Bay Area Hiking



Pioneer Day, October 13, 2007

New Almaden Community Center

The 25th annual Pioneer Day at Almaden Quicksilver was held on Saturday October 12, 2007. It was originally supposed to be held at the Santa Isabel Shafthouse site, where a new interpretive plaque was to be dedicated, but rain the night before made the trails too wet for vans to go up there in the morning. Instead, the event was moved to the Almaden Community Center, where there was a luncheon, raffle, and a presentation on characters from New Almaden's past.

The Santa Isabel Shaft site is located on the Santa Isabel Trail, west of the Buena Vista Shaft site, which is on the Randol Trail. The Santa Isabel Shaft was started in 1877. It was named after mine manager J. B. Randol's 5-year-old daughter Elizabeth (Isabel is Spanish for Elizabeth). It was built 1300 feet from the Randol Shaft and was intended to supplement it. It was 1580 feet deep and had a tunnel connecting it to the Randol Shaft. In 1883, 1018 tons of ore were brought up the shaft.

Volunteers had a booth setup at the Hacienda staging area and sold tickets to the event.

A raffle was held at the Community Center

Boxed lunches were prepared by Becky and Nancy Mapes. They consisted of a Spanish empinada pasty, orange slices, a cupcake brownie, and ice cream. The boxes were sealed with a picture of the Santa Isabel Shafthouse, made by Lisa Blakesly. Enjoying lunch above is Ranger Paula Burgemeister, who is talking to Chuck Rich, a former Almaden miner.

Above, Dorene Boulland is reading a raffle number after winning a prize.

Pen and ink artist Jim Campbell showed his drawings of historical sites.

Virginia Hammerness introduced the presentation of the characters of New Almaden. At the far left is Shari Sullivan dressed as Elizabeth Randol. She talked about what it was like to grow up in New Almaden.

Mike Boulland, dressed in a Mexican officer's uniform, portrayed Don Jose Reyes Berryessa, owner of Rancho San Vicente.

Bob Meyer played the part of early mine manager Captain Henry Halleck. Vance Pranger (center) portrayed an intinerant preacher. Dutch Mapes is on the right playing a cowboy rounding up cattle fed on the hills of New Almaden..

Jeanne Carevic, dressed as an Ohlone Indian woman, talked about the life of the Indians.

Robbie Lamons drawing a raffle ticket.

Peggy Melbourne checking her raffle tickets.

Mike Cox (center in the hat) talked about the history of the Santa Isabel mine. He worked on the closure of the mine shafts and tunnels after Almaden Quicksilver was purchased by the county as a county park.

Table place settings were made by Peggy Melbourne and Robbie Lamons. They were models of the Santa Isabel shafthouse.


After the luncheon, Ranger Paula checked out the trails and found they were dry enough for vans to go up to the Santa Isabel site for the dedication ceremony.

Go to Page 2: Santa Isabel Shaft Dedication

Created 10/31/07 by Ronald Horii