Jose Maria Alviso Adobe, California

Welcome sign

It will only be a couple of weeks before I go ship to Great Lakes and another adventure close by won’t hurt.  Sam and I decided to go to a hidden historical park at the edge of San Jose by Milpitas. We took the Piedmont Road and found it by the foothills. It was empty and we explored around the park. As we do here is the start of the history.

The Adobe Home

“In 1835, Jose Maria de Jesus Alviso built a one-story adobe home for himself, his wife Juana Galindo and their nine children. At the time, it was one of several adobe buildings on the rancho. In 1850 Alviso modernized the house into the popular Monterey style of the time. The renovations included the addition of a second floor, wood balconies on three sides, a wood shingle hipped roof, French doors, and multi-paned windows. The house is the only remaining example of the Monterey style in the Santa Clara Valley and San Francisco Bay Area.

The property and adobes were purchased by the Cuciz family in 1922. The family restored the adobe home in 1922. The family restored the adobe home faithfully to the Monterey style and replaced a lean-to kitchen with a new kitchen addition. Other adobes on the site were torn down. Before the City of Milpitas acquired the Alviso Adobe in 1996, it was the oldest continuously occupied adobe house in California dating from the Mexican period (1821-1848).

Garage tower

The building is the result of a major remodeling completed by 1853 by the Alviso family. They added a wood-frame second floor to the family’s one-story adobe house. Before the remodeling in 1853, the earlier building, built around 1837, most likely as a one-story adobe, provided the thick adobe walls of the first floor. The Alviso Adobe is a two-story residence with a hipped roof and a balcony carried on three sides. The plan of the rectangular residence is symmetrical, comprising three rooms downstairs with three upstairs rooms. The Alviso Adobe contains a remarkable amount of historic fabric—adobe walls from the 1830s, examples of framing and doors, windows, hardware from 1853 and an almost intact 1920s kitchen. It is unusual to find a building as little altered over a period of 150 years.”

We walked around the grounds, and tried to enter the main adobe but unfortunately it was closed. All we can do was to look around the house and the balconies, then we proceeded to the gardens where it has more information about the area and the valley.

The Santa Clara Valley

The Cuciz family’s apricot orchard was one of the nearly 25,000 fruit tree orchards in the Santa Clara Valley in the 1920s. The orchards predominantly grew prunes, apricot and cherries. The agricultural valley also produced carrots, almonds, tomatoes, plums, walnuts, pears and more.

1890s Adobe

Family-run orchards supplied the growing demand for dried fruit throughout the USA, making the valley the largest production and processing region in the world. The valley also was home to cattle ranches and dairy farms.

Immigrants from all over the world, including China and Japan, came to work in the valley. It remained rural and agricultural until soon after WWII when suburban development started to spread throughout the valley.

The California Sycamore Tree

“The California sycamore tree, Platanus racemosa, is also known as Western sycamore or California plane tree. It is a riparian tree that grows wherever water is readily available such as near streams, rivers, flood plains, canyons and at springs and seeps. It can grow to over 80 feet tall and live up to 400 years.

It is stated that this tree started its life shortly before the Civil War when Jose Alviso’s family lived on the rancho, around 1860. Because of its impressive size, age and historic significance, the City of Milpitas designated this California sycamore tree as a Heritage Tree.

We took some photos and there wasn’t much to see in the area so we just enjoyed the serenity of the area and amazed at how preserve it was and how clean the park is. To end this little trip here is the rest of its history.

Modernization

“Between 1925 and 1929, the Cuciz family built the water tower, garage and the cutting shed to support their farm and new apricot orchards.

Water from an underground artesian aquifer was stored in the water from where it was distributed throughout the property. In the early rancho days, water was taken from the creek; a water supply that was seasonally limited. By accessing the 75-foot-deep underground water reservoir, the family business was no longer dependant on rainfall, allowing their farm to flourish.

The family used the garage for storing and maintaining essential farming equipment, such as the John Bean insecticide sprayer used in the orchards, and for tinkering on their Ford Model-A. During harvest season, the water tower’s ground floor and the garage both housed seasonal farmworkers. Electricity came to the farm by 1927.”

Here is the link for more information:

http://www.milpitashistory.org/alviso/alviso.html

Say Cheez!

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