Donate to NAQCPA
Almaden Quicksilver Park Info
New Almaden Days
News, Media, Articles, and Links
Pictures, Special Reports
Almaden Quicksilver Park Events
New Almaden and Almaden Quicksilver:
New Almaden Self-Guided Walking Tour
Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum
Mining Museum Archives
Directions to Almaden Quicksilver
Almaden Quicksilver County Park
Open Road TV show on Almaden Quicksilver
Santa Clara County Parks:
Santa Clara County Parks Homepage
Calendar of County Parks Activities
Play Here! Activities Guide
Park Here! Guide to the County Parks
County Parks Volunteer Information
County Parks Healthy Trails Program
Parks for Life Challenge
Santa Clara County Parks on Facebook
Ron Horii's Pictures of the Santa Clara County Parks
Ron Horii's Pictures of County Park Volunteer Activities
Parks and Community:
Ron Horii's SF Bay Rec & Travel
Friends of Santa Teresa Park
Friends of Los Alamitos Watershed
New Almaden Community Club (webpage under construction)
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. See below for information about NAQCPA, our past and present activities, and how you can join or help with the park. Also below is information about Almaden Quicksilver County Park, maps, trail descriptions, and park events. See the links on the side for related websites. Visit our Facebook page. We have a new email address: email@example.com
Note: See here for archived news from 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. The following is news from 2019-2022 (click here for the latest news. Jump to old pictures of Kitty Monahan. Jump to pictures and videos of Kitty's Celebration of Life.):
Ron Horii had an exhibit at the Campbell Library in downtown Campbell from 2/1 to 2/28/19. It was based on his 2011 exhibition at the Santa Teresa Library. He had posters with pictures of Santa Teresa County Park, Almaden Quicksilver County Park, other County Parks, open space preserves, San Francisco Bay parks, and San Jose parks. Here is an album showing the exhibition.
A new map is available for Almaden Quicsilver County Park. Maps are being updated for all the County Parks. They show numbers at every trail junction. Trail signs will have those numbers on them eventually. The idea is that problems can be reported by listing the nearest trail junction numbers.
On 4/13/19, there was a BioBlitz held at the Mockingbird Hill Lane entrance to Almaden Quicksilver County Park, sponsored by Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful and organized by biologist Merav Vonshak. "A BioBlitz is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. At a BioBlitz, scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members work together to get an overall count of the plants, animals, fungi, and other organisms that live in a place." A large group of participants divided up into smaller groups and documented plant and animal life around the staging area and the nearby trails. These are the results of the BioBlitz. Here are pictures of the BioBlitz (need to sign onto Facebook to view them).
Nearly all the interpretive signs in the park have been replaced with new signs, made of a more durable material. The signs were getting faded or discolored after years of exposure to the elements. The worst was the incline tramway sign, which suffered damage from the heavy rains of 2017. Above shows the sign from before (from 3/13/19) and after (4/12/19) replacement.
On 7/7/19, there was a small grass fire on the north side of Alamitos Road below the Alamitos Vineyard. San Jose Fire Department and CalFire crews, including a Calfire helicopter, were able to stop the fire before it could spread to the vineyard or surrounding hills in Almaden Quicksilver County Park. The Alamitos Vineyards has their own fire truck, which has appeared in the New Almaden Parade. It also fought the fire.
From 7/8-7/12/19, the Casa Grande was closed for fumigation to kill pests.
The annual Play Like a Miner event was held at the Casa Grande on 8/3/19. About 450 people attended. Here are pictures: Play Like a Miner Part 1, Outside Activities 8/3/19, Play Like a Miner Part 2, Casa Grande & Blacksmith Shop 8/3/19
On 8/16/19, several NAQCPA members went on a boat tour of the Alviso Slough. It was narrated by Park Interpreter Luke Bailey. Here are more pictures of the boat tour. The boat went down the Alviso Slough all the way to its confluence with Coyote Creek. We saw lots of birds along the way, including an osprey. Luke talked about the history of the Bay, plants and animals in the wetlands, and the future challenge of sea level rise.
The New Almaden Day Parade was held on 9/14/19. Afterwards, the carnival was held at the Community Center.
On 9/28/19, there was an ice cream social event for County Parks volunteers at Vasona Lake.
On 9/29/19, there was a Quicksilver History Hike, led by Park Interpreters Chris Carson and Steve Leong, accompanied by Park Docent Ron Horii. The hike went along the Wood Road Trail to Mine Hill and the Rotary Furnace. There will be more hikes like this on 10/26/19, 11/24/19, 12/28/19, 1/26/20, 2/29/20, 3/29/20, 4/25/20.
