Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Jose in Santa Clara County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Mineral Springs Grotto

 
 
Mineral Springs Grotto Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 14, 2013
1. Mineral Springs Grotto Marker
Captions: Springs and grottos (bottom left); Early bath house (top right); Photos courtesy of San Jose Historical Museum Archives.
Inscription. The mineral springs located in this area have played an important role in the history and development of the park. Between 1891 and 1902, the Parks Commission began developing the park, highlighting the springs. During this period, over 20 different springs were identified, including sulfur, magnesia, iron and naturally carbonated soda springs. To protect and identify the different springs, tunnels were dug into the hillside and craftsmen were brought in to build the grottos (sic) and fonts that are found in this area. The masons created the stone grottos (sic) using native rock collected from the canyon. The intricate patterns and styles you see demonstrate the formality of the period.

The popularity of the springs and the surrounding park led to the construction of bath houses. The spring waters were piped to holding tanks, heated and used in the tile tubs of the bath houses. Many visitors to the park mistake the large basin type grottos (sic) for the baths, however, they are not tubs.

With development, the park gained popularity as a heath resort. Many people felt that the mineral water had certain medicinal values. From 1892 to 1902, eleven medical doctors, from the area certified that the waters were beneficial and recommended them for “kidney and stomach troubles, rheumatism and malarial afflictions.”

Alum
Mineral Springs Grotto Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 14, 2013
2. Mineral Springs Grotto Marker
Rock Park Interpretive Series
San Jose Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services.
 
Erected by San Jose Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services.
 
Location. 37° 23.868′ N, 121° 47.839′ W. Marker is in San Jose, California, in Santa Clara County. Marker can be reached from Alum Rock Road. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: San Jose CA 95132, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Welcome to Alum Rock Park (approx. ľ mile away); Historic Alum Rock Park (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Natatorium (approx. 0.3 miles away); Alum Rock Log Cabin (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Flood of 1911 and Broad Gauge Rails (approx. one mile away); Steam Dummies & 25 Cents! (approx. 1.5 miles away); Electrification (approx. 1.6 miles away); San Jose High School (approx. 5.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in San Jose.
 
More about this marker. This marker is located on the Creek Trail. To access this marker, park in the parking lot at the far eastern end of Alum Rock Road where the road is closed, cross the old 1913 bridge and turn left (east) on the Creek Trail. Walk about 0.1 miles. The marker is on the left.
 
Also see . . .
Mineral Springs Grottoes image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 14, 2013
3. Mineral Springs Grottoes
 The Mineral Springs – The Parkís Big (Smelly) Draw. Select article #5.
As if Alum Rock Parkís physical beauty werenít enough, Mother Nature provided an extra special lure - twenty-one natural mineral springs. The medicinal qualities of mineral water were much valued around the turn of the century and a large group of San Jose physicians vouched for the healing properties of these natural elixirs. It was trendy and fashionable to “take the waters,” as foul smelling as they were. (Submitted on March 17, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Categories. Natural FeaturesNatural Resources
 
Mineral Springs Grotto image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 14, 2013
4. Mineral Springs Grotto
Mineral Springs Grotto image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 14, 2013
5. Mineral Springs Grotto
Mineral Springs image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 14, 2013
6. Mineral Springs
Geological Interpretive Panel image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 14, 2013
7. Geological Interpretive Panel
Geological Interpretive Panel image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 14, 2013
8. Geological Interpretive Panel
A Trip to the Beach

Close your eyes and listen very carefully. Can you hear the sound of ocean waves crashing on the shore? Itís hard to believe, but the land that is now Alum Rock Park was once a beach with an ocean view. The rocks and minerals found throughout the park can tell us how things have changed from an ocean beach to the beautiful canyon you see today.

The sandstone rocks filled with fossilized sea shells found near here help to tell the story. About 15 million years ago, this area was flat, sandy beach. Over thousands of years, layers of mud, sand, and silt settled to the ocean floor. Pressure and time caused the layers to form sedimentary rocks such as sandstone and shale. Earthquakes and volcanic activity pushed these layers into folds and ripples, helping to create the hill and mountains and push this area away from the ocean. You can clearly see layered rocks pushed and even folded into may beautiful curves on the surrounding hillsides. The flowing waters of Penitencia Creek have cut through these layers creating the deep, narrow canyon that is now Alum Rock Park.

The Mineral Springs

All of this ground-shaking activity has created an abundance of natural mineral springs in the park. The spaces between the layers of rock form tiny pipelines that water can flow through. Rainfall onto the mountain above the park seeps into these tiny pipelines. Over hundreds of thousands of years, the water creeps slowly through these pipelines until it finds an opening to flow out of. By the time the water reaches an opening, it has been warmed by the earth and has picked up traces of minerals. Geologists studying Alum Rock Park have discovered over 20 different mineral springs. Sulfur, magnesia, iron, natural soda, and even carbonated springs can all be found nearby.

Alum Rock Park Interpretive Series
San Jose Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Service
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 449 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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