtown San Jose.  The Angen ‘D Petit Prune was immediately adopted by other Santa Clara Valley’s orchardists.  This would become Santa Clara County’s identity to the rest of the United States through the 1950’s when Silicon Valley bumped it.  The prune’s attributes, complimentary for drying and dipping, would make them a popular commercial export.

10688125_10153388158008316_4870909524103337438_oThe Prune Orchards would quickly spread all over Santa Clara County, the Valley of Heart’s Delight, and then all over California.  The French Prune ignited the whole California Fruit Industry, as only dried fruits could be exported.  The Mexican Government had a hard time settling California.  California through the Mexican Period (1821-1848) wouldn’t be well-known for its awesome agriculture, despite the rich soil noted by the Spanish Missionaries.  Evergreen was a grazing land.  The Missions closing meant the crops became scarce.  Pellier’s strategy was inspired by the high price of fruit.

1810A dollar gets you much less today, so you will naturally need more dollars to obtain the same product over 100 years ago.  Here’s an exception to that rule.  Before Luis and Pierre Pellier’s travels, an apple would cost over a dollar.  Today, $2.00 would get you a pound or several apples.  The demand was so high for apples and produce, most people couldn’t afford them.  You could forget about apple pie.  That would’ve cost you over $20.00 in apples alone in 1850’s California.  If you were in California in the 1850’s, you were a pioneer, gold panning and roughing it.  Their business idea was brilliant.  I wonder if they knew about the Manifest Destiny campaign that would send thousands of newcomers to California in a few short years.

pl_pellier_city_gardens_crhl434Luis Pellier would open “City Gardens” and sell his cions and young trees to the rest of Santa Clara County’s farmers in 1850.  This was the epicenter of the Valley of Heart’s Delight, creating a path to the American Dream for farmers coming to California.  The Pellier brothers would leave their popular nursery and orchards in downtown San Jose, where Pellier Park is today, and move to Evergreen to plant acres of vineyards in later 1850’s.

In 1858, Luis Pellier, now Evergreen resident, would present nine varieties of foreign grapes at the national trade show, being described as “unequalled to any other of the same variety”.  Luis Pellier’s introduction of new grapes would almost single handedly create the California Wine Industry as well.  Grafted on to Mission vines and indigenous vines, these grapes is really well in Evergreen.  When wine was made and the word spread, the Pelliers struck gold again.

Grapes-Bunches-Illustration jpgThe Pellier brothers are originally from the Bordeaux region of France, well-known for its Wine Industry.  The Pellier boys would’ve grown up cultivating their parents’ vineyards and orchards in France.  Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec would’ve been easily found in that region of France.  Folle Blanche, the ultimate brandy making grape, has been contributed to Luis Pellier.  A Black Burgundy grape, another brandy grape, would also be brought to California by Pellier.  A Mourvedre vine, similar to a Mission Grape but a French strain, has also been drawn back to Pellier.  These would become popular in Zinfandel vineyards.  Chasselas Fontainebleau,  French Colombar and Madelaine are green grapes for white wines that have also been contributed to the Pellier brothers trips to France.

pinotMirassouWinerylogoEven though the Pellier brothers would become famous for their perfect prune trees, descendants of the Pelliers would be boastful of its Pinot Noir grapes and wines.  These certainly would’ve been brought back from France in the 1850’s by their forefathers.  Pellier descendants, the Mirassou family, have called Evergreen home for over 150 years.  Mirassou Winery operated off of Aborn Road for 100 years and continues to be a landmark in Evergreen.  Today, the Mirassou Winemaking Family continues to be the oldest Wine Family in California and continue to call Evergreen home.

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12314282_198416020500512_5584157587879954674_oBefore this point, varieties of wine could only be found in Europe, mainly in France and Spain, and imported into the United States.  California wasn’t well settled, but that would change fairly rapidly.  Again, Missions harvested Mission Grapes for altar wines and brandy, but there wasn’t much more out there.  What was out there was going away with the Missions closing.  With the Gold Rush and Manifest Destiny in full affect, the Pelliers would be at the right place at the right time to make something amazing happen.  California is the second capitol of wine today.  It would difficult to envision Napa Valley today without its vineyards.  80% of these vines can be traced back to that Alviso Port.  California’s Fruit Industry was initiated by Pellier’s cions.  Luis Pellier is acknowledged as one of the founding fathers of San Jose.  Here’s the artwork specific to the Pellier Family past and its present.

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Generations of the Kettmann Clan

P1320560Along the research for this Evergreen project, I have met the most fantastic people.  If this guy needed a new best friend, I would be first in line.  I discussed with Honorable Judge Gerhard J. Kettmann (Jerry) the four generations of his family who blossomed in Evergreen and continue to call Evergreen home today.  He’s the ultimate expert, having written a book and working on another about their family history.  What is extraordinary about the Kettmann family, making it a crucial piece of our mural series, is their witness to almost 150 years of Evergreen’s development.  We will start by discussing how the Kettmann’s came to America.  The United States is a country of immigrants.  We would all come here from somewhere else.  I think that’s the first thing that bonds all of us Evergreen residents together.

