“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)

Welcome to Alum Rock Park

California’s Oldest Municipal Park

Alum Rock Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 14, 2013
1. Alum Rock Park Marker
Captions: Main lawn area circa 1900s (bottom left); Park at the turn of the century (top right); Photos courtesy of San Jose Historical Museum Archives.
Inscription. Alum Rock Park was acquired in stages over many years. The original claim is based on the first land grant by Governor Filipe de Neve, July 22, 1778. Alum Rock Park has survived many challenges to that original grant and on March 13, 1872 the California State Legislature set aside this land “...for all time to come, as a public park.” Since 1872, Alum Rock Park has grown to be San Jose’s largest, as well as our state’s oldest city park. Once a well known mineral spring health spa, the park has been restored to a natural area of majestic oaks, gently flowing streams and waving grassland. This series of interpretive panels will help visitors explore the rich and colorful history of this fantastic park.

The Reservation
Alum Rock Park, and the stream that flows through it, has had many different names. The Native Americans that lived in the valley called the creek Shistuk, and the early Spanish settlers called the creek Aguague, the watering place. At some point the creek became known as Penitencia Creek, possibly from a nearby creek known as La Pentencia where the friars from the mission would go for penance. The Park was originally known as The Reservation, but this was only an unofficial title. The first recorded use of the name Alum Rock was in 1890. At that time, people thought the white coating
Alum Rock Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 14, 2013
2. Alum Rock Park Marker
on the large rock near the park entrance was the mineral alum. John Martin Ogan gave the name Alum Rock to the entire canyon sometime near the turn of the century. By the early 1900s, most maps and official references used the name Alum Rock.
Erected by San Jose Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services.
Location. 37° 23.765′ N, 121° 48.094′ W. Marker is in San Jose, California, in Santa Clara County. Marker can be reached from Alum Rock Road, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. The marker is located in front of the Alum Rock Park visitors center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 15270 Alum Rock Road, San Jose CA 95132, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Historic Alum Rock Park (a few steps from this marker); The Natatorium (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Alum Rock Log Cabin (approx. 0.2 miles away); Mineral Springs Grotto (approx. ¼ mile away); The Flood of 1911 and Broad Gauge Rails (approx. 0.7 miles away); Steam Dummies & 25 Cents! (approx. 1.3 miles away); Electrification (approx. 1.3 miles away); San Jose High School (approx. 5 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in San Jose.
Also see . . .  City Fathers Wisely Preserve the Alum Rock Reservation for Posterity
Alum Rock Park Visitors Center image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 14, 2013
3. Alum Rock Park Visitors Center
. Select article #3
The area that would become Alum Rock Park was part of the outermost holdings of the Spanish Pueblo of San Jose de Guadalupe as designated in 1777. During the years when the pueblos provisioned the San Francisco Presidio, the rights to the land were not exercised because such outlying lands were not considered top priority. It was not until California joined the Union in 1850 that the City of San Jose was incorporated and its rights to the pueblo territory were formalized. (Submitted on March 17, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
Categories. Natural ResourcesNotable Places
Alum Rock Park Centennial Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 14, 2013
4. Alum Rock Park Centennial Plaque
Alum Rock Park
The City of San Jose created
A park for the people
March 13, 1872
Declared a Point of Historic
Interest in honor of it’s (sic)
Centennial year, 1972
“We find the gods of rest
and peace dwell in this
matchless canyon.”
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 424 times since then and 73 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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