Tag Archives: vineyards

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Today’s Wehner Mansion

5985327859_3f314741f2_bP1310186 (2)This introduction to the subject matter at hand isn’t purposefully an alliteration.  It just happens to be one anyway.

Heritage Room azules.pdfWonderful William Wenher was renowned for his winning white wines.  William Wehner was a Chicago-based panoramic painter and winemaker, born in Germany.  The Historic Manor was built by famous skyscaper architect, David Burnham, who would design and build only the one home in his career, friend of Wehner’s from Chicago.  His 1884 built Evergreen Estate still stands behind private gates and ropes, but that’s about all the care it’s had in a while.  These photos are courtesy of Colleen Cortese and the EVC Heritage Room.

P1320410lomasazulesUntil recently, I had only seen Colleen’s pictures and sketches of Evergreen’s Queen Anne Victorian.  Wehner, Albert Haentz, Cribaris and Mirassous have all made wine from the winery also on-site, Lomas Azules Winery.  Ebe Frasse, from the Cribari Family, has the fondest memories of growing up in the Blue Mansion.  This perspective had always seemed odd to me until I dropped in on the historic Evergreen jewel.  It is a literal drop into the seat of this Evergreen relic to its arched carriage entrance.

 

IMG_0206

The Wehner Mansion today is boarded up and breaking down.  It clearly hasn’t had a new paint job since the 70’s.  It was deemed unfit for residence in 2014 by City Inspectors.  I like the colors, but an owner should be maintaining this important piece of San Jose History.  It has historic designation.

When I dropped by the property to lay my own eyes on it, I got lost.  Nothing new.  Actually, getting lost has helped me throughout this project.  Upon coming up to a Community stable and garden, the caretakers inquired if I was a real estate agent looking for the Wehner Mansion.  I wish.  But they wished too that something could be done about the beautiful piece of architecture that lay dormant and decaying in their backyard.

IMG_0216I found these windows to be stunning.  The glass remaining is a sight to behold.  If a replacement for this fifth window could be found, it would be incredible from inside.  I’m hoping this is a staircase on the other side.  The rounded feature is generally photographed and admired, but not much is said about its antique glass.  Mrs. Louise Lamantia remembers it well.  In fact, somewhere, some of this glass was donated to a historical society.

IMG_0220This second building here isn’t the attached Winery that’s been so well used by Evergreen vintners.  Wehner’s no dumby.  You’d never invite that nonsense into your backyard nearest your children.  I’d also expect more storage for barrels.

This is a tiny, one room building obscured by trees from Colleen’s sketch and initial sighting of the Wehner Mansion.  This is an old fashion frig or pantry.  This is a kitchen house designed to keep food for as long as it would naturally keep.  This was necessary in the 1800’s.  The Summer ones are built differently than Winter ones. It’s a science of keeping things fresh.  You can see why farming would be big business back then especially.

IMG_0219IMG_0217It is super quiet in these hills and this roped of manor is as well.  Wehner Mansion, also known as the Blue Hill Estate, isn’t without its tenants or residence today, though.  They just aren’t people.  The historic estate hosts a very territorial buck and a family of turkeys.  It’s so silent, you can hear them gobble from all the way over here.  I found that indigenous wildlife and a near by run-off creek trickle through Wehner Mansion while its title is questionable at best.  Its faith rests with the Title.  I’m making inquiries.

IMG_0232If I can fire enough people up and raise some awareness for this San Jose Gem, I’d like to do so and make something happen here.  I see a private venue for weddings or a Community Garden for a non-profit.  I see a Community Center for the Villages or an Evergreen History Museum.  Access is difficult, so the tenant would need to be perfect for the situation.  Let’s start talking about how to fill Wehner Mansion’s halls with laughter again.  It’s a piece of our History still standing.  There’s only a couple left.

 

 

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.