Gold Rush - Public DomainJohan Hermann Gerhard Kettmann (George) was the youngest of 8 siblings, born in 1827 in Kettenkamp, Germany.  His someday wife would be another German immigrant growing up only 8 miles away in Germany.  Gerhard Kettmann would leave his Native Country of Germany at the age of 22 and arrive in the Port of New Orleans in 1849.  Gerhard Kettmann would travel from Louisiana through Panama to come to Sutter County, California in 1853 and pan for gold.  With a little luck along the Yuba River and Feather River, George would come to purchase 160 acres of land in Sutter County.

140) George KettmannGeorge Kettmann would marry Bernadina Torbrecke in Marysville, California, but there’s a very cute folkloric story to this pairing.  Dina was first cousin of the Krehe Family, who would also come to live in Evergreen.  Henry and Bernard Krehe would invite their unmarried family members from Germany to come to the United States.  George Kettmann, being close friends with the Krehes, got to make his pick first and chose Bernadina.

6254956674_f8ffe7d622Whether that story was true or not, the German couple was married in Marysville, California in January of 1858.  George and Bernadina Kettmann would have eleven children.  The Kettmann clan would begin grow in Sutter County on the acreage along the Feather River, operating a general store known as “Five Mile House”.  In addition to the store along the highway, George also would raise a herd of sheep and cattle on his 160 acres before moving the whole herd, family and all, to the Santa Clara County.

P1320570George Kettmann showed interest in Santa Clara County in the 1850’s, after traveling their with a family member.  With the new variety of fruit being introduced to the agricultural field stimulated by Luis and Pierre Pellier, Kettmann made his move to Evergreen, then a tiny farming town.  George Kettmann would purchased a portion of Rancho Yerba Buena in 1867 near downtown Evergreen along Evergreen Road.  In fact, this first Evergreen parcel purchased by the Kettmanns belonged to the Chaboya Family’s attorney, William Matthews, and had been paid land in order to settle those legal fees.

1876 MapThis initial parcel was a perfect 150 acre rectangle with the exception of the land that had been donated to the Evergreen Elementary School.  Evergreen’s schoolhouse would be where the shopping center with the Valero and Wells Fargo is today.  The Evergreen Elementary School would be located here until 1892, when it moved a little down San Felipe Road.  Kettmann Road at Aborn Road is very near this school site, but it would’ve been on the other side of Thompson Creek, then Dry Creek.  Let it be known though that even the attorney didn’t donate this land.  That carried over on the Title from the previous owner, Mr. Cadwallader.

P1320569The Kettmann family didn’t stop with that first purchase of 147.7 acres in downtown Evergreen.  Through an interesting purchase and exchange of land with fellow German immigrants, the Hassler family, the Kettmanns obtained another 103.10 acres in 1875.  The Hasslers and Kettmanns separated the properties along the Touchard Line, which falls on part of present day Neiman Boulevard.   Modern day Kettmann Road, where the Evergreen Library Branch is located on Aborn Road, runs between these two land purchases.  As Evergreen folklore would have it, this acquisition was the only purchase Antonio Chaboya’s family actually profited off of after their debts were settled trying to evict their new neighbors.  In 1881, one of George Kettmann’s sons would become an Evergreen landowner as well.

P1320549The eldest of eleven siblings, Clemens Andrew Kettmann was born on the Marysville ranch in 1858, less than a year after the couple wed.  Clemens would’ve made the journey with his father, George, the large sheep herd and fellow cowboys to Evergreen in 1868.  Clemens Kettmann was the only son to make the journey at 9 years old.  Young Clem only had sisters at that point.  The trek from Marysville with the herd must’ve taken over a month on horseback.  The rest of the family would come in 1869, after Dina gave birth to another sister.  From the Evergreen homestead, the clan would continue to raise livestock but also incorporate fruit, vegetables and grain into their business strategy.

P1320566Homestead Laws would allow families to obtain a certain portion of land from the government after cultivating it for 5 years.  The Kettmann Family as a group diversified this ranching strategy in the heart of Evergreen and accentuated their grazing potential with homestead purchases along the back side of Mt. Hamilton Ranch.  These adjoining Mt. Hamilton homesteads weren’t fantastic for farming, but it could and would be done with altered harvesting equipment.  The Kettman clan had so many acres in the Mt. Diablo Mountain Range, this area would become known as “Kettmann Range”.  Lamb and sheep would be a rarity in Evergreen and San Jose at this time.  Cattle ranching would’ve been totally ordinary and generally what had been grazing throughout Evergreen for some 50 years beforehand.  The Kettmann clan held on to their German heritage by passing on this tradition.

