Tag Archives: cinnabar

Redundant Theme – Mining for Evergreen

minerMiners who would strike it rich in the Gold Rush would make Evergreen their home in the later half of the 1800’s.  The discovery of gold would hasten California’s Statehood and spur immigration to the Golden State.  Evergreen had a huge hand in bringing California to Statehood.  Businessman, Orchardist, winemaker and French immigrant, Luis Pellier, would become the father of California’s Fruit Industry when noting the high price of fruit  while he was panning for gold.  With a little success gold panning and a little luck being a farmer from France, he managed to create his own gold.  Henry W. Coe, for whom the park is named after, struck it rich importing mining equipment through the Gold Rush, enabling him to invest in such a large Evergreen property after pulling stakes up from Willow Glen.

A little known fact is that the Town of Evergreen would be that it is built up around active, productive mines.  Tracking down these mines would be a little bit of a dig, but mining was a big deal for two distinct periods of time in Evergreen’s history.  Mercury and Quicksilver are in the foundation of San Jose’s History, so much so that newspaper is called the Mercury News.

6238515012_b826539c1b_oOne of the first businesses ever opened in Evergreen was the Kettmann Saloon.  Andrew Kettmann’s establishment was located on San Felipe Road in Downtown Evergreen, just North of the historic Smith family homes and businesses.  The turn of the 20th century watering hole was frequented by miners up until Prohibition.  The inebriated patrons would stumble off to kiss under the bridges of creek crossings nearby Cadwallader neighborhood by Keaton Loop.  Prohibition brought the business under and San Felipe Road would be rerouted.

P1300843H. R. Bradford would eventually come to own the mining prospect and property in the 1890’s.  Mr. Hector R. Bradford came from a mining family and one with political interests.  Father, F. W. Farnsworth and once Governor of Massachusetts and descendants of Mayflower passangers, would move the family out West to California in 1884.  Eldest son H. R. was only nine years old and sweeping around mine shafts as child.  As an adult, H. R. Bradford would accumulate mining interests across California, but especially adored his Evergreen holding.  He and partner J. Treadwell would own and operate the Silver Creek Mining Company.  His business acumen was something to be admired.

P1310168In 1895, a close examination of the flooding and mines was made and Silver Creek mines began delivering pay ore.  Silver Creek mines was producers of quicksilver, mercury and cinnabar.

P1310180Mr. H. R. Bradford must have heard about furnaces like this at the mining prospect before making his decision about the Silver Creek acquisition.  Quicksilver Mining would require lots of timber to fuel the furnaces.  Evergreen had plenty of orchards pulling trees and natural oak trees.  Bradford’s property in Evergreen was huge.

P1320151Silver Creek Mines and the Mining Company would be named after Silver Creek, a spring and creek which lay nearby the site of the mines.  In fact, this mine is located directly Southeast from Silver Creek Valley Country Club, and you know you’re wicked close when you’re along the backside of the Country Club and get to the Creek.  The mine now sits with the Espinosa family for some years now.

P1310211These mines in Evergreen, however, were preexisting.  Bradford purchased historic cinnabar mines that were dormant and flooded for 25 years.  These mines would be 5 miles North of the Almaden Mines.  Their original name were the North Almaden Mines when it was owned by A. J. Piercy.  Heir E. M. Piercy would sell to Bradford.  Before the North Almaden Mining Company extracted cinnabar ore, it was known as the Adams Mine.  The Comstock Panic would bring the mines to a halt in the 1860’s.  The Comstock Panic brought to light poor money management and stock dealings in the mining industries in 1865.  True interests and dividends were not being distributed properly.  New Almaden would halt due to wage negotiations in the 1860’s.  World War I & II would bring the mines back to popularity in the production of ammunitions.

Was Silver Creek named for the quicksilver found near by?  Contamination could’ve been the reason for the name.  It could also be named after its sparkling beauty.  This is really a chicken-egg debate that only the Native Ohlone can answer.

cinnabarThe Native Americans here in Evergreen would take note of the red soil and water contamination.  They knew about the cinnabar before the Spanish came to colonize California.

New Almaden Mines would date back to 1824.  It’s name came from a combination of Arabic words “Al”, from, and “Maden”, the mine.  Quicksilver would be cultivated at New Almaden then North Almaden in Evergreen.  The largest producer would be Spain’s Alamden mines, or Old Almaden Mines.  Quicksilver would be used in medicine and in the amalgamation of gold and silver ores as far back as the 16th century through furnaces and distillation.

