History of Santa Clara County
Topography and Geology--History of the New Almaden Mines--Crime in the Early Days--The Mineral Springs of Santa Clara County--The Oil Development.
The great Santa Clara Valley is but a portion of that vast plain that stretches from the Golden Gate on the north to the old mission town of San Juan on the south, a distance of ninety miles. When first peopled the whole was known as San Bernardino. It is oval in form and attains its greatest width near Mt. Bache, where it is about fifteen miles. About four miles from San Jose and apparently forming a barrier across the valley are a chain of low hills called the Hills of Tears. But the obstruction is only apparent. About eight miles from this point the valley contracts to a width of about three miles and so continues for some six miles, when it again expands to a breadth of nearly six miles and then sweeps out to end a few miles beyond Hollister in San Benito County.
A chain of mountains hems in the valley on either side, running northwest and southeast. From the time of its entry into the county the eastern range rapidly rises, becomes broader and very rough, having many elevated points about it until it culminates on the summit of Mt. Hamilton, nearly east of San Jose and 4,443 feet above the level of the sea. The range then decreases in height to Pacheco Pass, east of Gilroy, the loftiest point of which is 1,470 feet. The western range near the famous New Almaden mines is crowned by two magnificent peaks that stand like stalwart sentinels guarding the precious treasures which lie concealed in the yet unexplored storehouses of their lesser brethren around.
In the canyons and slopes of the western chain are to be found growing in full vigor the useful redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) as well as many oaks and madrona. On the eastern range comparatively few trees are found, but its swelling undulations, picturesque ravines and wealth of natural beauty, pleases the eye and affords a marked contrast to the forests of the other side.
At a distance of about twenty-five miles from San Jose Coyote Creek has its birth, and after springing into vigor leaves its cradle, joyously leaping and splashing among the roots of trees and playing around the smooth worn sides of boulders until it reaches the pastoral valley, where it assumes a more staid demeanor and languidly flows in many a curve, at last finding an end in the waters of San Francisco Bay.
The next most important creek of Santa Clara County is the Guadalupe, so named after the patron saint of Mexico. It rises in the Sousal, about three miles southwest of San Jose, is fed by many tributaries and streams and runs in a northerly direction until it comes near the city, where it takes a northeasterly course and empties into San Francisco Bay near the mouth of the Coyote. Other streams are the Los Gatos, having its source in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and emptying into the Guadalupe at the foot of Santa Clara Street; the Almaden, the Llagas and the Uvas, south of San Jose and the Santa Ysabel, Smith Creek and the Arroyo Honda in the eastern foothills.
The geological and mineralogical features of Santa Clara Countv are of no little importance. Beginning with the eastern foothills there is a center of metamorphic cretaceous rocks, flanked by an enormous thickness of unaltered cretaceous strata, the latter consisting of sandstone with inter-stratified shales. A coarse conglomerate, the boulders in which are metamorphic rock, differing from that comprising the main mass of the mountains, is to be found on the outer margin of the hills toward the San Joaquin plains. The unaltered tertiary and cretaceous strata flank the entire range on the eastern side as far north as its junction with the Sierra Nevadas. The absence of the tertiary is marked by the precipitous nature of the range where it joins the plains, as opposed to the low-rolling hills where the tertiary overlies the cretaceous.
Along the eastern flank, the tertiary, as far as known, rests conformably upon the cretaceous. The metamorphic rocks have the same general character, being marked by jaspers, serpentine and occasionally, mica slate. Their limits are well indicated by the growth of forest trees. The summit of Pacheco Pass, as well as of those of other and higher peaks in a line crossing the range obliquely to the southeast, are of trachyte. This is the first known appearance of eruptive rock in the main Mount Diablo Range south of Suisun Bay. The tertiary is more extensively developed on the western than on the eastern side toward the north. The hills bordering the Santa Clara Valley on the east belong to this period. The rocks are altered in places. A tertiary ridge extends to the northwest, separating Santa Clara and Calaveras Valleys.