On 9/30/19, a County Parks ranger promotion and badging ceremony was held at the Casa Grande. Flint Glines was promoted to Chief Park Ranger. Julie Cooper and Frank Weiland were promoted to Park Ranger Supervisors. Ruben Suarez, Melissa Rodriguez, Christopher Shear, Jackson Bramham, Bryce Winter, and Carley Bolitho received their badges as Park Rangers. Above, left to right are Supervising Ranger Aniko Millan, Ruben Suarez, Melissa Rodriguez, Christopher Shear, Frank Weiland, Flint Glines, Julie Cooper, Jackson Bramham, Bryce Winter, and Carley Bolitho.
On 10/12/19, NAQCPA, the New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association, celebrated their 37th anniversary at their annual Pioneer Day event. This year, it was held at the Casa Grande. It featured the wagon restoration and Estaban Tunnel at the Blacksmith Shop.
On November 3, 2019, long-time NAQCPA member Bob Meyer passed away from natural causes. He joined NAQCPA a year after it was formed and served as its treasurer for many years. He helped at Pioneer Days, collecting donations. Here is his obituary: "Robert Warren Meyer, May 2, 1932 – November 3, 2019, Resident of Los Gatos. Robert passed away peacefully at his home in Los Gatos. Robert is survived by his loving wife Patricia, his children Robert, Kathleen, David, Gary, and his 6 grandchildren Samantha, Elizabeth, Brian, Spencer, Jennifer, Olivia and great grandchild Jacob. Robert was born in St. Louis, Missouri and grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri. He met Patricia while they both attended the University of New Mexico. Robert and Patricia were married in 1953 and called Los Gatos their home for 53 years. Robert served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy. He loved the outdoors and filled his days with activities including skiing, running, biking, swimming and working in his yard. He will be missed. A celebration of life will be held at the First Congregational Church on November 23rd at 2pm, reception will follow the service."
On November 7, 2019, at 7 pm in the Santa Teresa Golf Club Upper Banquet Room, New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association President and Friends of Santa Teresa Park (FOSTP) Vice-President Kitty Monahan gave a talk on "New Almaden and Its Quicksilver Mines." This was the description of the talk: "FOSTP is honored to present Kitty Monahan, President of the New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association. She is known for giving entertaining presentations about New Almaden Quicksilver County Park's natural, cultural, and mining history. Don't miss this colorful slideshow event with her expert experience and humorous storytelling. The New Almaden mine was once the wealthiest mine in North America and one of the reasons for the success of the 1849 California Gold Rush. Learn about what mining life was like for the 1848-1972 miners and settlers, who worked, lived, and died at this fabulous historical wild west mining town!" Here's the flyer for this event.
On 11/16/19, there was another BioBlitz held at the Mockingbird Hill Lane entrance to Almaden Quicksilver County Park, sponsored by Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful and organized by biologist Merav Vonshak. It was a follow-up to the spring BioBlitz held here on 4/13/19 (see above). See here for pictures of the BioBlitz and links to the results.
On Sunday, December 15, 2019, this event was held at the Casa Grande: "Learn about the Victorian era at Casa Grande while participating in activities from the 1880s with costumed staff and docents. There will be demonstrations, crafts, and guided tours of the museum. Fun for the whole family." Here are pictures of the event (Facebook sign-in required). Above are park interpretive staff members Whitney, Victoria, and Lynda in period dress.
Below are pictures of the historic wagon restoration project from 2014 to 2019:NAQPA members have been restoring an historic wagon at the Blacksmith Shop. It was once parked in the yard behind the Casa Grande and used as a stage. The elements have taken their toll on the wooden parts. They have been replaced with new wood. The latest addition is the bench on top. The most challenging part will be restoring the wooden wheels.
Front of wagon, 6/29/14
Rear of wagon, 6/29/14
Wagon Restoration 12/15/19
On 2/8/20, Chinese New Year Living History Day was held at the Casa Grande. There were decorations, demonstrations, displays, and crafts that were related to Chinese culture and Lunar New Year traditions. Above is a demonstration of Chinese calligraphy. The New Almaden Mines have Chinese connections. Chinese immigrants worked in the mines and in the towns. In the 1850's, valuable cinnabar and mercury from New Almaden was sent to China. In gratitude, the emperor of China sent a pavilion with carved walls and columns. It stood on the grounds of the Casa Grande until it was washed away in a flood. Parts of the pavilion, or Ting in Chinese, survived. A group called the Friends of the New Almaden Ting are working on restoring it. They had an informational display, including a model of the Ting.
