Almaden Valley, San Jose
Spanish: Valle de Almadén
Almaden Valley (Spanish: Valle de Almadén), commonly known simply as Almaden (Spanish: Almadén), is a valley and neighborhood of San Jose, California, located in South San Jose. It is nestled between the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west and the Santa Teresa Hills to the east.
Almaden, named after the ancient Spanish mining town of Almadén, traces its history back to the 1820s, when Mexican miners discovered mercury deposits on Rancho Los Capitancillos, which later led to the establishment of the New Almaden mines. Almaden Valley, known for its abundant parkland, is one of the most expensive neighborhoods to live in San Jose and is consistently ranked as one of the most expensive areas in the country.
Almaden was originally inhabited by the Tamien nation of Ohlone people, prior to the arrival of the Spanish. The Ohlone had long utilized the area for its cinnabar, which they used for paint production.
During the Mexican era, the area of what is now Almaden was divided between two rancho grants: Rancho San Vicente, granted to José de los Reyes Berryessa, and Rancho Los Capitancillos, granted to Justo Larios. Rancho Cañada de los Capitancillos and Rancho Cañada de Oro were later divided from these original ranchos.
Almaden Valley's origins go back to the early 1800s in what is now its southernmost neighborhood, known as New Almaden (Spanish: Nueva Almadén). In the 1820s, there were several attempts by local Californio officials from the Pueblo of San José to mine the area for silver, including an 1824 venture led by Don Antonio Suñol, a prominent local figure, and Luis Chaboya, of Rancho Yerba Buena.
Quicksilver (mercury) was only successfully identified in 1845, by Mexican cavalry captain Andrés Castillero, who was able to obtain a grant to mine the area by Governor Pío Pico. However, occupied with his military responsibilities, Castillero sold his claim to the mines to Alexander Forbes, then serving as the British Consul to Mexican California. The area was named after the ancient Spanish mining town of Almadén, where mercury has been mined since Roman times.
Mercury was extracted from the New Almaden mines from the time of the California Gold Rush until 1975. Many of the names in Almaden retain their mercury mine themes, such as Silver Lode Lane and Silver Mine Drive. Many places in Almaden still use the name Quicksilver.
In 1852, Charles LeFranc founded Almaden Vineyards, the first commercial winery in California, with his father-in-law Éthienne Thée, using vine cuttings from his native France. Following Prohibition, the winery and the company had great success with their blush wine and the White Grenache Rosé, one of the first popular pink wines in the United States. Almaden Vineyards has since moved its winery to Madera, California, while the historic remains of the property are now known as the Old Almaden Winery, which serves as a public park and California Historic Landmark.
Beginning in the late 1800s, Almaden was home to the Graystone Quarry, one of the most significant quarries in the Bay Area, used in the construction of landmarks including San Francisco City Hall, Stanford University, Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, among numerous others. Today, the area where Graystone Quarry once existed and where the Pfeiffer family once lived is occupied by the neighborhood of Pfeiffer, also known as, the Graystone of Almaden, thus named after the quarry's stone master Jacob Pfeiffer and the Quarry 
In December 1959, the Regents of the University of California selected Almaden Valley to be the site of the next campus of the University of California system. Unfortunately, news of this decision caused property values in the area to increase so rapidly that the Regents could no longer afford to buy the needed land. After another year of study, the Regents selected another site much farther south, which opened in 1965 as the University of California, Santa Cruz.
In 1975, the New Almaden mines closed after 135 years of operation. Santa Clara County Parks subsequently purchased the vast property surrounding the mines, in order to transform it into a regional park. Almaden Quicksilver County Park opened a few years later after an extensive clean-up of the area. It is declared a National Historic Landmark and a California Historical Landmark.
Almaden Valley includes all the areas within the 95120 zip code.
Almaden Valley is home to over 15 parks including 3 county parks, 3 lakes, 1 regional park, 1 open space preserve and several neighborhood parks:
- Almaden Lake Regional Park
- Almaden Meadows Park
- Almaden Quicksilver County Park
- Almaden Reservoir
- Calero Lake and County Park
- Carabelle Park
- Cathedral Park
- Glenview Park
- Greystone Park
- Guadalupe Oak Grove Park
- Guadalupe Reservoir County Park
- Jeffrey Fontana Park
- Parma Park
- Rancho San Vicente Open Space Preserve
- Singer Park
- T J Martin Park
Almaden Valley is home to an expansive trail system, including:
- Los Alamitos Creek Trail is a 9.4-mile out-and-back trail
- Almaden Lake Loop Trail, a 1.4-mile trail
- Almaden Quicksilver County Park, 4163 acres with several trails across the park
- Calero Creek Trail and Mine Trail, 18 miles of unpaved hiking trails
- Guadalupe Creek Trail, is a 1.7-mile trail
- Mount Umunhum trail, a 7.7 mile trail in the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve to the summit of the mountain
- Senador Mine Trail, Mine Hill Trail, and Castillero Trail, a 12.7 mile trail
- Webb Canyon, New Almaden, Cinnabar, Mine Hill, Randol and Prospect #3 Loop Trail, a 5.4-mile trail
- New Almaden, Mine Hill and Guadalupe Trail Loop, a 13.6-mile loop trail
Also notably, Bay Area Ridge Trail, the 550-mile hiking, cycling, and equestrian trail being built on the ridgelines around all of San Francisco Bay Area includes Almaden Valley's Los Alamitos Creek Trail, Calero Creek Trail, Mount Umunhum Trail and Almaden Quicksilver County Park.