P1310192Clemens Kettmann would come to purchase the adjacent parcel to his father’s in 1881, then 23 years old, from Louis Kampfen, another German farmer, who obtained his portion after the Hasslers from the previous Hassler/Kettmann deal.  This was 80.18 acres large, literally being the family’s “80 acres”.  Kettmann’s friends and cousins, the Krehe Family, would also move in nearby.  There was quite the hotspot of German American culture in early Evergreen, with the Smith’s and Stephens Families nearby.

P1320551Clemens A. Kettmann would marry a German-American lady, Mary Vollmer, in 1890 at St. Joseph’s Basilica in downtown San Jose.  Mary wore an apricot colored dress, how fitting.  Clem Kettmann and Mary Vollmer would have seven kids on their Evergreen homestead.  This labor force, along with his younger brothers at his father’s homestead next door, would help Clem Kettmann cultivate the land.

P1320554Having a big family in the 19th century was a big deal.  You needed help working on the farm.  In fact, having eleven children wouldn’t be enough to operate ranches as large as these.  The Kettmanns would employ help in the house and on the farm.  The children would start picking fruit between school breaks and into adulthood would sew sacks and become a part of the traveling crew harvesting crops all over Evergreen.  Harvests were true team efforts.  A barter system would be reached for labor and harvesting.  Horses were in high demand for plowing and the like.  Labor was generally $2.00 a day for a horse and a man.  This was a typical scene from the Fowler Threshing Syndicate, harvesting grain.  Evergreen was a teambuilding utopia back in the day.  Strength in numbers seemed to be a focus.

P1320557Generations of the Kettmann clan would grow up in Evergreen alongside the Industrial Revolution.  George Kettmann would’ve farmed just like he had learned to in his Native Germany, very much by hand.  The Farming Industry during this time would transition from horse and plow, pitchforks, sickle and scythe to tractors, threshing machines and haypresses.  George’s youngest son, Andrew Kettmann, would develop tools for apricot harvesting.  Clem’s children, too, would’ve hand first on experience transitioning from horse pulled threshing crews to tractor or truck pulled rig.  The Kettmann clan would continuously learn to adapt their farming techniques as the technology improved.  In the 1920’s, Clem’s son, Julius, would open a garage to help fix machines in downtown San Jose after adapting and fixing machinery on the family homestead.  This legacy can be seen as descendants now operate the Kettmann Machining, Inc. in San Jose.

Apricots jpgGeorge and Clem would both plant orchards on their properties.  Clemens Kettmann would plant several acres of apricots with their commercial stock going way up.  Mixing his varieties of apricot, Clem created a sweet apricot which was also large and ripened evenly.  Clem’s sloped property presented irrigation problems for portions of his orchards.  He found the unirrigated crop was sweeter but smaller than the other harvest.  These were his apricots.  He would find the same to be true of his corn crops.  Those that were naturally watered were naturally sweeter.

P1320553The Kettmann families would plant several acres of prunes and cherry orchards along with their apricots.  The clan also had several acres of vineyards also at their Evergreen property.  Threshing crews would cultivate over a hundred acres of grain, oats and alfalfa from the Kettmann farms.  I never thought about it before, but horses take a lot to feed.  If you have horses for plowing, you need acres just to settle your own horses.  The Kettmann family would continue to grow and branch out in Evergreen.  Into the 1900’s their children would take over the roles running the farms and ranches after their education.  Prohibition cause a lot of vintners to pull up their grapevines and retire their wine businesses.  The Kettmanns did not however and made a small fortune continuing to sell grapes for underground wine operations.  Between these ranches and the Kettmann Range, the Evergreen family was sitting pretty.

CAM10101 6238515012_b826539c1b_oThe German American Inventor and all around funny guy, Andrew Kettmann would grow up sewing sacks for grain and maintaining the family farm.  George’s son and Clem’s youngest brother, Andy Kettmann would open downtown Evergreen’s second Saloon along San Felipe Road.  Andrew Kettmann’s Saloon became increasingly popular amongst quicksilver miners through World War I.  This spot would be a hub of culture until 1920 when Prohibition was enforced.  Until then, many tipsy tales were told out of Andy’s Saloon.

P1320562After George’s passing in 1912, his property would be equally divided amongst his eleven children.  The Kettmann Family Ranch would continue to modernize with Clem’s son’s, Louis.  Louis Kettmann would take Clem’s horse powered ranch into the present with the purchase of a tractor built from tank parts.  Large mechanical farming equipment would need to be leased or the old machinery would need to be updated.  The rural Village of Evergreen was rapidly changing through the early 1900’s.  Cars were a blessed invention and roads would be paved, but open space began to dwindle.  That free path to the Kettmann Range through Downtown Evergreen would close up.  Clem would pass in 1943.  The Kettmann family continued to expand, but some would start breaking away from the family business to pursue their own goals.  Farming in Evergreen would become more scarce as more residents starting moving in.  Managing the wasn’t easy business as my interviewee would realize firsthand.