On 2/22/20, there was a Senior Resource Fair at Oakridge Mall. There were exhibitors providing information about resources and volunteer opportunities for seniors and the community. Johnny Khamis' office invited the Friends of Santa Teresa Park (FOSTP) and the Friends of the New Almaden Ting (FONAT) to participate. Both groups shared tables, staffed by Mike Boulland, Steve Crockett, and Jennie Yeung. For FONAT, they had the wooden model of the Ting, a 3D photograph of one of the actual columns, historic photographs, and informational pamphlets.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had major effects on the County Parks, the New Almaden Community, and NAQCPA. COVID-19 restrictions, which started in March, 2020 and are in force until lifted, have resulted in the following:
Since County Park trails have remained open, usage has skyrocketed, resulting in parking lots filling up and trails becoming crowded. There are maps of some parks showing recommended road-width trails. The maps have been highlighted to show trails that are wide enough to maintain at social 6-feet social distancing when passing. There isn't a modified map for Almaden Quicksilver yet. In general, most of the trails in park are wide, except for the hiking-only trails, like the New Almaden, Cinnabar, Buena Vista, and Prospect 3.
There have been personnel changes in the County Parks' Department since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic:
While organized group events in the County Parks and open space preserves have been suspended due to COVID-19, videos and Zoom conferences are available from various organizations. Here are some examples (note: Facebook sign-in may be required):
We are very sad to announce that Mary Lee Baiocchi, long-time NAQCPA member and docent at the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum, passed away. Here is her Obituary in the Mercury News:
Mary Lee Baiocchi
January 6, 1934 - November 21, 2020
Resident of San Jose
Mary Lee Baiocchi,"Cookie" to her family and friends, passed away peacefully Saturday, November 21, 2020. She was a loving wife, mother, sister, aunt and godmother. She is survived by her two sons Greg (Josie) and Ken (Stephanie), sister Barbara and niece Stacia. She is together now in heaven with her devoted husband Jerry Baiocchi, daughter-in-law Sharon Baiocchi, and sisters Georgia Lumley and Bea Lumley.
Mary Lee was the daughter of George and Irene Smoot. She was a San Jose native and proud graduate of Notre Dame High School Class of '51 and San Jose City College. She worked as an instructor for Pacific Bell, becoming one of the first female supervisors and trainers in the San Jose area. After taking time off to raise her boys, she returned to the phone company, working in various roles until retirement in 1988.
Mary Lee had a vibrant "second act" after retirement. As the granddaughter and daughter of New Almaden Quicksilver mine workers, she had a strong connection to the rich history of the area. She served as a history docent for over 30 years at the New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum and served on the board of the New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association, activities that she shared with her lifelong friend Kitty Monahan. She was recognized as the Santa Clara County Parks Volunteer of the Year in 2006.
Mary Lee was involved with many other groups and activities, including the San Jose Women's Club, Almaden Valley Rotary Club, Transfiguration Catholic Church, Santa Theresa Women's Golf Club, and numerous book clubs. Mary Lee also acted and sang with the Almaden Senior Players acting troupe.
Mary Lee had an inquisitive mind, a faith-filled heart and a thirst for knowledge. Her library is full of books that range in topics near and far. She loved all animals and enjoyed art classes and piano lessons. She loved to travel, explore cultures and meet people. Her favorite spot was Hawaii by far.
Due to pandemic restrictions, Mary Lee was laid to rest in a private family service. A memorial mass will follow when it's safe to gather.
We loved Cookie and if you knew her, you loved her as well. In honor of Mary Lee, you may light a candle or make a donation in her memory at San Jose's Notre Dame High School or Transfiguration Catholic Church.
In January of 2021, John Slenter passed away at his home in Arizona. John was a longtime resident of New Almaden. He was an active volunteer for NAQCPA and helped with the Pioneer Day events. He later became an interpreter for the County Parks, working at Almaden Quicksilver. For many years, he gave van tours of the park. At the 2009 Pioneer Day, he drove guests to the event in a park van and served as the master of ceremonies (see picture above). After he retired from the County Parks, he moved to Arizona to be with his family.
On May 4, 2021, longtime NAQCPA member and County Parks docent John Atwood passed away at his home in San Jose. Here is his obituary. He knew the Almaden Quicksilver Mines better than most people because he worked as a surveyor in the mines for 2 years, before spending 33 years as a surveyor for Santa Clara County. As a volunteer for NAQCPA, he worked in the Casa Grande as a docent, giving tours to visitors. During events at the Casa Grande, like Play Like a Miner, he would bring out his surveying equipment and show kids how to use them, as well as how to read maps.
