Wildcats Roadshow at NUMU

Wildcats Roadshow May 19 2018NUMU in Los Gatos is sponsoring the Los Gatos High School Roadshow this Saturday, May 19th, from 12 noon to 4pm at the museum, 106 E Main Street, Los Gatos CA 95030.  This is an opportunity for LGHS grads, family, and friends to pull out their old swag to possibly be included in an exhibit later this year.

The NUMU site explains: “We want to see your special, personal, and precious LGHS memorabilia for possible inclusion in NUMU’s September 2018 exhibition: Sis Boom Bah: The Life and Times of Los Gatos High School.”

They are seeking all kinds of goodies from your archives: yearbooks, costumes, text books, photos, and more. See a more detailed list of what they are hoping to borrow at the link below:

Read about this Saturday’s event here: http://www.numulosgatos.org/events/wildcatshow2018?rq=roadshow

Learn about the upcoming exhibit this September here: http://www.numulosgatos.org/sbb

Los Gatos Historic Home Tour

HHTBigBash2018_WebBanner.jpg

The annual Los Gatos historic home tour returns to town for one day only on April 21st, 2018, and tickets will be available to purchase online as soon as February 26th. Sponsored by the New Museum of Los Gatos (NUMU), the annual event showcases beautiful Los Gatos properties from different eras and frequently their gardens, too.

The focus of this 23rd annual Los Gatos historic home tour will be the lovely Johnson Avenue neighborhood!

Seven houses will be on display for tour-goers. The medley of event features also includes some live music and vintage cars for show on the street.

The NUMU site offers this teaser about the Los Gatos historic home tour: “The program guide provided to all tour goers includes historical and architectural information on the featured homes as well as back stories and trivia on the history of the Johnson Avenue neighborhood, including the locations of the former sites of a private zoo of exotic animals, and the baseball field where Los Gatan Hal Chase practiced. (He was later implicated in the Black Sox scandal of 1919.)”

Sunday evening, in lieu of the usual second tour day is a new event, entitled A Bigger Bash.

Please visit the link below or click on the image at the right to get all of the details and to purchase your advance tickets (more costly if you wait to the day of the event).

http://www.numulosgatos.org/hht

Please also see this list of downtown, central, and historic Los Gatos neighborhoods

Los Gatos real estate: unreal prices!

Here’s a fun bit of Los Gatos real estate history – pricing from yesteryear!  The newspaper ad for Los Gatos homes for sale is enticing.  One of them reads:

Fillmer Ave.

Rustic type of 5 rms.,
2 Brs., tub and shower bath,
fireplace, H.W. floors, 2 car
garage, lot 60 x 140.
Immediate poss.
Asking $15,000

Or check out the house on Englewood:

Englewood Ave.

1 story, rambling type, 6
rms., 3 brs., H.W. floors,
fireplace, tiled baths, 2-car
attached garage, choice
location.  Terms.
Price  $13,500

Another one features a house on Almendra for $12 ,750 with “floor furn”, which appears to be “floor furnace” (from the “Must Sell” ad, which spelled it out). Makes me wonder what the alternative to floor furnace would be!  Or a house on Massol, also a rustic type for $15,000.  I love the description of the “Must Sell” home as “sturdily built” and, surprisingly, “complete, with all new furniture” – $12,700 and just $4,000 down.

Can you guess the year of this Los Gatos real estate advertisement?

Have a look at this and try to guess the year:

Los Gatos real estate ad date not shown
Los Gatos real estate ad date not shown

What year do you think this ad for Los Gatos homes for sale ran?  The newspaper was called the Mail News and Star, by the way.

Keep reading to see the year…

Read moreLos Gatos real estate: unreal prices!

Los Gatos historical walking tour app: LOST GATOS

Michael Kane as Mountain Charlie 2007 Historic Walking Tour in Los Gatos
Michael Kane as Mountain Charlie in the 2007 Historic Walking Tour in Los Gatos

Locals may remember that a few years back, there was a wonderful “Los Gatos History Walk” put on every year or so.  Town residents would don garments from a bygone era and take on the persona of legendary Los Gatos figures for a few hours. Both fun and educational, it provided a sense of the town’s past – both the buildings and the people’s.  It was absolutely wonderful while we had it.