CAM09451In the summer of 1947, Judge Jerry Kettmann, then just known as Jerry, would lease hay land from Grandma Mary (Vollmer) Kettmann.    It was Jerry’s idea to make it rich that summer and buy a convertible to take out coeds from San Jose State.  This same model T, pictured here with Jerry taken over that summer, pooped out in the middle of the road off San Fernando and 4th Street near the University.  Jerry called his cousin to help push the car out of the roadway and into the gas station it pooped out yards away from.  Jerry Kettmann would sell off a nearly paid-off tractor to cover his losses and pay his grandmother back that summer.

George’s great grandson and Clem’s grandson,  Judge Gerhard J. Kettmann, was born in 1926 in Los Gatos but would soon relocate to his father’s Evergreen homestead.  As a boy, Jerry would attend Evergreen Elementary School, then Roosevelt Middle School and San Jose High School.  Kettmann recalls family get togethers with the Chaboya family as a child.   Jerry would throw apricots like snowballs, run through vacant mine shafts and sleep in homemade treehouses in Evergreen.  Judge Kettmann is a huge fan of flying, a fondness he developed on an aircraft carrier in World War II.  Kettmann’s father and grandfather could’ve told him tales of Montgomery’s pioneer flights from their own experience.

After serving in the Navy in World War II, Jerry Kettmann later worked in the railroad as a fireman, at the Baron-Gray Packing Company packing fruit and then at the Post Office downtown before attending SJSU for Aviation Engineering then Business and Economics.  Sadly, young Jerry’s 1947 dream of striking it rich quick would never be realized.

5985901606_458641384egavelThe Honorable Judge Jerry Kettmann was accepted to Stanford Law in 1953 but instead attended UC Berkeley, where he graduated in the upper third of his class.  Judge Kettmann began working as a Trust Attorney for Wells Fargo, but left to pursue trial law with the District Attorney’s Office.  Though Judge Kettmann is partial to Civil Law, he told me about 85% of the cases he saw on the bench were criminal cases.  Judge Kettmann would oversee cases at the height of the Civil Rights movement, even appearing in front of an Angela Davis case.  Rioters would shout things and try to frustrate Judges.  It wouldn’t work on Judge Kettmann, though.  He removed their signs and have them properly tagged by court officials as the defending attorney tried including them as evidence.  Judge Kettmann would find himself arbitrating through the later part of his career.

P1320567Judge Gerhard J. Kettmann would retire from the Law and write from his Evergreen home.  The Kettmann family historian carries a tradition that began about 150 years ago in Evergreen.  Judge Kettmann, though groomed on the farm, managed to keep up with the quickly changing times.  This area of Evergreen, between Kettmann Road and Neiman Boulevard  was developed beginning in the 1960’s.  At 89 years young, Judge Kettmann’s enthusiasm is contagious.  Really, I am so proud of my Evergreen people.  It makes my job so easy when they are great and have great stories to tell!  Here’s the artwork we have worked up for the Kettmann Family.

1877

 

 

Before the Rancho

IMG_0503Our fair Evergreen certainly has seen so many changes since Europeans first came.  Our City, or Pueblo, of San Jose was founded the year after the Revolutionary War, 1777.  Pueblo de San Jose was the first city in “New Spain” and the first non-religious settlement.  Back then, it was Spanish Territory.  In 1822, Mexico would win their independence and Alta California would become Mexican Territory.  Evergreen was Rancho Yerba Buena through the Mexican Period.  In 1848, the Bear Republic would revolt, and Statehood was inevitable in 1850 after Gold was found.  Evergreen would be flooded with European newcomers, looking for the American Dream.  All that having been said, and having been written down, Evergreen was around before the written record.

California was estimated to have had 13,000-15,000 natives before Spanish colonization.  Modern Day Evergreen would be home to Native American several tribes.  Hundreds of campsites would be evident in Silver Creek Valley Country Club alone before its construction in the early 1990’s.  Artifacts would be found over by the Villages and what would’ve been the Blauer Ranch in the 1960’s.  Arrowheads and mortars would be found all over Evergreen.

snjose-06-patwin-earth-lodgesI have been told to be delicate in how I label the Evergreen Native people.  For sure, Ohlone is an appropriate title, but that’s most Natives in Santa Clara Valley.  The larger umbrella is Costanoan, all over the South Bay Area to Monterey.  As this narrows, the labels become less sure without first person confirmation.  An anthropologist might lump them in with the larger Muwekma Ohlone group.  Let’s peek under the smaller umbrella.