Update 2021: The past 2 years have been difficult for NAQCPA. The last board meeting was held on 2/12/20. The board has been unable to meet due to COVID-related closures and the death and disability of many of the board's members. We could not even meet on Zoom. The Casa Grande was closed for over a year, starting in March of 2020, so volunteers could not go in to work on the archives or the NAQCPA newsletter. Docent activities were suspended, and most of the County Parks' interpretive staff were re-deployed as Disaster Service Workers (DSW) to help with the pandemic. In 2021, the Casa Grande re-opened, and some activities and events are starting to come back. However, many staff members, including several park interpreters, are still on DSW assignment. It was unclear when and if the NAQCPA board would meet again. Key volunteers working on the newsletter have health issues and are no longer able to work on it, even if facilities were available. It's not clear whether the newsletter will be published again. Pioneer Day was cancelled in 2020 and 2021. It may be held again in 2022. NAQCPA is still partially active. A small group of members still does maintenance projects in the park.
The Casa Grande was decorated and open for the 2021 holiday season. On 12/18/22, there was a Victorian Holiday Craft event there. Visitors could make cornucopias, which were traditional Christmas tree ornaments during the Victorian era. The Blacksmith shop was also open for touring.
History hikes have resumed in Almaden Quicksilver, led by park interpreters. On 2/26/22, Park Interpreter Luke Bailey, with help from NAQCPA member Mike Cox, led a history hike on the Wood Road Trail to the Rotary Furnace and English Camp. There was a huge turnout. Over 70 people came to it. Here are pictures of the hike. See the events schedule below for future hikes.
Update 4/15/22: Starting in January 2022, Melissa Hippard, the County Parks Strategic Partnership and Revenue Development Manager, wanted to have a discussion about NAQCPA's partnership with the department. This started a series of Zoom meetings, initiated by Tere Johnson, to discuss NAQCPA's fate and future plans. The first meeting was on 1/24/22. We decided to keep NAQCPA going, maintain and possibly enhance our partnership with the County Parks, elect new board members, recruit new members, start a Facebook page, keep the small maintenance group active, publish an e-newsletter and email it to members, participate in park activities at the Casa Grande, and hold a Pioneer Day. Tere Johnson was elected President. Art Bouldreault volunteered to serve as temporary treasurer. Mike Cox agreed to serve as temporary secretary. In later meetings, Mike Cox was elected vice president and Lisa Laymon was elected secretary. Sue McLain is being trained by Art to eventually become treasurer. Ron Horii continued as webmaster.
NAQCPA now has a Facebook page. If you're a Facebook member, check it out and join it. You can see the latest news, as well as historic pictures and stories. You can comment on them, ask questions, or post your own.
Sat. May 21, 7-9 pm. Preservation Awards Night. History San Jose Park. $15 General Admission, Under 18 Free. In recognition of this year’s National Preservation Month, the newly formed Santa Clara County Preservation Alliance will host a Preservation Awards Night to bring the public and local preservation groups together for a celebratory event. NAQCPA President Kitty Monahan and NAQCPA member Bruce Bartlett will be honored at this event. See here for more information and to purchase tickets.
At the County Parks' 27th Annual Volunteer Recognition event on 4/23/22, Kitty Monahan talked about the history of the volunteer program. Several Almaden Quicksilver volunteers and NAQCPA members were recognized at the event.
The County Parks' PixInParks Challenge runs from May 1 until December 15, 2022. Participants hike 7 trail routes in different parks, take a picture at the prescribed destination points, and post the pictures on social media, with the hashtag #PixInParks. After completing the challenge, they can get a t-shirt or bandana. The route at Almaden Quicksilver follows the Deep Gulch Trail to English Camp and returns on the Mine Hill Trail, with a picture spot at English Camp (above). Other hikes are at Santa Teresa, Ed Levin, Mt. Madonna, Coyote Lake/Harvey Bear, Upper Stevens Creek, and Sanborn.
The intent of the SCCPA Awards Night is:
This is NAQCPA's and FOSTP's table at the Preservation Alliance Awards Night at History San Jose. Veronica Jordan staffed the table, talked to visitors, and passed out information. The table, which had pictures and brochures, was shared with Mike Boulland and the Friends of Santa Teresa Park. Mike had pictures of Kitty Monahan, who besides serving as President of NAQCPA, was also Vice President of the Friends of Santa Teresa Park.