 

Evergreen’s Own Mayor Quimby

mayor quimbyWould you believe me if I told you that Evergreen and the City of San Jose had a Mayor Quimby over 125 years before the Simpsons?  Matt Groening’s portrait of the Mayor couldn’t contrast our factual character more.  I’m going to try to provide you with an accurate portrait of our fair-minded Mayor, John Alonzo Quimby.  I was lucky enough to find a contemporary family source in a Genealogical History for the Quimby Family from 1915, though newspapers and political publications didn’t say much..

quimby-coat-of-armsQuimby as a name is fairly popular in England, where its origins are traced back to the 11th century.  Though probably Germanic in origin and possibly Hebrew in its roots, the Quimby name, its variations (Quinby, Quinbee, Quenby, possibly Quincy, etc.) and its coat of arms are found all over England.  It dates back to an ancient Welsh King,  The Quimby Family came from a long line of Colonialists and Quakers.  The ancient family would come to Salem, then Massachussetts colony as early as 1640, seeking freedom from the religious persecution that brought so many people to America at the time.  They were not rumored in Salem Witch Hunts, but one relative died in heated fights with the Native Americans there.  His ancestors would’ve fought to create this country.

thumb200John A. Quimby would be born in Parsippany, New Jersey in 1818 to affluent, well respected parents.  His father would be a politician in New England.  Quimby’s father originally ran the lucrative family shoe making business before running for judge and serving the County court system 25-30 years in New Jersey.  His brother, Isaac, would be a General for the Union Army during the Civil War.  This is his famous brother from Back East to the right who eventually became a US Marshall.  My historian’s note here would be that photographs through the 1800’s would only be taken by the rich and famous or very large groups.  It was an infant of an art and a science as well as expensive to do.  Strangely enough, the politically minded family were Democrats for the most part, with the exception of our Mayor.  This may be the reason the Republican pioneer came to California in 1846.  Regardless, this photograph from the mid 1800’s should prove how well respected John Alonzo Quimby was.

Mayor Quimby first studied law and practiced with a Judge in New Jersey.  John Alonzo Quimby would come to California as early as 1846 with his father, but definitely arrived in Santa Clara County by 1849 with his first wife, Minerva Moody of New York.  It was said before leaving New Jersey that J. A. Quimby was one of Morristown, New Jersey’s best orators and they had a few.

drinksJohn Alonzo Quimby would become entangled with California’s State Affairs early on, even running for US Senator at one point.  Quimby was present, along with delegate Charles White, at the “Legislature of A Thousand Drinks”, held in San Jose in 1849.  This Assembly would create California’s State Constitution and the creation of its Capitol, in San Jose.  In 1850, Quimby would see the need and build the first roadway from Santa Cruz to San Jose, laying the groundwork for Highway 17 today.  John would engage in the lumber business there as a City developed in the Valley.  The Captiol would move to Vallejo in 1851, and to Sacramento.  Even still, the site of the Capitol would become a second epicenter for the City of San Jose.  Quimby would be in the California legislature from 1855 to 1858 and be San Jose’s Mayor for two terms from 1863-1869.  J. A. Quimby would later be on the Board of County Supervisors for two terms.

hb8r29p1tf-FID4scuThe well-respected lawmaker would become the creator of the Downtown San Jose we know nowadays.  For the sake of contract, the map to the right is San Jose in 1847.  It has a single road, the El Camino Real, today’s Alameda turning into Santa Clara beyond this point.  It’s layout is logical, like the numbered street we know, and it has well known San Jose founders sprinkled in.  The Guadalupe River creates a border for the small city.  At this point a lot of today’s Downtown isn’t even a thought.   In 1847, an acre of land downtown like these would cost $50.00.  Through his initiatives, crucial issues that arose in San Jose at California’s birth were solved through Mayor Quimby’s terms in office.

san_jose_2The Market Square was always a meeting place for the Pueblo of San Jose and so it only seemed fitting to hold California’s first meeting in California’s first civic meeting place.  In 1797, the Spanish would raise a Town Hall at the site for parades and City meetings.  There would be reports of ill maintained hotels and flooding at Market Square, which encouraged the Capitol’s relocation to Vallejo.  A dam would need to be built for the Guadalupe River to keep the Capitol dry.  This building still used in 1851 for San Jose’s administration, John A. Quimby would inherit San Jose with its run down buildings and infrastructure.  The Fire Department had no firehouse and broken down engines.  City Hall’s walls were crumbing.  After all, it was over 65 years old by the time he got to City Hall.  Furthermore, in 1863, the disputes created by settlement were still creating tensions.