snjose-05-Ohlone-indians-dancingTamien or Tamyen were Muwekma and refers to the Native Americans near the Guadalupe River and the Pueblo of San Jose.  They would’ve come to Mission de Santa Clara first.  That’s not our indigenous Evergreen bunch.  Pala or Palenos refers to the Native Americans in and around nearby Rancho Canada dela Pala and Rancho Pala, both being named after a famed Ohlone leader to the.  The Werwersen tribe is nearer to Halls Valley and Mt. Hamilton to the Northeast.  Native people along Coyote Creek, the western boundary of Rancho Yerba Buena, were called the Aulintac tribe.  These are opposite corners of the 25000+ acres of Rancho Yerba Buena and present day Evergreen.  Who was in the middle?  Who was there at Silver Creek Valley Country Club from 350 years ago?  These people had a name and I would hate to misquote.  I will get the official tribe name from the people themselves.  I want to find our Evergreen Natives, especially since we have so much evidence of them.

Evergren wildlifeFrom all accounts, our Evergreen indigenous people lived a hunter gatherer lifestyle and a nomadic one at that.  Tribes wouldn’t stick around in one place for long and live off the abundant land.  Berries, roots, seeds, acorns, and natural grains would take up a large part of their diets.  The Ohlone would hunt from a rich, diverse wildlife.  A nomadic way of life kept the environment healthy.  Ritual dances would be a huge part of their Kuksu Religion.  Dance would be incorporated into rain, fertility, hunting, harvest and other sorts of ceremonies.  I think Evergreen is gorgeous today.  Could you imagine how stunning it was back then?  Alum Rock Park is a great resource to get in touch with our Ohlone Natives.  Alum Rock Park also has springs similar to Evergreen, along with artifacts and guides to engage with.  It’s a popular field trip destination.

300px-Franciscan_missionaries_in_CaliforniaIn the 19th century, where did they all go?

57d3909ce50e64350ed1a1daa92afca0The Spanish would enter California in the 1760’s.  The DeAnza Expedition and Spanish colonization would eventually wipe out the indigenous people across Santa Clara Valley.  The Pueblo de San Jose would be established by the Spanish in 1777 and the Mission de Santa Clara de Asis would open right alongside it.

tf0w1007sn-FID3Mission de San Jose opened in June 11, 1797 by Father Fermiin Francisco de Lasuén.  It’s located in present day Fremont, on Fremont Boulevard.  The Native Americans baptized at Mission de Santa Clara de Asis, near present day Downtown San Jose, would go back home to their land miles away until Mission de San Jose opened nearby.  Early days of Mission de Santa Clara and the adjoining Pueblo would see Winter flooding of Guadalupe River, so you couldn’t blame anyone for not wanting to stick around.

The Franciscan Missions along the El Camino Real would be hubs of agriculture at the time.  Naval Bases at both San Francisco and Monterey would rely on the Santa Clara Valley to feed themselves.  Olive orchards, mission grapes and livestock would be handled by a workforce made up of the Native American converts.  After ten years of service, a worker would own a plot of land with a couple of location restrictions.

MissSJLoThe Mission of San Jose  would open up its doors to 33 people in 1797.  Small pox and disease introduced by the Spanish would decimate populations at the Mission around 1805.  An earthquake brought down the bell tower in 1808.  Nonetheless, the population of Native Americans at the Mission de San Jose would grow steadily through the 1810’s-1820’s.  A permanent church was constructed in 1809, only to be struck by an earthquake in 1868.  A reconstruction stands there today on Fremont Boulevard.  The indigenous people from the San Joaquin Valley at Mission San Jose would revolt in 1928-29.  Even still, in 1831, the Mission housed over 1800 Native Americans from across the Bay Area and Central Valley.

ranchosMapAfter a decade of civil war, Mexican Independence from Spain would be realized in 1822.  The Territory of New Spain, or present day Mexico and California, would rule itself with the Roman Catholic Church’s protection.  A few years later in 1834, the Franciscan Missions would be secularized by the Mexican Government and the Native Peoples would leave the Missions.  By the 1840’s, the Native peoples were clumped together in Communities around the Silicon Valley, finding work on ranches where they could.  It must’ve been hard to be an indigenous person letting go of your way of life then be turned out of your new home at Mission.  Native Americans would return to their land which was granted to Mexican ranchers, like Antonio Chaboya, in the meantime, therefore have no place to return to.  They would’ve been understandably upset.  This is where we again encounter our Native Evergreen people.

2-indans-with-bow-and-arrow-brk00001577_24aThe Chaboyas would also defended their lands from returning indigenous peoples.  The Evening News in 1916 would record an event before it faded in time and memory.  Don Pedro Chaboya, brother of Evergreen’s Antonio and alcade or mayor of Pueblo de San Jose, held off a Native revolt in the 1840’s with a band of ranchers and defending the Mexican Rancheros.  The returning indigenous people, 300 members strong, would steal over 600 horses and squat on various ranchos.  The Ohlone Natives were nomadic originally.  The indigenous peoples would lived off the land, leaving little trace.  They had the carbon footprint we all want.  The Ranchers probably wouldn’t have fought at all unless the theft of horses and cattle happened.

