Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

Saturday, February 11, 2017

I Spy . . . Pieces from the Past

I spy with my little eye an old-timey clock and valentines displayed in the San Juan Bakery window. Precious!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

I Spy . . . a Loving Tribute

I spy with my little eye a memorial to the courageous men and women who died in World War II.

You can see this statue of Michael the Archangel called the "Winged Victory" on the grounds of the Immaculate Conception Church in Tres Pinos. The church is on the south end of the village, right beside Highway 25 (Airline Highway to us, locals).

The statue was built by Edward Matthews who also built the church grottos and other statues in memory of his son who died at the age of 14.  The "Winged Victory" was specifically erected as a tribute to the sons and daughters who fought for us in WWII. The plaque reads:
Tres Pinos Memorial of the Great World War
Dec. 7, 1941 - Aug. 14, 1945
For God and Country
For Peace and Freedom

Friday, November 6, 2015

Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs

Some of you may recall picnicking, hiking trails, dipping your toes in the mineral springs, or swimming in the freshwater pool at the Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs in the eastern foothills outside of Gilroy. The resort closed its gates to the public in the 1980s. Today, it is part of Henry Coe State Park.  

A couple of weeks ago the Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs celebrated its 20th year as a historic landmark. It's a California Historical Landmark as well as on the list of the National Register of Historic Places. 

The resort has an amazing history that dates back to 1865 when Francisco Cantua stumbled upon the mineral springs while seeking lost sheep from his flock. He claimed the area and turned it into a campground, but shortly afterwards sold the property to George Roop. He, in turn, with the help of partners, developed the hot springs into a big-time resort. By, 1874, a large hotel and 18 cottages were built, which could house up to 300 visitors. 

And, people did come. Locally as well as from far away. Many, including the rich and famous, such as Adolph Sutro, James Phelan, and Claus Spreckels, from San Francisco took the three-hour train ride to Gilroy, stayed overnight at a hotel, then, the next morning, jostled for three hours in a horse and buggy on 12 miles of dirt paths to the hot springs. Visitors often stayed for one or two weeks. The springs was considered the best in California, and until the mid-1930s, it was a popular destination place. 

In 1938, Harry K. Sakata, a well-known lettuce grower in Watsonville, bought the property and changed the name to Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs. Yamato is the word for Japanese. Sakata's goal was to develop a retreat for Japanese Americans.

Then came the U.S. entry into World War II and the internment of the Japanese American population in very remote locations. Sakata's Caucasian business partners took over the management of the hot springs, returning the property to Sakata after the war. In the postwar years, Sakata invited interned families to live on the property as a place to transition back into American society. 

The famous hotel and clubhouse are no more, nor the soaking pools or the freshwater swimming pool. Many of the cabins are still on the grounds in various stages of disrepair, which are being renovated by volunteers known as the Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs (GYHS), formerly known as the Friends of Gilroy Hot Springs. GYHS is a subgroup of the Pine Ridge Association, the nonprofit group that provides interpretive programs for Henry Coe State Park. GYHS' goals are to protect, preserve, and restore the site and its historic buildings, as well as to re-establish the landmark for public use.

The public can visit Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs when GYHS hold guided tours, which are usually the 2nd Saturday and 4th Sunday of the month. To ensure one is available, call GYHS at 408-314-7185 or send an email to info<at>gilroyyamatohotsprings<dot>org. 

By the way,  GYHS is seeking a campground host, with his or her own trailer or motor home, to live on the site. For more information, contact GYHS. 

Check out these websites to learn more about the Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs
• Gilroy Hot Springs History (The Valley of Hearts Delight)
• Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs (Wikipedia) 

For more of my photos and a bit more story about the Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs, please click here

The once-upon-a-time swimming pool

Sunday, October 18, 2015

See Dar Tree?

Okay, a bad pun. Seriously, have you ever noticed this very, very tall and beautiful cedar tree on Fifth Street?

Bertha Briggs (as in the Bertha Briggs Memorial Youth Center on Memorial Drive) planted the tree as a sapling in her front yard in the 1900s.  Sharlene of the San Benito County Historical Society said Mrs. Briggs brought the cedar sapling back from a trip to Lake Tahoe.

A Hollister native, Mrs. Briggs lived from April 3, 1874 to August 13, 1962. Her parents were Hollister pioneers William and Delia Johnson. Mrs. Briggs was known for her many wonderful community deeds, including donating generously to Hazel Hawkins Hospital and organizing the Girl Scouts and Women's Club in Hollister. You can read a bit more about Mrs. Bertha Briggs in the book Hollister by Joseph M. McMahon and Peter Sonne.

This is a Western Red Cedar tree, which is indigenous to Western North America. Experts say that this species can live over a thousand years old. Mrs. Briggs' tree is a baby. Wowza!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Victorian "Pumpkin House"

This two-bedroom Victorian-style house on Fifth Street was built around 1900 for a young couple named L.H and Myrtle Barker, who were married the previous year.