1876 MapRancho Yerba Buena wasn’t up for dispute anymore.  John Alonzo Quimby himself legally purchased a large ranch 3 miles from Downtown Evergreen, next door to the Pellier Family, near where the Middle School stands today but up the road a little ways.  Victoria Chaboya’s property is more likely where the Quimby Oak Middle School stands today.  Oak trees are a main feature of Evergreen, not pine trees.  Quimby Oak rather rathers to the bed of Oak trees gathering along the Quimby Creek, running though Quimby and Pellier’s properties.  Quimby Road would always run past his Evergreen hills property.  J. A. Quimby was able to purchase a Creekside property near where the Chaboyas themselves called home.  The California Government didn’t uphold all of the Mexican land grants like the Chaboyas.  In fact, Rancho Yerba Buena was the exception to the rule in Santa Clara County.

83f041e62c3569668922074fec6eb474Many were stripped of their holdings and left tiny portions of their former farms, including Antonio Chaboya’s brothers, by US Surveyors.  The railroad into San Jose was completed in 1863, when Quimby first became Mayor.  The land grab created room for new immigrants and U.S. citizens in early San Jose, which there were plenty arriving and on their way.  The first secular development in California, established in 1777, had been growing from the epicenter of Mission de Santa Clara de Asis, today’s Santa Clara University.  These homes, though close, were large and had adequate yards.  If these people were also farmers, though, their farms or vacation homes would be elsewhere, in modern day suburban communities surrounding San Jose’s Downtown.  To the right is Downtown San Jose looking towards the Mission in 1866, when J. A. Quimby was Mayor.

old_state_capitol_plaque_thumbMission Santa Clara feels like the outskirts of Downtown today.  You’re totally right.  What we feel like is Downtown today, First and Santa Clara Streets, would be John Alonzo Quimby’s impact on San Jose.    The one time Capitol, brought by delegates White and Reed and witnessed by Quimby no doubt, would be today’s Cesar Chavez Square on Market Street.  This would become a second burst of growth in San Jose’s adolescence.  Downtown is something different because of this second epicenter.  The bustling City would then center around Market and Santa Clara Streets, adding to the numbered streets and narrowing their lots.

SVHO2004-0812Then, during his Mayoral office, Quimby would bring together both parties to handle the disputes, fill San Jose’s Treasury by selling small “pueblo” lots Downtown and create services for the growing population.  Contemporaries would explain that the Cities of San Jose and Santa Clara were already touching and growing denser down the Alameda.  Plots were being sold for $50.00 an acre or city block around the Alameda and St. James Park.  Once Quimby took office, an acre cost $200.00.  US Surveyors would bring into question some of the $50.00 acres, allowing farms downtown to be broken up into subdivisions.  $50.00 plots were still being developed, however.  The City of San Jose would be considered as far east as Coyote Creek, as far south as Bird Avenue, as far west as Meridian Avenue and as far north as Hedding Street.  Quimby would improve the roadway system and rejuvenate San Jose’s infrastructure with the raising of funds, replacing rundown equipment and buildings.  Many of San Jose’s oldest standing buildings come from the Quimby era.  With a focus shifted away from the Mission and towards developing outward from the City Plaza, Cesar Chavez Park, Downtown San Jose’s small lots still exist today.  The numbered streets are a result of many of Quimby’s decisions.  He killed two very big birds with one very awesome stone that still can be felt today.  To the left is a map of San Jose shortly after he left City Hall.

San Jose 2nd ward. - David Rumsey Historical Map CollectioncaThis is a map of San Jose while John Alonzo Quimby was on the Board of County Supervisors.  The rapid growth was prolific.  In 4 years, San Jose would need to be broken up into huge portions.  This is our modern downtown.  The First Ward is the old downtown.  Also notice that our Norths between the previous 2 maps are different.  That was just to make this one look pretty.  It’s ok.  Our 1847 Map had Guadalupe through then San Jose’s west on the bottom of the map.  Only a couple of those original rectangle bought for $50.00 still existed.  Most were these tiny boxes in 1876.  The colored portiosn are additions onto San Jose made during Quimby’s term.

