Almaden Quicksilver County Park
New Almaden and the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum
Note: the Almaden Quicksilver
Mining Museum and the Casa Grande have been renovated. The information
and pictures below are out of date. To see more recent pictures, see
this page on Pioneer Day 2010.
To reach the park's main entrance, travel down Almaden Road. The New Almaden Historic District is located along Almaden Road before the park's Hacienda Entrance. Along the way, you'll pass by a number of historic houses and buildings. New Almaden is not part of the county park, but the history of the town is intimately linked with the mining history of the park. Many of the people who managed or worked for the mines lived in New Almaden. Their houses still remain. The town lines along both sides of Alamitos Creek. Bertram Road runs on the south side of Alamitos Creek. Several historical sites lie along the road, including the Hacienda Hotel site, the New Almaden Community Club, and the Hacienda Cemetery. The Hacienda Hotel was built in 1848 as a boarding house for miners. It was the first two-story hotel in California. In the 1930's, it was converted into the Cafe Del Rio, which was a popular restaurant. After 1979, it became the home of the La Foret French restaurant. Down the road past the Community Club is the Hacienda Cemetery. It has graves dating back to the 1800's. One of the oddest graves is the burial site of Bertram Barrett's arm. Bertram Barrett lost his arm as a teenager in a hunting accident in 1898. The rest of him was buried in another cemetery in San Jose's Oak Hill Cemetery in 1959.
Click on the thumbnails below to see a larger picture:
The original site of the Almaden Mining Museum was in the Carson-Perham Adobe. The house was built around 1848 and was the home of George Carson, who held a number of jobs, including postmaster and book-keeper for the mines. The house later became the home of Constance Perham and her husband Douglas. They collected mining artifacts and ran the original New Almaden Mining Museum, which opened in 1949. Constance Perham retired in 1984. Parts of her collection are currently on display in the new museum. Constance Perham died at the age of 92 on January 28, 2001. (Doug Perham founded the Perham Foundation, which ran the Foothill Electronics Museum that used to be at Foothill College, but is now at History San Jose.)
One of the most significant buildings in New Almaden is La
It was built in 1854 as hotel, but became the home of the mine manager.
It was purchased
by the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department in 1981.
it houses the Quicksilver
Mining Museum. The museum has exhibits on quicksilver mining as
as historical photographs and artifacts showing what life was like in
quicksilver mining towns. It has maps showing the huge network of
tunnels. There were around 100 miles of tunnels. Some descended
of feet below sea level.
Pioneer Day October 9, 2004
On Saturday, October 9, 2004, the New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association, in conjunction with the County Parks Department, held their annual Pioneer Day at the Casa Grande in New Almaden. It was to celebrate the dedication of the blacksmith shop, the 150th anniversary of the Casa Grande, and the dedication of the ore cart at the entrance. Over 100 people came to enjoy a lunch at Club Almaden and tour the grounds. They listened to talks about the history of the Casa Grande and the restoration of the blacksmith shop. County Parks personnel were in attendance, including Parks Director Lisa Killough and Mounted Rangers on horseback. The building housing the blacksmith shop was orignally the carriage shop for the mine managers at the Casa Grande and was used for storage by the museum. Volunteers worked for a year on turning it into an historical recreation of a blacksmith shop. Two Eagle Scout projects involved building the doors and restoring the patio of the blacksmith shop. Two blacksmiths, Chuck Ferrier and Dwight Summers, demonstrated metal forging and shoeing horses.
Here are some pictures from that event. Since this was a
not everything shown below will normally be on display.
New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association
The New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association is a non-profit volunteer organization that serves the park. They operate and staff the New Almaden Mining Museum. They help with restoration projects, trail maintenance, and interpretive programs. They lead guided tours of the park. They sponsor an annual Pioneer Day, which recalls the area's early mining days.
For more information, contact:
Quicksilver Mining Museum
County Park Association
Created 3/6/2001, updated 5/22/06, 2/4/11 by Ronald Horii