Integral to Silicon Valley, Almaden is home to numerous high tech companies. It is notably home to the IBM Almaden Research Center, which has played an important role in the discovery and development of new technologies.
The neighborhood is primarily an affluent residential area. The average income per household in Almaden Valley is $235,212
The 2010 United States Census and the American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau reported that, as of 2019, Almaden Valley had a population of 38,122, with 12,877 housing units.
The racial makeup of Almaden Valley was 20,726 (54.4%) White, 13,866 (36.4%) Asian, 2,700 (7.1%) Hispanic or Latino, 741 (1.9%) African American, 124 (0.3%) Native American, 2184 (5.7%) from two or more races and 442 (1.2%) of some other race.
The population was spread out, with 9430 (24.7%) children under the age of 18, 21,243 (55.7%) adults aged 18 to 64, and 7,449 (19.5%) adults aged 65 years or older. The median age was 46.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.4 males.
Almaden Valley students attend primary, middle and high schools across 3 different school districts, San José Unified School District, Campbell Union School District and Los Gatos Union School District. While most neighborhoods are in San José Unified School District, some in the northwest are in the Campbell Union School District, and some in the southwest bordering Los Gatos are in the Los Gatos Union School District.
Almaden Valley is served by the Almaden Branch Library of the San José Public Library.
Schools in Almaden include:
- Public schools
- Leland High School
- Pioneer High School
- Bret Harte Middle School
- Castillero Middle School
- Dartmouth Middle School
- Private schools
Casa Grande was constructed in 1854, under the direction of the mine's general manager, Henry Halleck, who used the building until 1920 as a personal and official residence for the New Almaden Mining Company. John McLaren, of Golden Gate Park fame, assisted in designing the five acres of formally landscaped grounds around the house.
In 1997, Santa Clara County purchased the building to house the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum, which started as a private collection by Constance Perham, who displayed it in her house in New Almaden. The new museum opened in 1998. The building underwent extensive renovation from 2009-2010 to restore it to its configuration when it was a mine manager's residence from 1854 to 1925. It reopened in January 2011. It houses interpretive exhibits and displays on the history of the New Almaden mines and on the lives of its workers and their families.
In the mid-1800s, just a few years before the great California Gold Rush, Andres Castillera, a Mexican officer with the Artillery discovered cinnabar in New Almaden, a precious metal also known as quicksilver which bought Castillera lot of riches. As the word spread, New Almaden was thriving with miners trying to mine more cinnabar themselves.
In 1848, a boarding house was constructed by the creek in New Almaden as a house for boarding for the miners. Hot meals were served in the rustic dining room downstairs. This was the first two-story lodging in California. Fire destroyed the building in 1875 but it was rebuilt and stayed in operation in this capacity until the 1930s.
It was then converted into Cafe Del Rio which served New Almaden for almost 40 years.
In 1992, La Foret, a high-end French restaurant opened in the building. The restaurant, still in operation, is a local landmark in San Jose and well known across the Bay Area for its fine dining
New Almaden Historic District
A two-teacher school was built in the 1860s on a flat near Casa Grande. Enrollment came chiefly from the Hacienda along with some children from nearby ranches. One of the oldest buildings in the district is the Carson-Perham Adobe, built between 1848 and 1850 by Mexican miners, and later the home of George Carson, the mine company bookkeeper, postmaster, telegraph operator, and Wells Fargo agent. Constance Perham lived in the adobe house for many years and established a private museum there in 1949, the collections of which were purchased in 1983 by Santa Clara County. 
Almaden Expressway is the primary arterial road that intersects through Almaden Valley, linking it to the rest of Santa Clara Valley with connections to the West Valley Freeway (CA 85) and the Guadalupe Freeway (CA 87)
Until 2019, Almaden station of the VTA light rail was the main rail connection in the area. Since its closure, the closest VTA light rail station is Ohlone/Chynoweth station (VTA) on the VTA blue line.
- Almaden Times, is a weekly newspaper, owned by Times Media, and has been serving Almaden Valley since 1986.
- Almaden Resident, is a weekly newspaper, owned by Metro Newspapers, and has been serving Almaden Valley since 2004 
- Angle of Repose, a 1971 novel that won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1972, had New Almaden as one of the key locations the story was set in
- Aparajita Tumi, a 2012 Indian Bengali-language drama film set in Almaden Valley, directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, an adaptation of the novel Dui Nari Hathe Tarbari by famous Bengali writer Sunil Gangopadhyay. The movie won several awards at the Indian Royal Stag Mirchi Music Awards.