Courthouse1895Courthouse2007In 1860, San Jose would have 1000 residents.  By 1868, that had been multiplied to 7000 residents.  Having great leadership at the helm of a storm like that allows the transition to go smoothly.  John A. Quimby found a way to make room, make jobs, and revive an aging city.  He was also there at igniting of the Santa Clara County’s Fruit Industry.  Quimby would create the foundation for the large city with a dense downtown we enjoy today.   The San Jose Water Company was incorporated in 1866.  Gas services was introduced to San Jose in 1861, but the need for expanding those pipe systems were crucial.  The Normal School, today’s San Jose State University, would become State run in 1862.  The courthouse was built in 1867, now the St. James Post Office though its down was burned down some time ago.  The first public transit systems were in place in 1868, running down First Street to the domed courthouse.  The lightrail stops there today.  Does that make is a nearly 150 year old tradition to ride the modern trolley through Downtown?  The Canning Industry would be underway in San Jose in 1871.  Though Quimby gets the bulk of credit for the way he settled Downtown land disputes, he’s often overlooked during this crucial time in San Jose’s development.  Why he’s overlooked in unknown, because he seems to be well-respected by his contemporaries and loved ones.

CAM11091John and Minerva would have four kids, while maintaining his political life.  Minerva Moody would pass away in 1866, while he was Mayor, and John Alonzo Quimby would remarry the following year.  Irene Kamp, the new Mrs. Quimby, and John would have another two children who were also raised in Evergreen.  After serving the County for a number of years, John Quimby would become sick for a number of years starting in 1886.  Following the illness, Quimby retired from public life to his Evergreen farm.  It was said that he too raised vineyards in the Evergreen hills and Quimby Creek runs along the back side of Millbrook Elementary School today.  Quimby Road would be one of the third or fourth roads built in Evergreen, after San Felipe Road and Evergreen Road.  In fact, Quimby once ran Tully Road’s modern course into town after the turn at Eastridge Mall.  The Mall’s creation there was formed by Quimby’s 150 year old route.

P1310216 (2)The large Evergreen estate passed to Irene and his family when John Alonzo Quimby passed in 1891.  This 1903 map shows a portion of the Quimby Ranch, 55 acres, still held by his daughter, Mrs. R. M. Wright.  One of his sons, Fred Alonzo Quimby, carried on the tradition of civic service into the 20th century, though sadly not in Santa Clara County.

vinfiz_harriet58643d6960f486d90ad75b3a2f41f657Oh, and the awesome Harriet Quimby, first woman to have a pilot’s license, wouldn’t be from Evergreen or San Jose.  Instead, she probably heard about the road’s name on a flight to San Jose then lie ruthlessly about it, creating fairytales and misinformation about her early life.  Harriet was born in Michigan.  She was quite a character, but none of John Alonzo’s sons would marry a woman having a daughter Harriet.  She also freely lied about her age.  Don’t worry.  The Quimby’s are a huge family.  She probably wasn’t lying about the name, but could so easily weave misinformation into interviews because of the name’s popularity around the United States.

I think the obituaries for John A. Quimby about the most eloquent summarizations and indications of how he was received by his contemporaries, Democrat or Republican.  His was admired for both his political achievements and undertakings, as well as for his kindness and hospitality.

“Death of a Pioneer of San Jose – A Public Spirited Citizen – One who has served faithfully in various Public Offices and did much as a Private Citizen” said one local newspaper.  Another states “His life here since pioneer days was an active one until a few years ago… made him prominent amount residents of the county.”  It goes on, “The pioneer residents of this county will bear willing testimony to the deep regard entertained for the departed [Quimby] by all who had the pleasure and profit of an intimate acquaintance…”

1833The Artwork which features J. A. Quimby also features possible inspiration Charles White.  After writing this, I’m wondering if we’ve given John Alonzo enough credit either.  His leadership created the City we enjoy today, which modern people from Evergreen continue to develop it and serve the same offices.  The Simpson’s bumbling Mayor couldn’t be further away from our Mayor Quimby.

After doing this article, here’s the updated White and Quimby Piece.

1833

 

 

 

 

 

“Nor-wood”

mapThe lead for Norwood is a real stumper.  As a name, its quite popular.  Norwood Avenue dates back to the mid 1800’s.  So, what was it named after?  There were fabulous people named Norwood who would settle into Santa Clara County in 1849, but Mr. Joseph Gould Norwood would make his home in the Alviso/Santa Clara township, nowhere near Evergreen.  So, that’s not our Norwood.  I reviewed historical maps and grant records throughout Evergreen’s history looking for a Norwood family to tie this name to.  I couldn’t find one.

watershed1421300_242476552761125_6880580855870102685_oNorwood’s Creek is definitely a geographic feature of Evergreen and has been for a long time.  Today, the creek exists beyond the private road at the end of Norwood, but is diverted through housing developments through water tanks and pumping stations.  There’s probably a sizable water pipe under the street that later empties as Norwood Avenue ends on White Road.  That’s why the current path is a straight line at points.  This pipe system is necessary because Evergreen has had a long history of flooding with its sometimes unpredictable waterways.  Frank Cunningham lost his large property with a huge lake on it because the City of San Jose needed to be able to better control the watershed.