Today, there’s an app for that!  It’s called Discover LOST Gatos and as of this writing, there are 3 different tours:

  1. The Heart of Los Gatos (approximately a 35 minute walking tour with 12 stops)
  2. Los Gatos: The Gem City (a 45 minute walk with 12 stops
  3. The Cradle of Los Gatos (50 minute stroll with 13 stops)

The Mercury News did a nice article on this and will fill in the details on who’s behind this wonderful idea.

http://www.mercurynews.com/los-gatos/ci_30098778/los-gatos-discover-lost-gatos

As for me, I just downloaded it to my phone and look forward to getting to know our beautiful town a little more.  You can find it online wherever you get your phone’s apps – just search for LOST Gatos.

Sacred Heart Jesuit Center – formerly the Jesuit Novitiate

Perhaps you’ve driven over Highway 17 from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz and wondered about the large white building off to the left, perched on a knoll overlooking the valley and that same highway.   That’s the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, now a retirement home for Jesuit priests and brothers (members of the Society of Jesus) for the provinces of California, Oregon, and Washington (now collectively known as “Jesuits West”).  Many decades ago, it was the novitiate for the California province, meaning it’s where young men entered the order.  Two of my uncles did just that.   I am a fairly frequent visitor to this lovely place now, as one of my uncles has gone full circle and has retired where he first entered. Some of my old professors from Gonzaga University in Spokane are there, too, as well as Jesuits that I knew growing up in the area.

Pan of Santa Cruz Mountains toward Los Gatos
Pan of Santa Cruz Mountains toward Los Gatos – view from the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center (formerly the Jesuit Novitiate)

So today I wanted to share some photos with you, as many people living in Los Gatos would have no occasion to visit what my family still calls The Novitiate.   However, Testarossa Winery is next door (at what used to be the Jesuit Winery), so many of my readers will have been close.  Please enjoy the photos, which I took last Saturday while there to see my uncle.

I’ve learned that the Jesuits also have a wicked sense of humor. My uncles like to joke that “even the Sacred Heart has turned his back to the Jesuits!”

 

Please remember many people call this home, so please enjoy the winery and the public trails nearby and respect that the Jesuit Center grounds and it’s parking is for the workers, residents, and their guests.

Saratoga and Los Gatos prune orchards – a piece of living history

Prune Orchard in Saratoga, CASilicon Valley living history

When you think of prunes, you probably don’t stop to think about Saratoga’s history. Yet you may well know that Santa Clara County was once the prune capital of the world.  And Santa Clara County’s prune epicenter was Saratoga.

My parents moved around a few times, and their last home, just off Sobey Road in Saratoga, was on 1.5 acres of prune and walnut land.  (I have a vivid recollection of the malathion spraying and trimming needed on all those trees with the medfly invasion.)  We loved the prunes and walnuts but never associated them with anything significant.  However, these orchards, which we all know are shrinking, are a piece of our collective “living history” in the Valley of Heart’s Delight…now known as Silicon Valley.

Awhile back I did a little session on the history of fruit in the Los Gatos and Saratoga area – thought my readers might enjoy it too.  Please naviage through the following slideshow manually – click on the dots below to move the images ahead (because some slides would be quick and others take a minute to read). Hope you enjoy it.

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Los Gatos Fires and the Los Gatos Fire Department

fire articleLos Gatos Fire Department History

Fire was a major danger in Los Gatos in the 1800s. Buildings were made of wood, including sidewalks (think boardwalk), and most appliances – light, heat, cooking – still used an open flame. Fire was a greater, more present danger than local wildlife (cougars and grizzlies). In its early years, the town relied on bucket brigades, finally graduating to two volunteer Hose Companies and a Hook and Ladder Company in around 1886. The Cold Spring Water Company of Los Gatos filed to incorporate in December 1890 with the stated purpose to “introduce water for domestic and fire purposes into the town of Los Gatos.”. In 1888 the town passed an ordinance to provide for the organization of a dedicated Fire Department, and perhaps just in time. A major cartridge fire in July of 1891 leveled many of the town’s businesses, and saw the shift of the business district from the east bank to the west bank of the Los Gatos Creek – and it has remained so to this day.

While many major fires destroyed homes, stores, hotels, and even an opera house, the worst is often said to be the 1901 fire.

Read moreLos Gatos Fires and the Los Gatos Fire Department