At the Preservation Alliance Awards Night, Bruce Bartlett received the Distinguished Preservation Service Award for his work on projects at Almaden Quicksilver.
At the Preservation Alliance Awards Night, former NAQCPA President Kitty Monahan was awarded the Preservation Lifetime Achievement Award. Tere Johnson (left), read the award, while Mike Cox (right) accepted the award for Kitty. She could not attend due to her health conditions. Kathy Sutherland (center), assistant to County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, is holding a commendation from the Board of Supervisors to Kitty. Here's a link to the video of the award presentations to Kitty.
On June 1, NAQCPA members visited Kitty Monahan at her house and presented her with the awards. She was happy to see everyone and receive the awards.
On July 9, 2022 from 11 am to 3 pm, after a 2-year absence, the Play Like a Miner event was held again at the Casa Grande: "Imagine a day in the life of a mercury miner and other 19th century residents of New Almaden at this fun family event, featuring games, crafts, rocks, and mining-era activities for all ages." There was a simulated mine tunnel (above). Here are pictures of the event. Here are pictures from the previous Play Like a Miner in 2019: Play Like a Miner Part 1, Outside Activities 8/3/19, Play Like a Miner Part 2, Casa Grande & Blacksmith Shop 8/3/19.
NAQCPA has been holding its annual Pioneer Day celebration event since 1983. Its purpose has been to celebrate the New Almaden miners and their families or to dedicate signs or projects in the park. However, due to the pandemic, it was canceled in 2020 and 2021. We are planning to hold it this year on 10/8/22 starting at 11:00 am at the Casa Grande. Planning is in progress. Here is a poster for the event. Come meet our new NAQCPA Board, hear from local community leaders and listen to live music from the fabulous StarGeezers. We will serve a tasty empanada lunch around 12:00 and will pay tribute to Kitty Monahan and other dear NAQCPA friends who have passed in the last couple years.
Here are pictures of some of the past Pioneer Days, with a list of all them and excerpts of newsletter articles about them. Above is Pioneer Day 2016.
The County Parks are conducting a user survey. These signs are posted all over the parks. If you take the survey, which is free, you are entered into a contest to win a prize. NAQCPA donated the prizes, which are 5 $100 gift cards. Here is the survey website.
biography of Kitty from 2018. Here's an article about her death in the Mercury News. Here's her obituary. Here are pictures of Kitty over the years at different events for different organizations:
On 9/4/22, there was a Celebration of Life for Kitty Monahan at the Santa Clara County Horsemen's Association. Kitty was a lifelong member of the club. She joined it in 1983 and was an avid equestrian. A couple hundred people came to the celebration. There were scheduled speakers and an open mic where anyone could come up and share their memories of Kitty. Here are pictures and videos of the event:
There will be 2 weeding work days at the Hacienda Entrance to Almaden Quicksilver County Park on 9/11 and 10/9 from 9 am to 12 pm. Come and help remove invasive plants. If you can help, contact the County Parks Volunteer Office. Sign up here. Here's a flyer for the event.
The 38th annual Pioneer Day, in the 40th year since NAQCPA was founded, was held at the Casa Grande on 10/8/22. The theme was to honor and memorialize NAQCPA leaders who have recently passed away. They included John Slenter, John Atwood, Mary Lee Baiocchi, Bob Meyer, and of course, Kitty Monahan. Speakers and audience members gave tributes to them. Visiting dignitaries included San Jose City Councilmember Matt Mahan, State Senator Dave Cortese, and Melissa Hippard representing County Parks Director Don Rocha. Senator Cortese presented a recognition certificate to NAQCPA. Boy Scouts led the flag salute. The Stargeezers provided musical entertainment during lunch, which was empanada meals from the Big E Cafe. Russell Pearce showed a New Almaden voter registry from 1896, showing names of many well-known New Almaden ancestors. Photo albums from the NAQCPA archives, containing hundreds of pictures of past NAQCPA events and historic scenes of New Almaden were on display. There was a door prize drawing. For pictures and videos of the event, see these Facebook albums:
This is artist Gillian Altieri with the cutout figure of Kitty Monahan. Rich Robertson made the cutout from plywood. Gillian painted it. It will be installed in the Hacienda Outdoor Museum. Kitty's figure will greet visitors.