The geology of the belt of elevated land between Santa Clara Valley, the Bay of San Francisco, and the ocean, is rendered somewhat complicated by the intrusion of granitic rocks among the unaltered cretaceous and tertiary strata of which these hills are chiefly formed. Besides this geological formation, rocks similar in lithological character to those in the Mt. Diablo Range are found. Fossils sparingly are shown. A metamorphic belt extends from Redwood City, San Mateo County, to the southeast for a distance of about forty miles, forming the eastern end of the ridge and the summit of Mount Bache, 3,780 feet in height, and of other high points. Limestone in detached masses occurs at several places throughout this belt. Evidences of what was once, in all probability, a complete limestone belt, are found at various places, from the summit of Black Mountain, back of Mountain View, to as far south as the New Almaden mines, which lie in a ridge northwest of that formed by the metamorphic mass of Mounts Bache, Chaoal and others. It is to be seen on Los Gatos Creek, dipping to the northeast, and is less altered there than at other places where it is hard and compact, though not crystalline.
The New Almaden Mines.
By far the most interesting and important feature of the range is the presence of the extensive deposits of cinnabar in the metamorphic cretaceous rocks at the New Almaden mines, fourteen miles southwest of San Jose and lying in a ridge east of the main range.
The history of the mines has never been presented in better form than by the late Mrs. Carrie Stevens Walter, mother of Roy Walter, city auditor, Mrs. Charles M. Shortridge of Oakland, and Mary Walter of Los Angeles. It appeared in a handbook of Santa Clara County published by E. S. Harrison in 1887 and is as follows:
"Almaden--from two Arabic words, al,'the', and maden, 'mine'--was given to the most famous quicksilver mine in the world, located in Spain. Its namesake in Santa Clara County, having no superior, with the single exception above mentioned, deserves more than a passing notice in a work of this character. The New Almaden quicksilver mine is situated about fourteen miles southwest of San Jose, in a low range of hills running parallel to the Coast Range. Tradition states that this mine was known to the native Indians nearly a century ago, and that they used the ore to form a pigment paste by pounding and moistening it. In 1824 the existence of the mine was made known to Don Antonio Sunol, who worked it for silver, but not finding this metal, and not suspecting the real nature of the deposit, abandoned it at the end of a year. In November, 1845, a Mexican officer named Andres Castillero, visiting at Santa Clara Mission, was shown some of the ore, and while experimenting for silver, discovered quicksilver. He at once filed his right to the mine as a discoverer, according to the Mexican and Spanish law, after which he formed a stock company, dividing the mine into twenty-four shares. An American named William G. Chard was then employed, who commenced the reduction by charging a gun barrel with small pieces of ore, stopping the vent with clay, placing the muzzle into a barrel of water and building a fire around the other end. The mercury, being driven off by the heat in the form of a vapor, passed out at the muzzle, was condensed in the water and precipitated in the form of liquid quicksilver. Three or four gun barrels were thus employed for several weeks. Six whalers' try-pots were next obtained, capable of holding three or four tons of ore, and a sort of furnace formed by inverting three over the other three, by which some two thousand pounds of metal were reduced. About this time--1846--the mine was visited by Captain Fremont, who established its value at $30,000. Soon after this Barron, Forbes & Co., of Tepic, Mexico, became the principal stockholders and in 1847, J. Alexander Forbes, of the firm, arrived with laborers, funds and everything necessary to the proper working of the mine. A thorough examination gave so much promise that work was prosecuted with vigor. In 1850 furnaces were first constructed and large quantities of ore reduced under the superintendence of the late Gen. H. W. Halleck. As the true value of the mine became apparent disputes concerning the title arose. The company bought in two titles for protection. But matters became so complicated that in 1858 an injunction was placed on the mine, which remained until February, 1861, during which time no work was done. In 1864 the company disposed of the mine and all the improvements, including, 8,580 acres of land, for $1,700,000, to a company chartered under the laws of New York and Pennsylvania, as 'The Quicksilver Mining Company.'
