Rancho Cañada de Pala

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Rancho Cañada de Pala was a 15,714-acre (63.59 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day Santa Clara County, California given in 1839 by Governor Juan B. Alvarado to José de Jesús Bernal.[1] The origin of the name Cañada de Pala is the subject of debate. The word "pala" translates as "shovel" in Spanish, but means "water", in many Native Californian dialects. The grant was in the foothills and mountains of the Diablo Range, east of San Jose and included most of what is now Grant Ranch Park and all of present-day Blue Oak Ranch Reserve.[2][3][4][5]


José de Jesús Bernal was granted Rancho Cañada de Pala in 1839. Jose de Jesus and his two brothers built adobes around a spring-fed pond on a ridge overlooking the Santa Clara Valley. They pastured cattle and horses on this land. Bernal's uncle, Joaquin Bernal, occupied the nearby Rancho Santa Teresa.

With the cession of California to the United States following the Mexican–American War, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided that the land grants would be honored. As required by the Land Act of 1851, a claim for Rancho Cañada de Pala was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852,[6] and the grant was patented to José de Jesús Bernal, José Antonio Bernal and Juan Bernal in 1863.[7]

The "Halls Valley" area which encompasses most of the present-day Grant Ranch Park was deeded to Bernal's attorney, Frederick Hall, to pay for processing his claim. In 1850, the southern third of the rancho was sold to Samuel Q. Broughton (1824–). Broughton, a native of Kentucky, came overland to California in 1846.[8] Adam Grant was a founder of Murphy, Grant, & Company, a dry goods store which sold supplies to gold miners, bought his initial holding of Cañada de Pala in 1880. Grant's son, Joseph D. Grant, eventually owned approximately 9,533 acres (38.6 km2). In 1974, Grant Ranch was purchased by Santa Clara County for park use.


  1. ^ Ogden Hoffman, 1862, Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Numa Hubert, San Francisco
  2. ^ Diseño del Rancho Cañada de Pala
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Rancho Cañada de Pala
  4. ^ Early Santa Clara Ranchos, Grants, Patents and Maps
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-06-30. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) . accessed 6/28/2010
  6. ^ United States. District Court (California : Northern District) Land Case 373 ND
  7. ^ Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886 Archived 2013-03-20 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ H. S. Foote, 1888, Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated, Pg. 551–552, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago

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Coordinates: 37°21′00″N 121°43′48″W / 37.350°N 121.730°W / 37.350; -121.730