A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

Main Street Bridge in Los Gatos

May 02, 2007

Los Gatos Creek, Los Gatos CAThe Los Gatos Creek plays a key role in the history of the town, and so too does the Main Street bridge that traverses it.

In 1839, two brothers-in law, Jose Hernandez and Jaun Peralta, were looking for the right location to stake their claim to a Mexican land grant when they heard mountain lions fighting. Realizing that if the huge cats lived nearby, water must be nearby too. (The land grant was named La Rinconada de Los Gatos, or Cat’s Corner. And eventually the town was given the name Los Gatos as well.)

View of Main Street taken from the bridge over the Los Gatos Creek

Peralta and Hernandez found the water they sought, a creek snaking down from the coastal mountains and stretching for the bay, and set up their first home at what is now Vasona Park. The partners received 6631 acres of land with the only requirement being that they had to occupy it. Over time, people moved to the area. Mills began at the water’s edge. Stagecoach travel to Santa Cruz commenced. And eventually, the town of Los Gatos incorporated in 1887 over 1 square mile (100 acres) on both sides of the Los Gatos Creek. The population was 1645 then. (Today, the town encompasses 12 square miles. For a detailed historical time line of the town,


click here.)

Naturally, a bridge would be important to get from one side of Los Gatos to the other. A wooden bridge was constructed.


It came to be known as “the hanging bridge” as this was where a lynching took place in 1883.

“Main Street Bridge, Los Gatos, Fires were a terrible threat, and more than once, buildings burned to the ground as the bucket brigade battled the flames unsuccessfully. A particularly bad blaze ravaged East Main Street in 1891, culminating at a hardware store in which dynamite was sold. Other fires struck in 1890, 1898 and 1901 too. It became clear that a wooden bridge was not an ideal situation.

A stone and concrete bridge replaced the wooden one in 1905 see “Los Gatos Creek Trail sign”

Today the bridge remains central to downtown Los Gatos. It spans across not just the creek, and the businesses on both sides of the creek, but a busy freeway that connects Silicon Valley with the coastal communities, most notably the beach at Santa Cruz. The bridge is frequented by motorists, cyclists, and folks on foot or rollerblade. From the bridge there’s access to the much-loved, 9.7 mile Los Gatos Creek Trail. Tourists and residents alike can be seen on or near the bridge with cameras in hand as the spot is quite scenic. And the first Saturday in December,

plans to improve the bridge between now and 2009 by beautifying it, paving it, and adding a water fountain at the head of the trail.

ohlone mural middle - Main Street Bridge in Los GatosUnder the bridge, in addition to the wonderful trail, there’s a beautiful

mural to honor the Ohlone people who lived here before European settlers moved in. Painted by 60 volunteers, the mural is 76 feel long and 22 feet high and was completed in 2006. With so much of history riding across the bridge above, it is good to remember that the history of the area didn’t really begin in 1839 at all, but much, much earlier.

Mary Pope-Handy's Valley of Heart's Delight logo

Mary Pope-Handy

Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
License# 01153805

Selling homes in
Silicon Valley, with
special focus on
Los Gatos 

and nearby areas,
Monte Sereno,
and the San Jose areas of
Cambrian and Almaden Valley

Helping Nice Folks to
Buy & Sell Homes
in Silicon Valley
since 1993


Privacy Policy

Photo of Mary Pope-Handy, August 2018

Mary's other sites
and blogs

ValleyOfHeartsDelight blog
Santa Clara County Real Estate,
especially the West Valley areas
*Main BLOG*

Silicon Valley relocation info

Los Gatos real estate
Silicon Valley real estate,
focus on home selling

Gateway to Mary's other sites, info on Mary Pope-Handy's listings

The Real Estate Report
Statistics and trends for Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County - updated monthly

Let's Connect

About the real estate search:

Use the widget below to browse properties which are for sale, under contract (pending) or sold. Want to view only homes which are available now? Use the "find a home" link on the menu above (next to the "home" button).

Search real estate listings

Looking for content on just a certain topic? Use the pull down menu below to search by category.