"The workings of the mine past and present extend over an area the extreme limits of which could barely be included within a rectangular block 5,000 feet long from north to south, 6,000 feet wide from east to west and 2,300 feet in depth, counting from the summit of mine hill, the upward limit of the ore deposit. The workings do not cover all the area here indicated, but are very irregularly distributed within it. Mining experts will readily understand from this, but also from the fact that ore bodies seem to obey no special law of distribution, but are a puzzle to geologists, the difficulty offered in the working of this mine. In its famous rival, Almaden of Spain, the ore bodies are placed with remarkable regularity, increasing in richness as depth is obtained, and all included in a rectangular block 700 feet long by 350 broad, and 1,027 in depth. It may be interesting to pursue this comparison a little further. For instance: The average salary paid to workmen at the Spanish mine is sixty cents per day; at the New Almaden, about two dollars and forty cents. The number of workers employed at the Old Almaden, 3,126; at New Almaden, 460. The yield per ton of ore at New Almaden average more than twenty pounds of quicksilver; at Old Almaden the general average is about 200 pounds of quicksilver to the ton; the average cost of extracting per flask of seventy-six and one-half pounds at Old Almaden is $7.10; at New Almaden the cost is $26.38. It is safe to affirm that had the Spanish mine the same difficulties to overcome in working as are encountered at New Almaden, it would long since have shut down, despite the Rothschilds, it lessees. These facts naturally lead one to inquire something of the management of the Santa Clara County Almaden. The mine came under the control of J. B. Randol in 1870. At that time there was an interest-bearing debt against the property of $1,500,000. The amount of ore in sight was discouragingly small, the extraction very costly and the stockholders were so pushed to carry on the workings of the mine that they were compelled to raise $200,000 by subscription. The systems of working the mine were crude and expensive, furnaces and condensers imperfect, and the mine developed only to the 800 foot level, with one main shaft. Much of the ore was brought from lower to higher levels in bags made of ox-hide, carried by Mexicans by means of a strap over the forehead--from 140 to 200 pounds being conveyed at a load. In 1886, exploration and exploitation had been made in mine shafts, six of which were in active operation; there is a network of underground passages aggregating nearly fifty miles in length; mining work is carried on to a depth of 2,300 feet, while the machinery is the most complete and economical in the world. In those sixteen years 318,000 flasks of quicksilver have been reduced, over $5,000,000 disbursed for labor, and yet with a total profit to the owners of more than $4,000,000. The funded debt has been paid, large amounts expended in permanent improvements and over $1,000,000 declared in dividends. Up to 1887 more than half the world's supply of quicksilver came from California. A greater portion of this came from New Almaden.
"In those earlier days the social condition of the workmen, who were mostly Mexicans, was inferior. The place was noted for lawlessness and was a rendezvous for Mexican banditti. Little restraint was exercised over the men and gambling, drinking and other excesses were common. Large wages were paid and it was no uncommon occurrence for a man to be killed after pay day. Then there were no advantages of church or schools. Water for drinking and cooking was carried on donkeys and sold by the pailful."
Crime in the Early Days.
The historian will leave Mrs. Walter's description for awhile, to refer to some of the lawless characters who held forth at New Almaden in the early days.
In 1855 a quartet of outlaws, with headquarters
at New Almaden, terrorized Santa Clara Countv. The leader was one Francisco
Garcia, commonly called "Negro" Garcia on account of his Afro-Mexican origin,
and his associates were Indian Juan, Blas Angelino and Sebastiano Flores.
In the fall of 1855 Indian Juan concluded to turn over a new leaf. He would
sever his connection with the gang, go to Mexico and lead an honest life.
This intention was communicated to Garcia and
a demand was made for a division of the spoils acquired in the band's many raids. Garcia refused to make the division and hard words following culminating in Indian Juan's threat to go to San Jose and give himself up to the officers. Garcia, fearing that Juan would expose the lawless operations of the quartet, resolved to get him out of the way. On the 15th of December Garcia and Blas Angelino waylaid and killed Juan. Flores had been asked to assist in the affair and had refused. He was, however, a witness to the killing which was done so suddenly that he was unable to prevent it. This was the story he told when he appeared before S. O. Houghton, mayor of San Jose, and swore to a complaint charging Garcia and Angelino with murder. Angelino was arrested, tried, convicted and hanged. Garcia escaped and for seventeen years kept out of the way of the officers. In 1872 Sheriff John H. Adams, of Santa Clara County, learned that the fugitive was in Los Angeles. A telegraphic warrant led to the arrest. The prisoner was brought to San Jose to await trial for a murder committed seventeen years before. The historian saw him when he was in jail. He was then over sixty years of age, gray-haired and gray-bearded. He refused to discuss the crime of 1855 or to express any opinion on the action of Sebastiano Flores. At the trial Flores appeared as state's witness and the late Judge Francis E. Spencer defended the prisoner. In 1855 Blas Angelino had been convicted on both direct and circumstantial evidence. In 1872, on account of the lapse of time, no circumstantial evidence to supplement the testimony of Flores was forthcoming. It was therefore Flores' word against the word of Garcia. This raised a doubt and the jury resolved the doubt in favor of the defendant and acquitted him. But this was not the end of the matter. A few months later Garcia and Flores met near the Mission of San Jose. There was a quarrel which resulted in the killing of Garcia. Flores surrendered himself to the officers and in due time was placed on trial for murder. The testimony showed that Garcia was the aggressor and Flores was found not guilty.