In Antonio Chaboya’s Rancho Yerba Buena, who couldn’t possibly oversee every acre at all time, they were difficult to locate.  Rancho Yerba Buena found homesteaders setting up shop after years on Rancho Yerba Buena.

Ranch hands and Ranchers alike, Californios, would come together to defend their way of life.  Several of Pedro’s brothers, Jose Berryessa, Sebastian Peralta, Augustine and Jose Bernal, Balentin Higuerra and Augustine Narvaez were just a couple notably ranchers in Pedro’s militia.  The Mexican Band of Ranchers would run the Natives off as far as Pacheco Pass, lead by Pedro Chaboya.  The Californios would overpower the Ohlones while they took refuge at Lake Tachi.

7314695aa182d79feff3ee9377d8dca3The Franciscan Missions would become Catholic Churches again in 1868 but the Ohlone Natives would not return in full force.  By 1935, the Evergreen Native people were almost extinct.  Of course they married into other families and assimilated to their new surroundings.  Tracking them down has been really hard, but I have some leads to follow with the Missions themselves.  The Ohlone peoples of Santa Clara County and beyond still haven’t been recognized by the Federal Government due to lack of knowledge about them.  Their peaceful way of life should be praised, as everyone else who came to Evergreen enjoyed the bounty of the land too.  Again, I like to wonder what the Evergreen area looked like before the Spanish colonialists came.  Here’s the artwork that features our indigenous Evergreen populations.

 

1750 1777 1797 1810

 

Apricot Town

Apricots jpg In discussing what makes Evergreen what it is today, I kept being asked about the variety of fruit shown in the proposed artwork.  Almost every interviewee asked me why I was showing love to all the fruit picked here.  We have vineyards associated with Evergreen, for sure.  My parents kept telling us that they moved in across from apricot orchards and the houses were built when we were too young to remember.  The majority of orchards in Evergreen were apricots.

240px-Fruit_exchange_labelBarry Swenson, Evergreen Native and Downtown Developer, recalls the school schedule coinciding with harvest schedules.  “Cot” Season would be from July to August, prune harvest following that before school would resume.  Prunes were a big business in the Valley of Heart’s Delight with 80,000 acres of prune trees.  Apricots would come in second with some 7,000 acres of trees.  Farming families would raise huge farms and huge families to cultivate the rich Evergreen soil.  Harvest time was a community event.  Families, companies and neighbors all pitched in to pick fruit and harvest grain.

12314282_198416020500512_5584157587879954674_oI bet you’re asking: “What’s the prune got that the apricot doesn’t?”

Luis Pellier’s small Agen prune / plum cions would make him famous once successfully grafted or implanted onto a natural wild California plum tree.  He’s often called the father of the “California Fruit Industry.”  The prune was successfully marketed as “Fine to Dry”, though the prune would need to be hastened through a boiling or dipping process.  Prunes as a crop were much easier to harvest than apricots, so they were an attractive investment.  Santa Clara County would grow up around prune orchards and packing factory all thanks to Pellier.  The Apricot didn’t have a fancy PR campaign and wasn’t so easily dried and exported.

l_19778052Canned apricots are totally cool and were popular.  I certainly remember eating them as a kid.  They would still play second fiddle in the Santa Clara Valley to the prune.  In the later half of the 1800’s though, that dried prune had the country captivated.  Dried fruit to export was a new thing.  Canned fruit had been around for a little while as the primary way of exporting fruit long distances.  In fact, there weren’t can openers when Evergreen fruit started going into cans.  Railroads would be the only way to get fresh fruit out of the Santa Clara Valley.  Into the 1900’s, Evergreen Packer, Edmund N. Richmond and the Richmond-Chase Company would be one of those canners using Evergreen harvested apricots.

istockphoto_5513085-dried-apricots-on-whiteNot until San Felipe Ranch owner, Henry W. Coe for which the largest State Park is named, changed the drying process did apricots take off.  Apricots sun-dried and pitted without any treatment get really sweet but black in color.  That’s a difficult product to get to sell.  Henry W. Coe perfected the apricot drying system with a sulfur smoke which preserved the color and the golden apricot embraced as a fine dried fruit.  Coe was a business man using his back East, New York connections.  His exports and products may have inspired the “Heart’s Delight” knick name by the rest of the Country.  Importing and exporting was Henry Coe’s strength and he was first to market with the dried apricot.

