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Pioneer Day
Hacienda Mining Display Outdoor Museum Dedication
October 8, 2011

On October 8, 2011, the New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association held their 29th annual Pioneer Day celebration. This year, it was held at the Hacienda Area, dedicating the Hacienda Mining Display Outdoor Museum, located on the site of the Reduction Works. The display includes mining equipment which has been stored behind a fence in the overflow parking lot for years. Here are some pictures of the display and the dedication ceremony. (Note: some of the sign pictures were taken on 10/15/11.)

For years, the mining equipment making up the Hacienda Mining Display had been sitting behind a fence in the Hacienda Area overflow parking lot. Here is how it looked in October 2007, as seen from the Deep Gulch Trail.

Here is how it looked at the dedication ceremony. The equipment has been moved and arranged for display. The ground has been cleared and covered with gravel. There are interpretive signs describing the equipment. Even this isn't the final arrangement. The fencing above is temporary. Black fencing purchased by NAQCPA had not arrived in time for the dedication. Once it arrives, the fence alignment will change. The fence will go behind the interpretive signs. NAQCPA spent $5000 on the project, $4000 of which was for fencing.

The Outdoor Museum sits below the Deep Gulch Trail, which runs up along the hill behind it.

The equipment was moved back along the base of the hill. To prepare for it, volunteers pulled out coyote brush and poison oak from the hillside.

These are Cornish pump parts.

Ore carts


Rotary furnace

Looking towards the left rear corner of the display.

Mine hoist and skip loader

Air compressors

Tobar Adit, battery locomotive, and mine ventilation fan

This simulated mine tunnel was dubbed the Tobar Adit, honoring the Tobar family. Artist Gilian Altieri painted the figure of the tommyknocker. The Cornish miners believed that tommyknockers were small dwarf-like creatures who lived in the mines and made strange knocking noises. They played pranks on the miners, but also warned them of cave-ins by knocking on the walls of the mines.

Shari Sullivan collected raffle donations.

These were some of the raffle prizes.

Virginia Hammerness, Dorene Boulland, Peg Melbourne and Terri Sanislo staffed the NAQCPA tables, selling books and T-shirts.

The Tobar family had a display of their family pictures from New Almaden.

Mike Boulland (left) and Doug Bergtholdt (right) talked with park rangers Fernando Elias (left) and Ryan Lane (right).

Coffee and drinks were provided.

Virginia Hammerness with some of the raffle prizes.

FOSTP and FOLAW president Mike Boulland (right) talked to visitors about the equipment.

High up on the hill overlooking the ceremony site, an American flag waved on a pole.

NAQCPA president Kitty Monahan welcomed the visitors to Pioneer Day. She led the group in the flag salute.

Kitty thanked all the people who worked on the project and talked about all the hard work that was put into it. The equipment on display was obtained from the Guadalupe Mines, the Buena Vista Pump House, and the old New Almaden Mining Museum, run by Connie Perham. It was moved to the Hacienda Area in 1997. Planning began in 2008 to turn it into an interpretive display, with signs describing the equipment. It took a long time to get all the permits. Finally, in 2010, work began on the project after the EIR was approved. Volunteers put in 198 hours of work in July of 2011, working once a week.. They put in 176 hours in August, 207 hours in September. In the last 4 days in October before the ceremony, they put in 165 hours to get it ready. In 2011, a total of 646 hours of volunteer labor was put in. One of the final operations involved a giant crane, which was brought in to move the heaviest equipment.

Dennis Moran came on horseback, dressed as an itinerant preacher.

Dorene Boulland and Dennis Moran led a sing-along. Afterwards, he said a prayer to bless the ceremony.

Mike Cox served as master of ceremonies and introduced the speakers. Mike was a geologist who helped secure the mines to turn the area into a park. He welcomed the miners and their families. He originally secured the mining equipment from various sites.

The Tenor Band, who played at the opening of the Casa Grande, provided musical entertainment.

The group lined up for lunch.

Nancy Mapes and her family provided lunch.

Water and lemonade were served.

Veronica Jordan (left) shows Interim County Parks director Lisa Killough (right) pictures of the Tobar family.

The group sat and enjoyed lunch.

Artist Jim Campbell showed his pen and ink drawings of New Almaden. Ranger Flint Glines (left) looks at the drawings.

Michelle Tobar-Bauer talked about the history of the Tobar Family. Her father, Jerry Tobar, was in the audience. This land where the museum now sits was once owned by her uncle Jim Tobar Jr. He bought it from his uncle Jack Tobar in the 1960's. Her grandparents, Jim and Virgie Tobar, lived across the street, moving there in 1953 with her father and 4 brothers and sisters. Her great-great-great-grandfather, Juan Hernandez, was brought from Mexico to work in the mines by the Baron Forbes company in the 1850's. He was married in San Jose in 1854. He worked in the mines with his 2 sons until his death in 1898. His sons continued to work in the Almaden and Guadalupe Mines. One of their daughters, Katherine, married John Francis Tobar. They had 14 children. One of them was Michelle's grandfather Jim, who was born on Mine Hill, like his father and grandfather. When the mines declined, the family moved out to San Jose, but Michelle's grandparents moved back in 1953. They became active members of the New Almaden community, founding the New Almaden Hacienda Civic Club. Her grandfather was the club's first president. They organized numerous community events, such as New Almaden Days, Miss Almaden beauty pageants, and Easter egg hunts at the Community Center. Family members helped clean up the community and participated in the parades. Michelle lived with her family on the third floor of the Casa Grande in the 1970's and 80's. They were the last residents of the Casa Grande. Parts of the family still live in the area and are active in the community.

Interim County Parks Director Lisa Killough thanked everyone for coming to the ceremony. She talked about the unique partnership between the New Almaden community and the County Parks department. Lisa saw the plans for the Outdoor Museum before she retired and was very impressed by them.

Head of interpretive programs, Robin Schaut, thanked NAQCPA for their efforts in putting the Outdoor Museum together.

Bruce Bartlett talked about the project. He was in charge of it. He designed the mine equipment exhibit, got the permits to put it together, and designed and installed the signs. He talked about how they cleared the hillside, puling out bushes and poison oak with 4WD vehicles. He said the project was a lot of hard work, but they had two fun days. One was dragging the ore cart down Almaden Road, waking up the neighborhood. The other was watching a giant crane moving the 4-ton retort and the 6-ton rotary furnace. On another day, when they were moving the equipment, they found a huge rattlesnake, which they moved safely. Bruce thanked the volunteers for the work they put into the project.

Doug Bergtholdt talked about the work his late wife Sue did with the Daughters of the American Revolution. Sue was a teacher and used to bring sixth grade students to New Almaden to learn about the mines. On those trips, she brought the school's custodian with her, Jerry Tobar. Sue raised money to pay for the signs by selling orecart pins and books. She also raised money to pay for the maps in the mapping desk in the blacksmith shop next to the Casa Grande. She solicited donations of period-specific furniture and artifacts and decorated . She received a national award for her efforts from the DAR.

Jim Tobar's sister Caroline Tobar Sanchez talked about her family, growing up in New Almaden, and her late brother and his wife. She talked about how much they would have enjoyed the ceremonies.

These are more pictures of the mining equipment, taken on 10/15/11:

Created 10/15/11 by Ronald Horii