Francisco (Pancho) Soto lived for some time at the New Almaden mines. The historian saw him in the late '70s at the summit of Mt. Hamilton. He was then the cook for a gang of laborers at work on the buldings of the Lick Observatory. The old man--he was over sixty at the time--with his tall, robust figure, patriarchal locks, flowing beard, placid face and large, full eyes of black, gave no hint of the dare-devil highwayman of twenty years before. His career was an exciting one. He was born to the saddle and in his younger days was one of the best horsemen in the state. Open-hearted, but reckless, gifted with a strong sense of humor, he lived a wild, free life until circumstances made him an outlaw. As a bold highwayman of the Dick Turpin type his name became a household word in Central and Southern California. Quick in action, fertile in resource and with friends galore among the Mexican-Spanish population, he managed for years to elude capture. Once he played a trick on pursuing officers that greatly increased his reputation. After the commission of a daring robbery the sheriffs of four counties started out to effect his capture. One night two of the pursuers stopped at a Mexican casa in the Livermore Valley. Soto came to the door. He was asked if he had seen Soto. The reply came quickly and without a change of countenance: "I expect him here tomorrow at daylight." The officers, who had never seen the outlaw, were overjoyed at this statement and prepared at once to stay overnight at the casa. That night, after they were asleep Soto relieved them of their weapons, and stampeded their horses. They awoke to see their entertainer in the act of riding away. "I'm Soto," he shouted. "Buenos noches, senors," and off he went into the night.
It was in New Almaden that Soto first stained his hands in the blood of his fellow man. He asserted at Mt. Hamilton that the killing was done in self-defense, but at the trial it was his word against strong circumstantial evidence and he was convicted and given a life sentence in San Quentin. The killing took place near the mine. Soto was pursued by Deputy Sheriff Patterson and on the Monterey road there was a running pistol fight and Patterson was shot in the leg so that amputation afterward became necessary. When Soto saw the officer fall he went to his assistance, bound up the wound, then rode to the Twenty-One Mile House and informed the proprietor that a man had been shot up the road and that there was urgent need of assistance. Soto was captured soon afterward. Through representations made by Patterson, who had not forgotten the outlaws kindness, Governor Newton Booth first commuted the sentence and later issued a full pardon. Leaving San Quentin Soto returned to San Jose and engaged in peaceful pursuits up to the time of his death.
In 1885 Augustin C. Hall was murdered in his own house on the New Almaden road, not far from the Hacienda. There were several things surrounding the act that indicated on the part of the perpetrators the most diabolical malignity. There were no signs outside of the house to indicate that a monstrous crime had been perpetrated. The horse of the murdered man grazed outside of the door and for days the neighbors, not suspecting anything wrong, passed and repassed the place. At last one of them opened the door and discovered the dead, mutilated body of Hall. At the inquest, held in San Jose, suspicion pointed to a resident of the city, but the trial, which lasted a week, resulted in his acquittal.
In the fall of that same year, at the house of Ignacio Berryessa, near the New Almaden mine, Santiago Berryessa killed Pedro Aravena, a native of Chile, under the following circumstances: Pedro had become enamored of the daughter of Ignacio, a young girl of fourteen years, but meeting with opposition from the girl's parents to a marriage, the pair went to Alviso and were joined in matrimony by a justice of the peace. In a short time the girl's parents became reconciled to the marriage and the married couple returned to Berryessa's house. One day Santiago Berryessa, the girl's uncle, saw the girl and her husband sitting in the house and without warning and with the utmost deliberation shot Aravena to death. The shot was fired through a window. The murdered escaped and was never apprehended.
