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New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association

Welcome to the New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association (NAQCPA) website. Our purpose is to promote the educational and interpretive activities of the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department, particularly in Almaden Quicksilver County Park. This page is an archive of past news.

  2015 News:

There was a NAQCPA meeting at the New Almaden Community Club on May 13, 2015 at 7 pm. County Parks staff member Julie Lee came to discuss the use of the Casa Grande for events. She talked about noise issues from these events and is looking for community feedback. If you have concerns, contact Julie at the Casa Grande at (408) 323-1107.

Hacienda cleanup 5/16/15
National River Cleanup Day was on Saturday May 16, 2015 from 9 am to 12 pm. It was held at multiple locations, including the Hacienda entrance at Almaden Quicksilver. See May 16 on the event calendar below for details.  Here are pictures from the event.

Bell house being placed on the tower 10/7/15

Completed Bell Tower with Bruce Bartlett and Doug Hamilton

Bell Tower Sign
NAQCPA members have been working on the Bell Tower at the Hacienda entrance to the park. It holds an historic bell that is similar to the one that was used in the fire bell tower at the Hacienda Area of New Almaden in the 1880's. It was used to warn the town of a fire and call the volunteer fire department to action. Besides housing a fire bell, it was used for storing fire hoses. The new tower is based on the design of the old tower. The second floor walls were pre-assembled at the Casa Grande and were placed on top of the first story. The first picture shows the bell house being placed on top of the tower on 10/7/15, with the crane provided by Lim and Sons. The bell could then be rung. Finishing touches--siding, window, and door--were added later. The bell tower was dedicated at Pioneer Day on October 10. The second picture shows how the tower looked on 1/20/16. Bruce Bartlett, who designed and managed the construction of the tower, is on the left. Doug Hamilton, who provided the forklift that was used in the tower's construction, is on the right. The third picture shows the interpretive sign that is now mounted on the bell tower to the left of the door. It shows how the tower originally looked in 1924. The tower construction is now complete. See this Facebook album for pictures of the tower construction. The tower construction was funded by NAQCPA. A NAQCPA volunteer work crew met every Wednesday to build the tower. Along with Bruce and Doug, the team consisted of Rich Robertson, Mike Boulland, Terry Eggert, and Kitty Monahan.

New restroom at the Hacienda entrance
The new restroom at the Hacienda entrance has been completed and is now open. There is a high-tech drinking fountain there, with a filtered water dispenser and dog-watering dish. (Picture taken 5/13/15.) Note that because of plumbing problems, the restroom was closed for several months. The problems have been fixed, so the restroom is open again.

Ron Horii's award-winning picture of the Casa Grande
Ron Horii entered this picture of the Casa Grande, taken on 3/28/15, in the Visual San Jose Historic Photo Contest. It won first place in the non-professional category. Awards were given in a ceremony at Southern Lumber on 6/16/15, which was the last event at Southern Lumber before it closed. The picture appeared in newspaper and magazine articles about the contest, such as issue 7.2 of Content Magazine, the Summer 2015 issue of PACSJ's Continuity magazine, and the June 19, 2015 issue of Almaden Resident newspaper. The picture will eventually be on display at the Casa Grande.

Almaden Quicksilver Billboard on Monterey Road
The County Parks Department has an ad campaign called "Nature is Nearby." They have billboards all over San Jose showing different County Parks. Most are within a half hour's drive from the billboard location. The driving time is shown. This is the billboard on Almaden Quicksilver. It's on Monterey Road just south of Metcalf Road and just before the Metcalf Energy Center power plant. It uses Ron Horii's picture of the view from the end of the Catherine Tunnel Trail. (Picture taken 7/5/15.)

Mountain lion and bobcat displays at the Casa Grande
There was a presentation at the Casa Grande on 7/30/15 on mountain lions and bobcats. Park Interpreter Chris Carson Seals (above) was one of the presenters, along with Natural Resources Manager Don Rocha. After giving a slideshow presentation, they showed artifacts, like the ones above.  Coincidentally, earler on the same day, a mountain lion was spotted at the corner of Hicks Road and Alamitos Road by Almaden Reservoir. It was seen by NAQCPA members and park staff, including Ann Laverty, who took the picture below:

Mountain lion at Hicks Road and Alamitos Road, 7/30/15

Mountain lion warning sign
This warning sign about mountain lions was at the Mockingbird Hill Lane entrance on 8/11/15.

Webb Canyon water tank
Some neighbors in the Almaden Valley around Webb Canyon have expressed concerns about a proposed 41-foot T-Mobile cellphone monople antenna to be installed next to the water tank above the Webb Canyon entrance to Almaden Quicksilver That area is adjacent to, but outside the park. It's listed under City of San Jose Plan SP15-006. There was a community meeting to discuss it on 8/10/15. According to city planners, the community was in acceptance of the plan, though some members wanted more trees planted to act as a visual barrier. The project is still under review.

Piano at the Hacienda Staging Area to Almaden Quicksilver

There are pianos in the County Parks. Above is a piano at Hellyer County Park. There is one at the Hacienda entrance to Almaden Quicksilver County Park. The Parks Department has partnered with Sunset Piano to place pianos in 5 parks for their "Bach to Nature - Pianos in the Parks" month-long event. The pianos are in Vasona, Stevens Creek, Hellyer, Anderson, and Almaden Quicksilver and will be there until Oct 5. This is what the Parks Department says about the piano in Quicksilver: "Almaden Quicksilver houses the most beautiful piano, near the Hacienda trail entrance. This dramatic location beneath the multi-armed tree provides stunning views of the golden hills, lets the sound soar with the eagles, and provides the background music for a leisurely equestrian ride. Dramatic shading creates a feeling of being in an old Speakeasy where all are welcome to share a story, a song, a smile, a hope. Already a historic gem, this location will last in your memory forever." Here are pictures of the pianos in the parks.