apricotsIt turns out that back East, people loved golden apricots and may have gotten over the whole prune fad.  The dried ‘cot was new and hip.  The farmers across the Town of Evergreen would be blanketed with thousands of acres of apricot orchards.  In 1914, 600,000 apricot trees were recorded in Santa Clara County, most of those planted in Evergreen.  In the early 1900’s, the apricot industry would improve in Evergreen.  German-American farmer, Mr. Emil Farhner, would figure out that cutting the apricot in half, not just pit them, would hasten drying as well as prevent blackening and reduce drying error.

dried-apricot-2The dried golden apricot technique was perfected here in Evergreen.  The delicious snack quickly became a big hit across the country.  Tons of the dried fruit were sent around the world, over 25,000 tons exported a year from Santa Clara County.  Apricots became especially big business for the Evergreen orchardists.  Eastside San Jose Fruit Growers Association would operate out of McLaughlin Road and Tully Road Headquarters until 1899 when it was acquired by California Prune and Apricot Growers, which eventually became SunSweet.

CAM10101The dried ‘cot was so popular, the methods of harvest also needed to innovate to keep up with the demand.  Prunes fell to the ground for harvest, where apricots had to be picked off the trees while on ladders.  That can be a balancing act.  An Evergreen Native would own the patent on the apricot picking bucket in 1920.  Evergreen Native and youngest son of Gerhard Kettmann, for whom Kettmann Road is named, would invent a bucket that hung over the ladder rung, where tying the bucket would eventually dump the bucket or limit how many you could pick at a time.  The apricot industry would really develop in Evergreen soil.

books1Back to that PR campaign the dried prune had, the apricot cions were brought with Spanish colonists through the El Camino Real and raised on the Mission lands.  Mission of Santa Clara and Pueblo de San Jose were founded in 1777.  Mission of San Jose would open its doors in 1797.  That would date the apricots’ roots back in California before 1800.

booksOE4IRI16The apricots were already here before the European immigrants and California Statehood.  Spanish “Mission Grapes”, too, were also already around and probably the vines French cions would be grafted on to by Pellier. There were no printing presses to spread agricultural trends in the mid 1800’s.  Some Santa Clara Valley farmers would witness the Industrial Revolution very personally and learn to adapt their machinery and techniques, like Andrew Kettmann.

A little trivia: When a apricot and a plum/prune have a baby, it’s called a pluot.

Another bit of trivia: All prunes are plums, but not all plums are prunes.

a 1945 - ApricotsWhen people think of Evergreen, they think specifically of Apricots.  I think that’s because of the frequency of “Cot” orchards in and around town.  It’s not misplaced association, however.  I don’t think people know how Evergreen apricots really are.  The apricot was made perfect here by forward thinking farmers.  The “Cot” is definitely an Evergreen thing.

Here’s some of the artwork we have planned with ‘cots featured.

evergreen fruit label 19621930 1950 19851915 1860

Pellier Roots

Louis%20Pellier%20from%20HSJ(1)The Pellier family and their descendants have been long time Property and Business Owners in San Jose and Evergreen since the late 1840’s.  Though one of the murals is designed specifically for the descendants of the Pelliers, I have another mural for what I’m calling the “Pellier Contribution” to San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley.

1700's EvergreenMini-History lesson: The Spanish Missions ran the agricultural business and mostly did business with the local naval bases that protected them.  The Indians were the farmers and the monks participated as well.  However, when California became Mexican Territories, the missions closed down and the Indians were displaced.  The vineyards and orchards went dry and much of the valley turned to cattle pasture.

images8NKXGYYQLouis Pellier (1817-72), son of winemakers outside of Bordeaux, had plenty of experience keeping the family farm.  At the age of 32, Louis left France during the French Revolution and traveled around Cape Horn to arrive in San Francisco in 1847-8.  Louis sent for his brother, Pierre, and they found success gold mining in Weaverville.  Pierre served in the French Army during the revolution and came to California in 1849.

Louis quickly realized that there were going to be a flood of people coming to California for the Gold Rush and American Dream.  The price of the limited produce was extremely high.  With family in France and experience he gained on the family farm, Louis could get into that business.  Pierre came to California in 1849 in search of gold, but the Pellier brothers returned to their native country several times in search of a different kind of gold.

imagesTKY9RJ9XInterior-FirstGeneration-PierrePellierOn their 1850’s journeys, Pierre brought back his long lost sweetheart, Henriette Renaud.  Louis realized his business plans.  Louis, Pierre and Jean, the Pellier brothers, stretched out across France, looking for fruit and vegetable varieties to repopulate the rich soil of the Santa Clara Valley.  Not all of the plants would arrive alive when traveling by boat.  There was a fair amount of learning taking place in the process.  In steamer trunks and barrels, the brothers brought seeds, small potted plants and clippings to propagate once back in California.