John Drew, long-time NAQCPA member, passed away in 2022 at the age of 92. He was the descendant of New Almaden miners. Here's his obituary. This is an excerpt from it: "John reconnected with his family roots at the Almaden Quicksilver Mines by volunteering his time at the Museum as a researcher and docent. He was there for over 25 years and was awarded a plaque for his many hours of service." Celebration Of Life: 11/5/22, 12:00 p.m. Foothill Presbyterian Church, 5301 McKee Rd., San Jose, CA. John attended NAQCPA's annual Pioneer Day celebrations in Almaden Quicksilver County Park. At the events, he often spoke about his family and their connections to the New Almaden Mines. Here are pictures of John at Pioneer Days.
Composite animated photo prepared by Charles Cox from 1863 Carleton Watkins photo of New Almaden and the same scene recently photographed by Charles Cox. Please credit the gif to Charles Cox if sharing or reposting, and please do not post to online photography resellers or use for commercial purposes.
On February 26, 2023, long-time NAQCPA member and former treasurer Marvin Tanner passed away. Here is his obituary. He was a dedicated volunteer who helped with projects in the park, at the Casa Grande, and at Pioneer Days. The picture above is from Marv helping to check-in visitors and collect donations at the last Pioneer Day he attended on 10/12/19. Here are more pictures of Marv at Pioneer Days, Volunteer Recognition events, and NAQCPA parties. A celebration of life and reception was held on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 1:00 pm at Cambrian Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for any donations to be made to New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association (NAQCPA) - PO Box 124, New Almaden,CA 95042.
Santa Clara County Parks is in the process of updating the Countywide Trail Master Plan. The plan was originally adopted in 1995. It is intended to be used for trail planning. It includes trails of countywide significance, not all trails. Here's the description of the updates: "Since the Countywide Trails Master Plan was developed in 1995, trail segments have been refined and implemented on the ground, local governments have adopted new trail plans, new public lands have been acquired, mapping and landscape-level understanding of trail feasibility has improved substantially, additional constraints and opportunities have been identified for trail implementation, and potential new trails have been identified that may serve a regional purpose. The proposed Map Update will consider these types of changes while remaining centered around improving regional connectivity and maintaining the core vision of the Countywide Trails Master Plan." There's an interactive map and feedback tool, where you can see the map, zoom in and out, and complete a survey about it. Rebecca Coates-Maldoon is the Countywide Trails Program Manager.Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2023 Santa Clara County Preservation Alliance, Historic Preservation Awards Night, Friday, May 19th, 7:00 pm at History San Jose Park. Gates open at 6:45 pm. $20 General Admission, Under 18 Free. The intent of the SCCPA Awards Night is:
The New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association will honor Michael Cox with the Distinguished Preservation Service Award for five decades of preserving and sharing New Almaden mining history. NAQCPA is a co-sponsor of this event.
On May 19, 2023, at Historic Preservation Awards Night in History San Jose Park, NAQCPA Vice-President, Mike Cox, was awarded the Distinguished Preservation Service Award by the Santa Clara County Preservation Alliance. It was "for five decades of preserving and sharing New Almaden Mining History."
On 6/24/23, members of the Friends of Santa Teresa Park and the New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association went on a field trip to visit Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch. We got a guided tour of the open parts of the mines, led by Naturalist Jaclyn Caldwell, who was previously a Park Interpreter at the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum, so we knew her. Here is an album of the tour.
On July 4, 2023, San Jose District 10 Councilmember Arjun Batra hosted the 8th annual 4th of July Fireworks Festival at Almaden Lake Park. There was live entertainment, games, crafts, food vendors, facepainting, and booths. The Friends of Santa Teresa Park had an information booth there, along with the New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association and the Friends of the New Almaden Ting. This is what the booth looked like.
On 7/9/23, the second annual Water & Wags Festival was held at Calero County Park. This was the description: "Join us for a paw-some time at the Calero Water and Wags Festival on Sunday, July 9th, from 10:30 am to 2 pm, at Calero Reservoir. Discover the incredible efforts of Santa Clara County Parks and Valley Water in safeguarding our precious water against invasive quagga and zebra mussels. Get ready to celebrate clean and pristine waterways while having a blast! Meet the Mussel Dogs, learn how to prevent the spread of invasive species, and indulge in delicious food, exciting games, and more!" NAQCPA had a booth there, staffed by Lisa Laymon and Mike Cox. Here are pictures of the festival.