- The Tillman Story, a 2010 documentary on the life of Pat Tillman, who grew up in Almaden Valley, a defensive back with the Arizona Cardinals. Tillman decided to walk away from a multimillion-dollar contract to go to Afghanistan in 2002, where he was killed. The documentary was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It was named 2010 Best Documentary by the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association, and the Florida Film Critics Circle.
Following are some of the notable past or present residents of the Almaden Valley:
- Alan Chang — Pianist and songwriter.
- Brent Jones – Former American football player and Pro Bowl tight end for the San Francisco 49ers.
- Count Five — 1960s rock band.
- Dave Hoffmann - Professional football player and All-American college football player for the Washington Huskies
- Dave Righetti — Professional baseball player and coach.
- David E. Osborne — Author, Reinventing Government and The Coming. Senior White House advisor, Clinton administration. 2018 Spur Award Winner, Historical Novel.
- Evan Low – California State Assembly member, and former Mayor of Campbell, California.
- Jason Hardtke – Former professional baseball player
- Jerry Hsu – Professional skateboarder.
- Joe Murray – Creator of TV animated series Rocko's Modern Life and Camp Lazlo.
- Kevin Pollak — Actor, impressionist, game show host, and comedian.
- Yubin – Singer, actress, and former member of Wonder Girls
- Pat Tillman – Former American football player, notable for turning down a multimillion-dollar contract and enlisting as a United States Army Ranger in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. He was killed in Afghanistan in 2004 by friendly fire. The football/track stadium at Almaden Valley's Leland High School is named Tillman Stadium after him.
- Reggie Smith – Former NBA player for the Portland Trail Blazers.
- Rob Becker — Playwright, Defending the Caveman.
- Steven Beitashour – Major League Soccer player, formerly with the San Jose Earthquakes.
- Steve Finn — Philanthropist and former mayor of Los Altos Hills.
- Steve Smith – Astronaut, holds all-time second place for cumulative spacewalk time.
- The United States vs. Andres Castillero New Almaden (multiple volumes) (1923), by Andrés Castillero
- Cinnabar Hills-the Quicksilver Days of New Almaden (1976) by Milton and Laurence Bulmore Lanyon
- Almaden is My Life (1984), by Ruth Teiser, Morris H. Katz, William A. Dieppe
- New Almaden (2006) by Michael Boulland
- Memoir On the Mines and Works of Almaden (2010), by H Kuss
- Telemundo Area de la Bahia Incendio de maleza en San José provoca evacuaciones
- City of San José Twitter
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- NPS Santa Clara guide
- Southern California Review (Volume 46, Issue 1) - University of California Press
- "Almaden Valley timeline, Mercury News". Mercury News. March 29, 2008. Retrieved Jul 6, 2021.
- Lichine, Alexis (1967). Alexis Lichine's Encyclopedia of Wines and Spirits. London: Cassell & Company Ltd. p. 64.
- California Office of Historic Preservation, Santa Clara
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- Stadtman, Verne A. (1970). The University of California, 1868–1968. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 412–413.
- County of Santa Clara - Calero County Park Trails Master Plan Program Development Report
- "Santa Clara Valley Water District: Calero Dam and Reservoir". Archived from the original on 2017-06-20. Retrieved 2017-07-03.
Calero Reservoir provides water directly to drinking water treatment plants, which treat and test it for safety. The district then distributes the water to water retailers to sell to the county’s 1.8 million residents. Calero also captures and stores winter runoff to recharge groundwater basins, helps store water from the nearby Almaden Reservoir watershed and accepts imported water.
- | Los Alamitos Creek Trail information on City of San Jose website
- | Almaden Lake Park information on City of San Jose website
- County Park information on Santa Clara County website
- | Guadalupe Creek Trail information on City of San Jose website
- "Gathering of the Most Brilliant Minds in Energy Storage to Take Place". AZOM. June 23, 2009. Retrieved Jul 6, 2021.
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- "IBM Scientists Discover Nanotech Communication Method". Science Daily. Feb 7, 2000. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- Council Districts on City of San Jose website
- Message from elected District 10 council member Matt Mahan on City of San Jose website
- "95120 Income Statistics - Current Census Data for Zip Codes". Retrieved 2021-07-01.
- "ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2021-07-01.
- Santa Clara School District Finder website
- https://www.almadencountrydayschool.org Almaden Country Day School website
- https://www.holyspirit-school.org/ Holy Spirit School website
- Jose Water Lantern Festival at the Almaden Lake
- Art & Wine Festival
- Harvest Festival information on City of San Jose website
- 50k & 100k
- Trail Challenge
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- "2005 Hall of Fame inductee biographies". San Jose Sports Authority. Archived from the original on August 3, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2010.
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When Pat Tillman was a freshman at Leland High School, he didn't make the varsity baseball team, despite being one of the best players his age in the South Bay.
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- "Sports shorts: Leland to honor alum Steven Beitashour Jan. 15". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
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- "Astronaut Bio: Steven L. Smith 8/98". Spaceacts.com. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
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