6254963938_955a7fda19_oOnly faint traces of the mines and mining culture can be found in Evergreen today.  Here shown to the left is historian Richard Neiman, showing of some 100 year old mining equipment found at Blauer Ranch in the 1960’s.  One half of Blauer Ranch would become the front portion of the Villages.  The other would become the Silver Creek Valley Country Club.

Mining creates a redundant theme in our Evergreen Mural Walk artwork.  Here’s some of the Artwork with Mining overtones.

1833 1855 1877 1895

Graffiti, Tagging and Art

 P1310690We’re using are to address some difficult issues Evergreen is facing.  The most obvious is graffiti, but more specifically tagging.  Graffiti is a kind of Art, so I’m going to do some technical waxing and defining for a sec before getting to the Evergreen epidemic.  I’ll keep it short, but this is my area of expertise.

P1310632The Arts is the study of any form of human expression, so they cover a broad range of topics.  Graffiti is a kind of Art, short for Visual Arts.  Graffiti is a type of street expression or hip hop that is most often executed in spray paint is totally stunning when done well.  This example here is totally collaborative and organic.  I find it wicked inspiring.  It’s also the dead end for Fowler Creek, so an Evergreen historic landmark of sorts.  This would’ve been Downtown Evergreen back in the day.

P1310641Tagging, the dreaded enemy, is the single color spray painted, hurried expression.  It’s often a number, name or identifying mark of some kind.  Yuck.  Evergreen is host to both expressions.

These two example pictures were taken from the same Evergreen location, with the lens pointed in opposite directions.

P1310687Now, I would be lying if I told you I didn’t appreciate the colors, the lines and the value of this style of graffiti art.  I went to school in Southern California, finding myself inspired by LA’s hip hop vibe and graffiti.  I love the goofy giraffe off of our Cal Trains.  The truth is the only thing that separates this from Fine Arts is the legal permissions and contracts that go with its preservation.

11924764_10205168348264340_5498132776250486890_nWorking in public schools in Eastside San Jose and Evergreen, I have the conversation with high school students all the time about painting murals, doing something you love for a living, and how I use it as opportunity to say something later.  I encourage entrepreneurship with education.  I encourage students to ask for proper permissions, have a clear thought and a game plan.  Your property owner will respect that and therefore protect your work.

graffiti evergreenI was having that conversation with students pretty half cocked, never having asked for permissions for public artwork before, instead executing private contracts.  I never opened myself up to the Public Sector before like I have with this project.  It has been well received by every level of the Community.  Now that I’ve done it personally, I’ve not been misinforming the youth.  If you have a good idea, it’s going to find support.  I feel a little better about the conversations I’ve had with Silver Creek students loitering and watching me paint over the summers.

Laddie Way - Google MapsThe problem in Evergreen was visually obvious.  When I first reached out to the City of San Jose in regards to the Evergreen Mural Walk, I was sent a long list of places and people that have been affected by graffiti.  From retirement communities and schools to private property damage, the scars it leaves on this Community aren’t pretty.

E Capitol Expy - Google MapsThis visual allows for the Broken Window Theory to set in.  This is an idea within the study of criminology which leads to added and worsening destruction and in this case crime.  Evergreen experiences above national average numbers for violent crimes and home invasions.  I need students driven to school instead feeling safe enough to walk.  This project is aimed at trickling down positive, starting with removing this, the most visible canvas.

P1310691The Evergreen Mural Walk artwork is absolutely designed with graffiti and tattoo influences.   They’ll be fun to paint should any graffiti artists come out from local high schools.  The bright, bold colors is something I feel very strongly about recreating.   Graffiti Artist don’t mark on top of what they consider to be “Good Art”, adding to culture and acknowledging their existence.   It’s an odd ethic, but a treaty I broker with a cool approach and reap the rewards all over Evergreen schools.

bus stop vision 2 copyHopefully the Evergreen Mural Walk gets these individuals involved and creates community stewards of them.  It ought to create community pride in its execution and subject matter.  This shows the street culture of Evergreen while limiting its further decay.

Here’s further evidence of our Evergreen ProblemAborn Square Rd - Google Maps Brigadoon Way - Google Maps Corkerhill Way - Google Maps E Capitol Expy - Google Maps