Signs like this have been posted on trailheads throughout the park. These trails are closed on weekdays due to construction work related to the Calcine Remediation Project. Calcines are rocks and sediment that were left over after mercury ore was smelted to remove the mercury. They were considered a waste product and were dumped or used to pave roads. Regulatory agencies are concerned that there may be trace amounts of mercury in the calcines, and it could leach out and contaminate the watershed, so the calcines need to be removed. An earlier and larger calcines roads project involved the removal of calcines from park roads. The current project will remove them from hillsides above Deep Gulch and Alamitos Creek. Here's more information about the project. For additional information on the Hacienda and Deep Gulch Calcine Remediation project, contact Alicia Flynn, Project Manager, at (408) 355-2209.
The Yellow Kid Trail in Almaden Quicksilver County Park has been renamed the Kitty Monahan Trail. Changing the name of a trail is not an easy process. Fortunately, this trail was being considered for renaming anyway because its name was controversial, though misunderstood. NAQCPA recommended that it be renamed in memory of its late President, Kitty Monahan. To do that, the name had to be approved by the County Parks Trail Naming Committee, the County's Parks & Recreation Commission, and the County Board of Supervisors. They all approved, so the trail was renamed. Here is an excerpt from the County Parks report to the Board of Supervisors, who approved the name on August 29, 2023: "The Department recommends renaming to Kitty Monahan Trail, which meets criteria guidelines of the Naming Parkland Policy and recognizes in memoriam her association with the New Almaden area for a long period of time and distinguished involvement relating to parks or park service. Kitty Monahan worked significantly with County Parks for nearly 50 years. She moved into San Jose’s New Almaden neighborhood in 1972 and fell in love with the open space and historic land in that area. By the mid 1970’s, she was known as the unofficial “Mayor of New Almaden” due to her advocacy and preservation efforts. Kitty left behind a long list of accomplishments, most notably a pivotal role encouraging the County to purchase the 4,163-acre Almaden Quicksilver County Park in 1976."
NAQCPA's 39th annual Pioneer Day was held on 10/14/23 at the Casa Grande, which had reopened the weekend before. Mike Cox was the emcee. Boy Scout Troop 290 led the flag salute. Speakers included NAQCPA President Tere Johnson, Parks Program Coordinator Lynda Will, County Parks Director Don Rocha, and Founding Secretary of the La Raza Historical Society Dr. Ramon Martinez. Veronica Jordan spoke about the cemeteries in New Almaden, particularly the Hacienda Cemetery on Bertram Road. The microphone was passed around the audience, so people could talk about their connections to New Almaden. The Against the Grain String Band played traditional music. Food was provided by Cafe Rosalena. See the Pioneer Days section below for links to pictures and videos of Pioneer Day.
After being closed since November of 2022, the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum in the Casa Grande finally reopened to the public in October of 2023. It was originally closed because of problems with the HVAC system. Part of the problem was that there was not enough power being delivered to the Casa Grande. This required power upgrades to the site by PG&E. After this was fixed, they found the smoke screens in the elevator weren't working properly. All of this was fixed. Volunteers and staff cleaned up the interior and prepared the museum for the public. See here for pictures of the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum after it opened.
There is a new concrete picnic table at the Catherine Tunnel Trail viewpoint. It is dedicated in memory of Kitty Monahan. The message inscribed on the table says:
Donated in recognition of
Kathleen "Kitty" Monahan
A lifelong advocate of historic and natural preservation,
Kitty helped create the Almaden Quicksilver County Park
The Catherine Tunnel Trail is a short trail off the Mine Hill Trail just north of Bull Run and the junction of the MIne Hill Trail and the Castillero Trail. (See the park map.) It's in the heart of the park and has a panoramic view of the Almaden Valley. Donations for the table were raised through GoFundMe. (Picture by Bruce Bartlett, 11/8/23.)
Current NAQCPA Officers:
Here is a document about NAQCPA's history, originally prepared by Art Boudreault and passed out in 2017 at Pioneer Day. It was updated by Mike Cox for Pioneer Day 2022. (Updated 11/15/22 to correct errors and add John Drew to Obituaries.)
NAQCPA has published and mailed out paper newsletters to members, usually quarterly, starting in April 1983. The last issue was published in 2020. It was stopped because of pandemic restrictions and disabilities of the editors. It has been resumed in 2022 as an e-newsletter. It was emailed to members whose email addresses are on file or if they sent their email addresses to:
NAQCPA accepts donations of volunteer time, financial support, and artifacts. Since NAQCPA is a nonprofit 501c3 corporation recognized by the state of California and the IRS, donations may be tax-deductible.VOLUNTEER
Financial support is important to serve our members with newsletter distribution, historical preservation efforts, as well as fund special projects throughout the year. You can donate online (also includes membership renewal). Financial contributions by check can be mailed to:
P.O. Box 124
New Almaden, CA 95042-0124
you live in or near the Santa Clara Valley or Silicon Valley in
Northern California or are planning a trip to the area, you may enjoy a
visit to the New Almaden Quicksilver County Park. Come and see our
beautiful park and learn about its wildlife, and many historic
photographs, writings, relics, and landmarks. You can reach the park
office at (408) 268-3883.