On Sunday, June 29, 1856, the brother of the overseer of Mexican miners at New Almaden was killed by an Indian. The Indian was quarreling with an Irishman when the Mexican said to him: "Why do you abuse that man? He doesn't understand a word you say." Whereupon the Indian angrily answered, "Do you take it up?" and instantly plunged a knife into the body of the Mexican. The murderer was caught and hanged.
In November, 1856, Francisco Berryessa was mortally stabbed at his home near the New Almaden mines by Calista Lanra, a Chileno. He died the next morning. Calista was on friendly terms with the Berryessa family and came to the house on the evening of the stabbing. After partaking of some cakes, Calista started as if he intended leaving the house, but in fact, he concealed himself under the bed occupied by Francisco Berryessa and wife. There were several women in the house, one of whom knew of Calista's concealment. Berryessa's wife also discovered him and announced the fact to her husband. Berryessa ordered the Chileno to come out, and the order not being obeyed, Berryessa caught him by the hair of the head and pulled him out. On arising to his feet Calista drew a knife and stabbed Berryessa. The slayer escaped.
Samuel Phillips and his partner, a Mr. Nesbitt, attempted to open a banking house at the Enrequita mines, near New Almaden, on the evening of Saturday, August 3, 1861, when a general row took place, knives and pistols being freely used. A Spaniard was shot in the neck and killed instantly, and one or two others were seriously injured.
On the night of June 4, 1864, Joseph Pellegrini, a butcher doing business near New Almaden, was murdered in his room as he was in the act of retiring for the night. A butcher knife was used and he was stabbed to the heart. The house door was forced by breaking a lock and there was every evidence in the room of a terrific struggle. Pellegrini was a quiet, inoffensive man and the supposition was that he was killed for his money. The murderer was never found.
On the morning of June 5, 1864, a Mexican named Julian Almanea, who had lost an arm and who was the owner of a "dead fall" at Enrequita, had some words with Juan Jose Rodriguez. Pistols were drawn and Rodriguez was killed. Almanea fled but was arrested in Los Angeles in 1867.
In the early '80s Joe Ramirez killed a man at the New Almaden mines. He was tried in San Jose, convicted and hanged.
Mrs. Walter's description of the mines ends as follows:
"Now the visitor leaves the railway station two miles from the Hacienda, where are located the reduction works of the mine. Almost the first thing to greet the eye is a pretty school house with its groups of neat, tidy children. Two teachers are employed and four at the school on the hill, three miles further on, for ten months in the year, the school being in the regular county school system. Along the single street for half a mile are clean, pretty cottages, the homes of the Hacienda workmen, each cottage literally embowered in choice roses and other flowers. These houses are owned mostly by the company, who lease them to the workmen at from two dollars to five dollars per month. Cuttings are supplied free from the beautiful grounds of the manager, where are grown more varieties of roses than in any other place, perhaps, in the county. Along the street in front of the houses a stream of purest water is conducted in a channel for domestic purposes. The street is bordered with shade trees and a neat brick wall extends its entire length. Everywhere are seen signs of thrift and prosperity; the people look well kept and contented, while an all-pervading spirit of order and system extends to the remotest ramifications of this important industry.
"Three miles up a steep but well-graded road brings one to the mine proper, where are the great shafts with their huge engines, in one of which, the engine of the Buena Vista shaft, is a piece of iron weighing twelve tons. The miners are principally Mexican and Cornish. Two pretty church edifices, a Methodist and a Catholic, located at the Hill settlement, were built almost entirely from contributions by the company and manager. A social organization, called the 'Helping Hand,' for which the company erected and fitted up a club building, for the benefit of the workmen, has a fine library of nearly 500 volumes, besides a list of magazines and daily and weekly newspapers of the best published. There are held frequent entertainments, given by the members, and the society is a wonderful factor in the promotion of sociability, general information and mental culture.
