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 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 semi-tropical climate.

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 | AHGP California

Source: Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78, Compiled by Henry G. Langley, San Francisco, 1875

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