Note: the Casa Grande and the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum were closed due to problems with the facilities in the building since November, 2022. Those have been fixed. The museum reopened in October, 2023.
The Casa Grande and the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum were closed for renovation starting in 2009. The Grand Re-Opening ceremony was held on Pioneer Day, November 13, 2010. It re-opened on January 14, 2011. The museum is open-year round except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Hours vary seasonally. You can reach the museum at (408) 918-7770. It is located at 21350 Almaden Road in New Almaden. Call the museum or check the website first to be sure it is open. These are the current hours:
Fridays-Sundays: 12:00-4:00 pm
Many NAQCPA members have served as docents in the museum, giving guided tours. There are frequent events at the Casa Grande, such as Living History Days, Play Like a Miner, and historical talks. See the events calendar below. There are education programs for 4-6 graders. (Here is the Teaching and Activity Guide for Almaden Quicksilver.)
See Ron Horii's picture and description of the Casa Grande for the Visual San Jose 2015 Photo Contest.
One of the period rooms in the Casa Grande
Mining exhibits in the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum
The Archives of the New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum are online. NAQCPA members have been helping to scan in thousands of historical documents and pictures into the archive. The archives are available for searching and viewing. You can search for specific topics using keywords or just display random images to get a sample of the collection. You can order high-resolution images without watermarks. Here is an example of an historic photo from the archives:
Hacienda Mining Display Outdoor Museum
Displays at the Hacienda Outdoor Museum
For years, there was an unorganized collection of rusting mining equipment sitting behind a fence in the Hacienda area of Almaden Quicksilver near the Deep Gulch Trail entrance. Above is how it looked in 2008.
NAQCPA members, led by Bruce Bartlett (above), organized, repaired, and re-arranged the equipment and added other mining equipment. They had interpretive signs made, paid for the fencing, and created life-size figures.
Below are webpages, slideshows, and photo albums of Almaden Quicksilver County Park by Ron Horii. Note that the Facebook albums may require signing into Facebook.
Pioneer Day 2014, Rossi Retort Dedication
Since 1983, NAQCPA has held their annual Pioneer Day celebration in Almaden Quicksilver County Park, in partnership with the County Parks Department. The original purpose of Pioneer Day was to be a get-together to share stories with former New Almaden miners and people who remembered the mines. While that is still the case, it has also been associated with the dedication of historic sites, interpretive signs, or projects in the park. Most of these were NAQCPA projects, or NAQCPA members were involved with them.
Pioneer Day – 10/14/23
NAQCPA's annual Pioneer Day is a time to remember and celebrate the glory days of the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine. There was food, giveaways, artifacts on display, historic pictures, and talks about the cemeteries of New Almaden. It was held on Saturday October 14, 2023 at the Casa Grande from 11 am to 2 pm.
New Almaden Days
The Santa Clara County Horsemen's Association at the Jump-In Parade, 9/13/14
For more than 34 years, the community of New Almaden has held their New Almaden Day community celebration, kicked off by the Jump-In parade. It's an informal parade around the town, where anyone can jump in and join. Afterwards, there is a carnival held at the New Almaden Community Center, featuring games, prizes, food, and entertainment. The last New Almaden Day and Jump-In Parade was held on Saturday September 14, 2019, starting at 11:00 am at the New Almaden Community Center. It was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. It came back on September 10, 2022. This year, it will be held on September 9, 2023.
News, Media, Articles, and Links
Recipients of the Lifetime Presidential Volunteer Service Award (L to R): Art Boudreault, Roy Ichinaga, Ron Horii, Mike Boulland, Ranger John Heenan accepting for Richard and Margaret Brunner, Kitty Monahan, Jaime Day
Pictures and Special Reports
View of Almaden Reservoir from the Hidalgo Cemetery Trail
Living History Day, Casa Grande, 2/14/15, left to right: Mike Boulland, Mary Moran, Elaine Hill, Bridgett Orcutt, Doug Bergtholdt
See here for the County Parks' Upcoming Events.
See here for past events at Almaden Quicksilver and other parks.