Mountain View in Santa Clara County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
The Spirit of the Times
Wild Marshes, Handy Scows & Mr. Henry Rengstorﬀ
Originally on 164 acres on the bay east of today’s Shoreline Business Park, this enchanting house was built of virgin Redwood and Douglas Fir trees from nearby Woodside. The oldest known building in Mountain View, the house hosted weddings, parties, community gatherings and events for Henry’s increasingly important transportation business near his Landing on the bay. After falling into ruin in the 1950’s, the house eventually made its way to the Register of Historical Places in 1978. Today, the Rengstorff House has been returned to its former glory. Now used for both business and pleasure activities, this “Victorian Beauty” once more reigns over the marshlands of the south San Francisco Bay.
Rengstorff’s and Guth’s landings were built at the end of Stierlin Road (now Shoreline Boulevard), Jagel’s at the end of Whisman Road and Chief Ynigo’s Landing was east of Alviso Road. Heavily loaded scow schooners sailed the bay. The smells of hay and produce mixed with the braying mules, the yells of workers and the slap of bay water against the docks make the landings bustling headquarters of movement along the bay. By the late 1800’s, orchards had largely replaced grain fields, and with no cold storage at the dock warehouses, the economics of bay shipping changed activities there. The final blow to the landings came when the transcontinental railroad linked farms in Santa Clara Valley with the large eastern markets. By 1908, barge shipping was a thing of the past and the landings were closed down.
Marriage to Christine Hassler, also from Germany brought a busy family life of seven children to the edge of the bay. Henry’s interest further expanded when he built a transport landing near the end of the present Shoreline Boulevard. The bustle of wagons bringing hay and other goods to ship to San Francisco provided the background for the children’s youth, as they rode their ponies and played games in the surrounding marshlands.
Henry Rengstorff was one of the foremost businessmen and philanthropists of his day. At the time of his death at 77, he was also one of the wealthiest and most respected citizens in this young and thriving community. Henry’s presence endures today in his generosity to the community and in the restored beauty of his home.
1777 Spanish founded Mission Santa Clara de Assis
1821 Mexico declared indpendence
1829 Henry Rengstorff born in Hanover, Germany
7 Ohlones out of 1800 became landowners including Chief Ynigo
1842 Francisco Estrada applied for land grant including present-day Mountain View and Sunnyvale
1849 California ceded to the United States; Gold Rush On!
1850 Mountain View growing along road from San Francisco to Santa Clara: Rengstorff emigrated to San Francisco for gold rush
1853 Rengstorff granted squatter’s rights on 290 acres near bay
1857 Henry Rengstorff married Christine Hassler
1867 Rengstorff built house on bay shore in Mountain View
1906 Henry Rengstorff died at 77, father of 7 children
1919 Christine Rengstorff died; daughter Elise inherits family house
1959 Rengstorff House sold to land company
1980 City moved Rengstorff House to Shoreline
1986 Rengstorff House moved to permanent site: renovation started
1991 Rengstorff House opens for public use
Location. 37° 25.9′ N, 122° 5.213′ W. Marker is in Mountain View, California, in Santa Clara County. Marker is on North Shoreline Boulevard, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3070 North Shoreline Boulevard, Mountain View CA 94043, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow Rengstorff House (within shouting distance of this marker); First Commercially Practicable Integrated Circuit (approx. 1.1 miles away); Semiconductor Planar Process and Integrated Circuit, 1959 (approx. 1.1 miles away); Computer History Museum (approx. 1.3 miles away); Shakey: The World's First Mobile Intelligent Robot, 1972 (approx. 1.3 miles away); El Palo Nuevo (approx. 1.7 miles away); J. Pearce Mitchell Park (approx. 1.7 miles away); Mariano Castro Adobe (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mountain View.
Also see . . .
1. Rengstorff House - Historic Victorian House. The Italianate design is evident in a hip roof with a central gable crowned by a widow's walk, the front portico and symmetrical room layout. (Submitted on October 8, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
2. Rengstorff, A Pioneer Family. Henry Rengstorff grew up in Germany, where his father owned and operated a country tavern near Bremen. Like so many others of his generation, young Henry was lured to California by stories of the Gold Rush. (Submitted on October 8, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. • Agriculture • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 8, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 352 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 8, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.