Map 006, San Jose, Evergreen, Silver Creek, Mount Pleasant, Pal000000Looking into Norwood, the Avenue itself in between Quimby Road and Tully Road came about between two maps.  In 1876, a County wide Atlas was created and there’s no mention of Norwood Avenue.  It runs along the line between these yellow, orange and the lower green section.  We are looking at once corners of Ranchos Pala and Rancho Yerba Buena, and the adjacent Pueblo Tract.  Tully Road isn’t a thing yet, but it will be located on the strong black line noting his and partner Wallace’s property.

Interior-FirstGeneration-PierrePellierThe Norwood Creek would feed into the farms, vineyards and orchards of Joaquin Higuera, Tully & Wallace, Pierre Pellier, and J. A. Quimby possibly at the time.  The creek would’ve provided a natural irrigation.  The Pellier Ranch was one of the largest in Evergreen with Norwood Creek traveling through it.  John Tully would own property all over Evergreen.  In fact, John Tully’s lawsuit from Antonio Chaboya opened up the conversation for other European farmers homesteading on Rancho Yerba Buena.

P1310185 (4)Fourteen years later, in 1890, Norwood Avenue runs through to present day Flint Avenue.  At its creation, it’s spelt Flindt Avenue.  Here, you see John Tully’s partnership with Wallace desolve with his passing and the family sold his half of the property away in small 10 acre lots.

6254426015_f091ee3233_bLarger farms like the McClay family’s, shown here to the left, and Leo Renaud on the South side of Norwood Avenue.  On the South corner of White Road and Norwood Avenue was Elmer Chase, Richmond Chase and Valley of Heart’s Delight Fruit Packing Co. owner.  With the elder Pelliers passing, the property passed to Pierre’s daughter Henrietta, who married Mr. Mirassou, then Mr. Casalegno.  One of her daughters would marry Mr. Renaud on Norwood Avenue.  The creekbed isn’t show here in this picture, but the properties are growing smaller.  The map would be impossible to read with all of Evergreen’s creeks also noted.  This area was awesome for vineyards.

norwood-creek-elementaryRemington Drive where Norwood Creek Elementary School is located is most likely this beginning stretch of road off of Quimby Road which doesn’t quite connect but is very near the school’s location along Mr. Tully’s widow’s property.  The Hall’s Subdivision along Norwood Avenue would be one of the first in the area, along with the Cadwallader Subdivision.

Evergreen - Page 029, Atlas: Santa Clara County 1956, Californi

This map in 1956 shows Norwood Avenue in the center.  Remington hasn’t become a major paved road yet.  Notice how Evergreen written in red is so much lower.  Its not that the Norwood area or the creek is outside Evergreen or Rancho Yerba Buena.

Norwood is the relationship it has with downtown Evergreen and its placement within the Rancho.  When broken into two parts its North Woods.  It is farthest North of the along the Rancho Yerba Buena border.  In all likelihood, the Creek was named Norwood long before the avenue.  It was a popular family name for people from northern lying woodlands.  This was the woods to the North of Evergreen along a main artery of White Road.  The Norwood area as the Rancho had streams trickling through it and densely populated with trees, with nearby farmhands houses on the North side.  The woods provided the Chaboyas a little buffer with their ranches along Quimby Road.  The forested area would create a natural boundary for the cattle as well.  John Tully would plant eucalyptus trees along Tully Road which still grow today in the heavily wooded area.  This would also refer to the area where Cedar Grove Elementary School is located, but we’ll talk about “Cedar” in Evergreen at another time.

Here’s the artwork with references to Norwood Creek.

19851969

1850 - bridge19921847

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.

1940 1885

 

 

 

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.

5985327859_3f314741f2_b

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.

5985990146_32ca0f295f

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.

Cribari-Family-300x209

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.

184818601885 19401966

 

 

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.

P1310098

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.

1848 1966

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