The house is on the self-guided tour of historical houses in Hollister. It was recently on sale, and according to the property details, the Victorian was restored in 2003. It's known as the Pumpkin House because of its colors.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

TBT: The Original Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital

This Take 25 to Hollister post was originally published on August 11, 2009. 

Show of hands, Hollister folks: Who was born in this here building?

You. You. You. Me. You over there on the other side of the world. And a whole lot more.

This building stands at 910 Monterey Street. The corner of Monterey and Hawkins streets, to be exact. It’s the original Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital, which was built and presented to the city of Hollister by Mr. Thomas S. Hawkins.

Mr. Hawkins was one of the city’s founders. His granddaughter, the Hazel Hawkins, the sweetie of his heart, died from appendicitis in 1902. She was only nine years old. According to the story I’ve heard, Mr. Hawkins felt she may have lived if there had been the proper medical facility in town. So, he built one for the community as a tribute to his “Little Sunshine.”

Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital opened in November 1907 and served as the community hospital until the hospital district was formed in 1957. In 1962, the hospital moved into its modern digs on Sunset Drive. Today, Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital is part of the San Benito Health Care District which also includes skilled nursing facilities and a home health agency.

The old hospital building was used as a nursing home for many years. Then, somewhere along the line, it was turned it into an office building. And that's what it is today. The hair stylist who does my hair had her salon there for several years, which gave me a chance to prowl the corridors.

It’s a very beautiful building, as you can see. If you ever have a chance, pop in and take a glance of what’s inside. The left (or south) corridor especially. I'll just leave it at that. (Update: These ceiling decorations may have been taken down.)

By the way, does anyone know where the baby nursery used to be? The surgery? Just wondering.

Here are a couple of links to learn more about the hospital and the Hawkins family:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Open House at the Luck Museum

This Saturday, October 10, 2015, the San Juan Bautista Historical Society will be holding an open house at the Carl Luck Memorial Park on the corner of Third and Monterey Streets in San Juan Bautista. The free event will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Here's the schedule for the day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Hitching Post

On the north side of Hawkins Street, between Monterey and San Benito Streets, is this concrete hitching post from a long time ago. Perhaps as far back as the early 1900s. If anyone knows more about this hitching post, please leave a comment.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mission Burial Ground

The Mission San Juan Bautista cemetery overlooks the San Andreas Fault and the San Juan Valley. This burial ground is accessed through the mission. Historians say that over 4,000 people of the Mutsun tribe were buried in the cemetery during the mission period. The last Mutsun was buried there in 1930.

Friday, September 4, 2015

100+ Year Old Palm Trees in Tres Pinos

These very, very tall palm trees stand in front of the old Tres Pinos School, which today is a private residence. Designed by Frank Delos Wolfe, the building is a beautifully crafted example of California prairie architecture. The trees were planted when the school was built around 1915. Click here to see a photo of the old school 100 years ago.

By the way, generations of Tres Pinos School children left their marks on the trunks on the old palms. Some of them are still visible.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

San Juan Bautista Honors its Past

While I was walking around San Juan Bautista earlier this week, I kept coming across amazing things that showed how people and groups appreciate each other. For instance, the dedication of a bench to someone; the restoration of an old, old residence to its original look; and the display of a company's safety award within the community rather than at the company itself. Seeing all this made me feel good.

The Pico-Boronda Adobe on Fourth Street was built in 1840 by Rafael Pico, a Basque sheepherder. One of the four original adobes still standing in San Juan, it has been the home of the San Juan Bautista chapter of the Native Daughters of the Golden West since 1934.  The Native Daughters restored the building in 1935. (Details from the San Juan Bautista Historic District Walking Tour pamphlet.)

Located amongst the trees in the Carl Martin Luck Memorial Park is a concrete bench dedicated to Ann Baccala, who was a major figure the San Juan community. The plaque on the bench reads: "In memory of Ann Baccala who unselfishly gave her love, time, and devotion to the City of San Juan Bautista." 

Under the trees at Abbe Recreational Park is a concrete bench dedicated to Pimi Rodriquez, who was San Juan's public works chief for many years. I came across this 1993 article about San Juan in which the reporter wrote how Rodriquez worked without pay because of budget problems. 

Sitting at the edge of the baseball field in the Abbe Recreational Park is this beautiful plaque of a safety award that was presented to the Ideal Cement Company in 1960. The company operated a cement plant and quarry in San Juan Canyon from the 1920s to the 1970s. (Details from the San Juan Bautista Historic District Walking Tour pamphlet.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Luck Museum and Jim Jack's Cabin

The Luck Museum, more formally known as the San Juan Bautista Historical Society Luck Museum, stands at the corner of Monterey and Third Streets in San Juan Bautista. The museum is open by appointment. Check out the San Juan Bautista Historical Society website for contact information.