HMS%20FuriousThe brothers improvised when water ran low, presumed to be due to underestimation on the first journey.  They kept the clippings alive by inserting them into potatoes for moisture, which worked well.

The Pellier brothers brought some other notable names, the very young Delmas brothers, to California with them.  The brothers made considerable amounts of money and bought large plots of land in San Jose and east of San Jose.  Unfortunately, the Pelliers sold all their stock of seeds off the dock of Alviso, which meant they had nothing to plant for themselves after the first voyage.  This created the necessity of return trips to France, possibly crossing through Panama by train on their way back to California.

pl_pellier_city_gardens_crhl434Louis Pellier founded City Gardens Nursery in 1850 with Pierre, at the present day corner of St. James Street and San Pedro Street.  The Pellier prune clippings were grafted on to wild Californian prunes, and arranged into rows making the first California prune orchards in 1856.  City Gardens was open to the public for picnics and for the nuns to pick freely.  The prune was a success, and City Gardens was a cultural hub of Downtown San Jose.  The California Prune Industry and Valley of Heart’s Delight radiated outward from the Downtown Pellier orchards.  This, however, will be a forgotten garden.  The Pellier’s other pride lies east of San Jose in the 1860’s.

books1Louis and Pierre bought land in Evergreen, which was once part of the Chaboya Land Grant or Rancho Yerba Buena.  When Louis sold his portion to Pierre, it became one of the largest ranches in the township of Evergreen.

Louis Pellier had a spat with his brothers, presumed to be due to the sale of all the plants or the neglect of their orchards on one of his journeys to France.  Pierre took his horticultural skills and expertise to his ranch and vineyards in Evergreen.  Louis stayed downtown.  Louis took a wife, a woman of French heritage,  who wasn’t well suited for him.  She quite possibly drove him mad, possibly creating the wedge between brothers.

Don’t worry.  There was a lot of love there between the Pellier brothers, even towards the end.  Pierre even named his first son after his brother.  In 1872, Louis died in a state hospital, due to a nervous breakdown after the separation with his wife.  He and his wife had no children.  His brother, Pierre, took care of the estate, and the family decided to pay-off the widow with proceeds of the Downtown property.  There was a Will in place, but the greedy widow kept coming back for more until a cash settlement was reached.

booksOE4IRI16Louis’s amazing business venture wouldn’t reach its height for many years.  In 1929, California would cultivate 171,330 acres of prune orchards.  The La Petite D’Agen from France grafted onto the wild prunes proved to be perfect for California.  It was fruitful or meaty enough to be dried, making the prune easy to export all over the country.  The growth of the railway system made the export possible.  Pierre Pellier brought back the Black Burgundy, French Colombar, Chasselas, Fontainebleau, Pinot Noir, Madeline and others from France.  With these new varieties, Louis and Pierre Pellier founded the Valley’s French wine industry at City Garden Nursery.

9ee89fc729d94679e4a4e7792a02a795Pierre Pelliers’s vineyards and orchards a few miles east of San Jose would get passed down to his five children, who later became vineyard owners and winemakers themselves, following in the Pellier’s footsteps, even through Prohibition.  The descendants of the Pellier brothers would, in fact, become one of, if not the, most famed business out of Evergreen.  The family still has living descendants in family house in the neighborhood.  They deserve their own mural in my humble opinion.

Here’s a look at the artwork I have planned for the “Pellier Contribution.” 1848

The Quest for John Tully

So, my research takes me far and wide.  A lot of it is as easy as Googling the right names and places, but not all of it.  I have a few sepia toned photos of John Tully and his wife, Rose, Irish immigrants by way of Illinois.  The Tully’s owned a considerable amount of land in Santa Clara Valley in the late 1800’s.  They left large charitable gifts.  I wanted to see if I couldn’t find a more personal tact to the Tully’s Tales.

1997300231 15823

I visited the Genealogy Museum nearby where I thought I’d find plenty applicable things.  But no.  I had entered a time warp.

CAM08693

This is a Microfiche something or other.  No, not for looking at little fishies.  But it’s like an original zoomy thing and a manual mouse.  It was like if a computer and a Ouija board got married.  The Microfiche was simple and intuitive to use.

But back to the Tully’s from Evergreen.  Quite a popular last name and without a middle initial, I’m a little lost.  Some references I knew were to my man, but I’m looking for pictures, not written documents.  Specifically, I’d love to find portraits of my key players.

These items and references are in a bigger museum in Sacramento, so it’s just as well.  I’m going to photograph their old residence, but it’s not in Evergreen.  I called publications and sites that referenced them in articles to request a contact, but to no avail.  The Tully trail has gone cold for now.

I may end up there at the Genealogy Museum in Sac, but I’ll have to settle for the imagery I already have for the Tully’s, pictured in the upper right with their Evergreen Eucalyptus trees on their ranch off Tully Road.  It was already an artistic piece of photography.

1890's