"The miners' fund, to which each employe contributes one dollar per month, pays, among other expenditures for the good of the miners, the salary of a resident physician, whose services are gratuitous to the contributors. The value of this arrangement will be better understood when it is known that a great majority of the workmen are married men with families. The management encourages this class, feeling that, as a rule, it is more reliable and responsible that that composed of men with no domestic ties. The population of the settlement (1886) is about 1,400, of whom 600 are under twenty years of age."
In the late '70s Mary Hallock Foote, the artist and novelist, author of those charmingly written and popular mining camp stories, was a resident of New Almaden. Her husband, Arthur D. Foote, was the engineer of the mine. Mrs. Foote, having much time to spare outside of her household duties, made, during her residence on the Hill, many sketches of scenery and native types, which an Eastern magazine was glad to publish. Her work in this line might not have proceeded much further if her husband had succeeded in securing the Democratic nomination for surveyor of Santa Clara County. That was a Democratic year and nomination was equivalent to election. The convention was held in Music Hall, First Street, San Jose, and Mr. Foote, resolving to take a shy at politics in the hope that success might enable him to settle down, instead of having to move from one place to another in pursuit of his vocation as a mining engineer, announced himself as a candidate for the nomination. There was one other candidate, John Coombe, who was later killed by mistake in an altercation in a First Street saloon. Coombe was well known throughout the county. He was a good mixer and had politics at his fingers' ends, while Foote, on the other hand, was hardly known outside of New Almaden, though he was a man of conspicuous ability and unblemished reputation. Almost a stranger to the majority of the delegates and knowing little of the tricks of the political trade, his defeat by the ballot was not surprising. And yet the contest was close, for the fine impression created by his speech before the convention, together with his handsome, manly appearance, brought him many votes which were not his when the delegates were called together. The action of the convention settled the place of residence. When Foote's contract at New Almaden was up he went into the mining regions of the Rocky Mountains. Mining camps became the homes of Foote and his talented wife, and in those Western scenes Mrs. Foote had abundant opportunity for the cultivation of her literary and artistic gifts. All her stories--and she has written many--breathe the free, romantic western atmosphere, and all show a thorough acquaintance with western scenes and the habits, customs and mental attitude of the inhabitants.
At the present time (1922) the stockholders of the company have taken charge of the affairs of the mines. The shafts on the hill have not been worked for some time, but all the employes, over fifty in number, are working in a new mine, The Senator, situated about half-way between Almaden-on-the-Hill and Guadalupe. The prospects are most encouraging. The superintendent is Edmond Tussen, whose home is in Berkeley.
The Guadalupe quicksilver mine is situated two miles north of Almaden on the eastern slope of the mountains, the fissures or canyons being near the juncture of the metamorphic rock and oil-bearing formation. The Guadalupe Creek comes out of the Coast Range near this point, dividing the surface of the deposit into two parts, though the ore was found in a continuous body below the creek. Here are the white cottages of the workmen, a pretty residence for the superintendent and extensive reduction works. Owing to the low price of quicksilver, work was practically suspended for several years, but now, with the discovery of ore in a ridge never before worked and with prices better than usual, there is every prospect of successful operation.
The Enrequita mine, two miles to the southwest of New Almaden, is the property of the Almaden Company. It has been a small producer. South of the San Jose Cemetery is the Old Chapman mine. It was never a paying proposition and many years ago work was stopped, never to be resumed.
Mineral Springs of the County
The mineral springs of Santa Clara County are noteworthy and valuable. One mile above Saratoga and northwest from it, on Campbell Creek, are situated the Pacific Congress Springs, so called because of their resemblance to the waters of the famous Congress Springs of Saratoga, N. Y. This is one of California's most picturesque and popular watering places and has always been in great favor as a winter resort. It is open the year round. There are at this place several springs. They are but a foot or two deep, being excavated from the sandstone, the lower one receiving the drainage of the others. It sends off a stream about two inches in size. The waters from these springs are so nearly alike that the difference can hardly be determined by the taste. By analysis it is shown to contain 335.857 grains of solid matter to the gallon, composed as follows: Chloride of sodium, 119.159; sulphate of soda, 12.140; carbonate of soda, 123.351; carbonate of iron, 14.030; carbonate of lime, 17.295; and silica alumina with a trace of magnesia, 49.882. It is considered a healthful and refreshing beverage and has gained much favor with the public. The place is connected with Saratoga, Los Gatos and San Jose by the Peninsular Railroad.