The museum was originally a gas station owned by Carl Martin Luck. The building and the grounds, which is today the Carl Martin Luck Memorial Park was donated to San Juan Bautista by Franchesca Luck, his daughter, in 1974. The historical society plans to restore the building to its original 1930s design.

For more about the museum, check out this article recently published in the Mission Village Voice.

During the late 19th Century, a Chinese man named Jim Jack lived in the one-room cabin that stands behind the Luck Museum.  Its original location was on Mission Vineyard. Jim Jack was known as The Mustard King for his work of clearing wild mustard from the grain fields in San Juan Valley and selling the mustard seeds to French mustard manufacturers for big money.

According to the stories I've read, Jim Jack was a generous man who bought flour, potatoes, and other provisions to give away to people in need in San Juan Bautista. He also bought many bags of candy that he gave to children.

To learn more about the man, check out this article by Martin Cheek in The Gilroy Dispatch, as well as the story on page 2 in the September 2011 San Juan Bautista Historical newsletter.

Jim Jack's Cabin in the Carl Martin Luck Memorial Park.

Monday, August 10, 2015

San Juan Plaza

This week, I shall be featuring random digital art photos of San Juan Bautista. That sweet old mission town. Today, you're looking at the Castro-Breen House in San Juan Plaza, an original Spanish-era plaza.

Do you like ghost stories? Check out this article from the Hollister Free Lance about some of the ghosts of San Juan Bautista.  The stories scared me so much I couldn't finish the article.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Fremont Memorial Tunnel

A long time ago, a tunnel was built beneath Fourth Street so that schoolchildren could safely cross the busy street to go to and from Fremont School, which used to be where the present-day courthouse stands.

Recently, a mural honoring the memory of Fremont School and the schoolchildren was painted on the Fourth Street underpass. It's an amazing mural, full of life and brilliant colors.

The designer, Arturo Rosette, the Fine Arts Chair at Gavilan College, based the mural on photos he found in the San Benito County Historical Society's archives. The silhouettes are of children who went to Fremont School, including the mural's painter, Roy Darr II.

For more about the mural, check out this story by John Chadwell at And, to check out another Downtown Hollister mural designed by Arturo Rosette, click here.

Today is the Monday Mural meme, hosted by Oakland Daily Photo. Click here to check out other murals from around the world.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Gas, P.U.

The high cost of gas, that's what's P.U.! It's summer so, of course, prices are climbing again. Today, the lowest prices range from $3.27 to $3.69. Heaven only knows what it shall be tomorrow.

It was a treat to see a few vintage gas pumps in San Benito Tire Pros & Automotive  on Nash Road the other day, which once upon a time was a gas station.

Ah, the old days when you pulled into a gas station and someone immediately came out to pump the gas, check the level of the brake fluid, and wash your front and back windows. And, if you asked, he would check the air in your tires. All that service whether you were there for a full or partial tank of gasoline.

Today I'm participating in Our World Tuesday. If you'd like to join or check out posts by other participants, click here.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Sunday Flashback -- Early 1990s

You're looking north on San Benito Street. Not much different, right?

Look closer.  Johnny's Bar & Grill doesn't have the mural we see today on it. That gets painted in 1996.

See The Vault building on the corner, across the street. No? It's the two-story green building. The Vault won't be open for another several more years.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Hollister

The Moving Wall, the replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (also known as The Wall) in Washington D.C., is on display at Dunne Park, on Seventh and Powell Streets. It's open for free viewing 24 hours a day during the Hollister Freedom Rally.

Completed in 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was built to honor the military men and women who served within the combat zone consisting of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and other coastal areas. The names on the wall are the 58,272 military personnel who were killed or remain missing in action since 1959.  For more details about the memorial, please click here.

The Moving Wall was created to bring the memorial to people who may not be able to visit the actual one in Washington, D.C. The replica is half the size of the memorial. It has criss-crossed the United States every year for more than 30 years. For info about the Moving Wall, please click here.

John Caldwell wrote a wonderful article in about The Moving Wall coming to town. It includes an interview with local veteran Bernie Rameriz who remembers the seven Hollister men who were killed in action and are noted on The Wall. To read "A moving memorial to Vietnam vets comes to Dunne Park", please click here.

During the Moving Wall's stay in Hollister, it is being hosted by the following groups. Thank you for sponsoring its display in our community.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Sunday Flashback: Waiting for the Bus

When I was a first grader in 1960, I had to wait for the bus at the corner of Shore Road and San Felipe Road, across from Dunneville Market, in front of old rumble-tumble abandoned buildings. A lot of times I was by myself. It could get pretty spooky for a kid with a crazy imagination.



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