Volunteers helping with landscaping at the Casa Grande 9/11/15
There was a service day on 9/11/15. 3 volunteers from EMC showed up, along with docent Ron Horii, and helped park maintenance with landscaping work at the Casa Grande. They moved 10 cubic yards of redwood mulch to replace water-thirsty grass.

Mulch replacing grass at the Casa Grande 9/11/15
This is where the 10 cubic yards of redwood bark mulch went to, replacing grass. The volunteers delivered the mulch. Park maintenance workers removed the grass, spread out the mulch, and planted trees.

Minions in the Jump-In Parade
This year's New Almaden Day and Jump-In Parade was held on Saturday, September 12, 2015. The parade started at 11:00 am at the New Almaden Community Center and circled around New Almaden on Bertram Road and Almaden Road. Anyone could jump in and join the parade. Above are the Minions and Grue. Afterwards, there was a celebration carnival and BBQ lunch at the Community Center. This year's grand Marshall was Ron Horii.

Mike Boulland and Joan Murphy at the Hacienda Cemetery 9/25/15
0n 9/25/15, park docents Joan Murphy (left) and Mike Boulland (right) gave a bat and ghost tour of New Almaden. They started with a slideshow in the Casa Grande, then walked around New Almaden. Joan talked about bats and pointed out where bats roosted. Mike pointed out historic sites and told ghost stories. Here he is at the Hacienda Cemetery. There was another ghost tour on 10/30/15.

Bell tower and old firetruck at Pioneer Day, 10/10/15
The bell tower was dedicated on Pioneer Day, 10/10/15. The Santa Clara County Fire Department provided the antique fire truck and gave kids a ride around New Almaden.

Geocaching class at the Wood Road entrance, 10/17/15
On October 17, 2015, docent Sam Drake taught a geocaching class at the Hicks/Wood Road staging area. He's been giving these classes for several years. Here are pictures from a previous class. After giving an introductory talk and demonstration at the trailhead, Sam had the class divide up into groups and follow experienced geocachers on the Wood Road Trail to look for geocaches. (Here is more about what geocaching is.)

Volunteer Recognition BBQ, Santa Teresa Park, 10/17/15
On October 17, 2015, the 20th Annual Volunteer Program Recognition Barbecue luncheon was held at the Pueblo Group Picnic Site in Santa Teresa Park. Volunteers were recognized and thanked for their service, totalling 65,478 hours. Staff and rangers served lunch. Here are pictures from the event.

Tony Pierce property for sale
The 3-acre dairy property, including the house, was once owned by Tony Pierce and is for sale.

Pierce Ridge Entrance
The 41-acre undeveloped Pierce Ridge, owned by Joe Pierce, is also for sale, independent of the dairy ranch site.

On either side of the McAbee Road entrance to Almaden Quicksilver are 2 pieces of private property that were once part of the 250-acre Pierce Dairy Farm. There is a 3-acre parcel north of the entrance that was owned by the late Tony Pierce. It contains a house and old dairy buildings. It has a large graded area. Because it adjoins McAbee Creek, there are environmental restrictions on development of the property. It is for sale, but the County is not planning to make an offer for it. On the south side of the McAbee Entrance is undeveloped 41.5-acre parcel, owned by Tony Pierce's brother, Joe Pierce. The County is interested in buying it and has made an offer, but private developers are also interested in it. Here are pictures of the McAbee entrance and the part of Almaden Quicksilver around itHere is a tour of Pierce Ridge.

Senador Mine Sign, 8/18/15
Senador Mine sign, 11/17/15
The El Senador Mine sign had become faded and barely readable. The first picture above is from 8/18/15, which shows how bad it was. It was replaced with a new duplicate sign, sometime in early November. The second picture is from 11/17/15. There are other signs in the park that are similarly faded. They will be replaced eventually.

Casa Grande decorated for Christmas

Casa Grande decorated for the holidays.
Near the end of November, the Casa Grande was decorated for the holidays.

Kitty Monahan at the Quicksilver Holiday Boutique, 12/5/15
On 12/5/15, the annual Quicksilver Holiday Boutique was held at the Casa Grande. Here's Kitty Monahan at the NAQCPA table, which had books and notecards for sale. She is holding a notecard made by Ron Horii, with his award-winning picture of the Casa Grande. Here are more pictures from the Holiday Boutique.

Ron Horii's pictures on display at the Casa Grande
Mike Boulland and Chris Carson Seals are pointing to Ron Horii's pictures, which are on display on the wall on the bottom floor of the Casa Grande. These five are of Almaden Quicksilver, showing the Rotary Furnace, the Hanging Tree, the Casa Grande (the same picture that won the award above), the Catherine Tunnel Trail view, and the garage at English Camp. 

Ron Horii's pictures of Santa Teresa Park and Martial Cottle Park
In the adjoining room on the bottom floor, on display above the fireplace, Ron Horii has a picture of the Cottle Ranch House at Martial Cottle Park (right), which won Best of Show at the San Jose Historic Photo Contest in 2014, along with a picture of the Santa Teresa Spring area in Santa Teresa Park (left).

Mountain lion notice from 12/7/15
This notice was posted on the County Parks' Facebook page on 12/8/15. They said the incident occurred on the Mine Hill Trail on the McAbee side of the park. A dog-walker who was in the park before dawn reported her dog was being stalked by a mountain lion, but it was not attacked. Note that the trails are only open from sunrise to sunset, so this was before-hours.

Copyright New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association 

For more information, contact our webmaster, Ron Horii. Updated 9/14/16.