The now well-known Madrone Mineral Springs are situated in Burnett Township, about twenty-five miles southeast of San Jose, in the Coast Range, at an altitude of 2,000 feet. The location is in a sheltered and picturesque canyon at the foot of Pine Ridge. The place is free from fogs, the atmosphere is pure and invigorating, and the temperature is mild and pleasant. The mountains are clothed with such trees as pine, oak, maple, laurel and madrone, while medicinal plants are found in profusion. The early traditions of the Madrone Springs state that they were known to the Indians and there is little doubt that they were the "medicine waters" of one of their tribes, for many relics in the shape of mortars, hatchets, arrowheads and the like have been, and are still being, turned up in all directions. The springs are situated six miles north of the Gilroy Hot Springs, connecting with which there is a bridle path. There is a fine road to Madrone Station on the Southern Pacific Railway. The Springs contain one of natural soda water, the principal elements of which are soda, iron and magnesia. This has proved of great medicinal virtue in dyspepsia, liver complaints, kidney diseases and neuralgic affections. Another is strongly impregnated with iron and arsenic, which for debility, skin diseases, asthma and other kindred affections has proved an excellent curative. There is a white sulphur spring, which is also utilized, while guests may be supplied with hot and cold baths of natural soft water. The improvements made are extensive and up-to-date.
About twelve miles from Gilroy, in a small, rocky ravine in the Coyote Canyon near the headwaters of that creek, where the mountains, timber clad to their summits, rise several hundred feet on both sides of that stream, Francisco Cantua, a Mexican sheepherder, while hunting for some of his stray flock, discovered, in 1865, what are now these famous springs. He lost no time in filing a squatter's claim to the place, and for some years used it as a camping ground for himself and friends. It is not probable that the Indians were aware of the existence of the springs, for no remains have been found. Besides, the hills were in early days much infested by wild beasts, a fact that may account for their lack of knowledge on the subject. Cantua sold his interest to George Roop, who at once commenced the grading of a road to the springs, the erection of houses and the general clearing and adornment of the locality. In addition to a large, commodious hotel, there are fifteen cottages for families, garage, dancing pavilion, swimming tank, sixteen bathrooms, and other conveniences of a first-class health resort; one hundred and fifty guests can be accommodated. The hot spring possesses remarkable medicinal qualities. It has a nearly uniform temperature of 118 degrees and contains in solution sulphur, iron, soda, magnesia, baryta, arsenic (in small quantities) and alum in small quantities. It is pungent but by no means unpleasant to the taste. Within fifteen feet of the hot springs there are a dozen or more large springs of pure, cold water, while nearly three-fourths of a mile away from the hotel there is a romantically situated garden, where everything from an orange to a turnip will flourish. The place is supplied with telegraph and telephone communication, and in 1873 a postoffice was there established. The site of the Gilroy Hot Springs is 1,240 feet above the sea level, in the very heart of the mountains, amidst groves of pine and oak, in which game abound, while near by the Coyote affords a harvest of trout to the angler. No more charming resort for the pleasure-seeker or the invalid is to be found on the Pacific Coast. W. J. McDonald is the manager.
There are other mineral springs in the county, not the least important of which are the springs in Alum Rock Canyon on the City Reservation, detailed reference to which will be given in another chapter devoted to a description of San Jose's pleasure resorts.
The Oil Development
There is oil in Santa Clara County. Several spots have been developed to some extent; others have not. Near Sargent, at the southern end of the county, wells have been bored and oil extracted. In Moody's Gulch, a branch of the Los Gatos Canyon, several wells have been bored and for many years oil, with a paraffin base, has been extracted, most of the time in paying quantities. For the first ten years the output was over 80,000 gallons. The work was started by R. C. McPherson in 1873. The only fuel used was natural gas. Of late years the work has been intermittent, lack of funds often preventing development. The property is now (1922) owned by the Trigonia Oil Company, and extensive developments are now in progress.
North of Los Gatos oil has been found, though
there have not been any operations for several years. Indications of oil
have also been found in Alum Rock Canyon and in other portions of the county.
Some day, perhaps, when the country's supply of oil shows signs of giving
out, other and more determined attempts to develop Santa Clara County's
oil resources will be made.