Santa Clara County California
Santa Clara County. Organized in 1850. Bounded
on the north by Alameda, east by Stanislaus and Merced, south by
Monterey, and southwest and west by Santa Cruz and San Mateo.
Area, 1,332 square miles. Assessed valuation of property for
1874, $31,705,566. Population, 30,000.
County seat, San Jose. Principal towns: Alviso, Gilroy,
Mayfield, New Almaden, Santa Clara, and Saratoga. The resources
are prominently agricultural; also possessing the richest
quicksilver mines of the world.
The great valley of Santa Clara extends from the Bay of San
Francisco through the greater part of the county, and is the
garden of California, a beautiful plain, fertile in every part,
and with a climate gently tempered by soft sea breezes, making
it a perfect Eden in reality. The Monte Diablo range runs
through the eastern portion of the county, and in it are lofty
peaks and many small and fertile valleys. The highest land is
Mount Hamilton, with an altitude of 4,400 feet, and the highest
peak of the range. On the western border are the Santa Cruz
Mountains, well wooded in their greater elevations, and from
which some 10,000,000 feet of lumber is annually made for
consumption in the valley.
In the eastern hills of this range are the quicksilver mines of
New Almaden, Enriqueta, and Guadalupe, from which came, until
recently, the principal supply of that metal for the Pacific
Coast, and large quantities for export. The total product of
these mines from 1850, when a record was first kept, has been
about 600,000 flasks of 76½ pounds each, the present product
being at the rate of about 1,000 flasks per month, the
productiveness of the mine having greatly declined.
Agriculturally the county is one of the foremost in the State,
cereals, fruits, and vegetables being largely produced, and is
particularly distinguished for its immense fields of
strawberries. The climate and soil seem so well adapted to this
delicate and luscious berry that it flourishes perennially in
great perfection, giving foundation for the California boast of
"strawberries in December," though the vines are most prolific
in the spring and summer months. Horticulture in every variety
has occupied a great deal of attention, and the range of fruits
include nearly all adaptable to a rich and warm soil and a
The great valley comprises about one-fourth of the area of the
county, while the other three-fourths is mountainous or hilly.
The elevated land furnishes fine pasturage, and many noble
vineyards adorn the hill-sides. From the mountains numerous
rivulets enter the valley, and through its lower portion run the
Coyote, Guadalupe, and Los Gatos, which are considerable
streams. Numerous artesian wells furnish flowing streams
throughout the valley giving an unusual supply of water.
The Southern Pacific Railroad runs from northwest to southeast
the entire length of the county, and a branch of the Central
Pacific on the east side of San Francisco Bay, connects at San
Jose. At the town of Alviso is an important harbor, an arm of
the bay giving water communication with San Francisco, all along
every desired facility for cheap and speedy transportation of
the county's products.
Officers: D. S. Payne, County Judge; Cornelius
Finley, Clerk; Thomas Bodley, District Attorney; John H. Adams,
Sheriff; W. J. Colohan, Recorder; Hiram Fairfield, Auditor;
Daniel C. Balley, Treasurer; J. H. Morgan, Tax Collector; Thomas
Lilley, Assessor; A. T. Herrmann, Surveyor; A. J. Cory, Coroner;
Freeman Smith, Public Administrator; James G. Kennedy,
Superintendent of Public Schools.
California Gazetteer |
Source: Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78, Compiled
by Henry G. Langley, San Francisco, 1875