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Looking Back: Almaden Road: On the Trail of Indians, Stagecoaches, and Confederate Raiders

Photo of Map


Map: An 1887 California Room map showing Almaden Road between Malone and Curtner. King Library California Room


“A road pounded out by the bare feet of Indians before the white man came still stretches south from San Jose into the rolling brush covered hills, the bare earth paved with asphalt.”  So wrote local historian Patricia Loomis in her introduction to a piece on Almaden Road, “…one of the oldest of the area roads whose route remains basically the same after more than two centuries.”   While much of Almaden Road was replaced by the much wider  Almaden Expressway in about 1960, there still exists a number of disconnected segments of the old road that were spared.


One segment  branches off from the expressway just south of Alma Avenune and snakes along near the Guadalupe River passed Willow Glen Way, Malone Road, and Curtner Avenue, then crosses Almaden Expressway, makes a sharp right, then dead ends near the Meadowbrook Apartments.  Another portion snakes around behind some apartments and the Lincoln Glen Shopping Center to connect with Capitol Expressway.  Other remnants lie further south and then the original road eventually branches off the expressway to complete the old destination of the New Almaden Mine.


The road was once a stage route, with stops at Sycamore Grove (just south of Malone Road), the Five Mile House (aka Robertsville at Branham Lane), Martin House at Kooser Road, Half Way House, Eight Mile House, and the Last Chance up near the edge of the company-owned mining town.  There was plenty of excitement along this road in the old days; in fact the San Jose Mercury for July 21, 1861 reports the story of a group of men who were attempting to rob the New Almaden stage.  They revealed themselves as Confederate guerillas looking to form and equip a Confederate military company to join the war in the east.  Their plot had been discovered and a shoot-out took place not far from Malone Road between the Rebels and local authorities.  The local authorities prevailed.



Street Photo


Photo:  Looking south down Almaden Road between Willow Glen Way and Malone Road.  Just south of Malone Road is the old Sycamore Grove site and the intersection with Canoas Garden Road.  Canaoas Garden Road was once named Cemetery Road, as it led straight to a part of Thomas Kell’s property in the San Juan Bautista Hills where the Holy Cross Cemetery resided (he donated that parcel of his property to the Catholic Church).  The road was bisected by the creation of the Almaden Expressway. 


Further Reading in the California Room:


Korean Conversation Club (Phase 11) for Non Korean Speakers at King Library

You always welcome to join our "Korean Conversation Club" (Phase 11) at King Library

Learn simple words and phrases in this six-week class series! 


Korean Conversation club in the Library was introduced in Korean Daily newspaper(July.3,2014).


Wednesdays @ 2:00 p.m.

September 17, 24 & October 1, 8, 15, 22, 2014


Study Room 390, 3rd Floor

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library

150 E. San Fernando St., San Jose

1-408-808-2331, 2336                                                                  


Free Admission / No Sign-up


San Jose Public Library eBook Collections:



San Jose Public Library Book/CD/DVD Collections:


San Jose Public Library Magazine/Periodical Collections:


San Jose Public Library Newspaper Collections:


Question of the Week: When is the Next Full Moon (or New Moon)?

full moonThis month's full moon fell on September 9. The next new moon will fall on September 24. The moon is full when the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. Another way to look at it is that the moon, sun and earth are in a line with the earth being between the sun and moon. When this occurs the entire surface of the moon looks to be illuminated. The full moon occurs every 29.53058 days. A new moon occurs when the moon is between the earth and the sun. We are seeing the oposite side of the moon that the sun is shinning on. At the exact time of the New moon the moon is to close to the sun to see at all as quoted on moongiant.com.


To learn more about the full moon, San José Public Library has good books available to read with your family.


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War Comes Home - ebooks

soldiersThis month's War Comes Home program honors our military veterans with film, art, discussion and, of course, reading.  You can find the featured book, What it is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes in ebook format along with other ebooks related to veterans in the Staff Picks section of our Axis 360 ebook collection.

Question of the Week: Is it Possible to be Prepared for an Earthquake?

book cover

After the 6.0 magnitude earthquake in Napa that happened at the end of August, library customers  are searching for some materials on earthquake preparedness. When searching for this topic it is good to use such subject searches as "Emergency Management" and "Disaster Preparedness".


San Jose Public Library has a number of resources that may be helpful:


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Academic Support for School Age Children ~ Apoyo académico para niños de edad escolar
















In collaboration with Biblioteca Latinoamericana Branch Library and Washington Elementary School, the Collaborative Community Program (CCP) will offer two programs this school year to assist school age children (grades Kindergarten – 5th) in obtaining academic success.

This year the Collaborative Community Program will be providing their Mentor Program to school age children two days a week, starting September 8th.


On Mondays, they will offer academic/homework assistance in reading and mathematics for children  from Kindergarten through 3rd grade at the Washington Elementary School, Room D2 from 2:30pm – 4:00pm. To sign-up for this, please come the Washington Elementary School on Monday, Sept. 8th at 2:30pm.


On Thursdays, for children from Kindergarten through 5th grade, they will provide a project-based mentoring and literacy at the Biblioteca Latinoamericana Branch Library in the Community Room from 3:30pm – 5:00pm. Please come to the Biblioteca Latinoamericana Branch Library – Community Room on Thursday, Sept. 11th at 3:30pm to sign up for this program.


For more information on program, please contact Collaborative Community Program by phone at 1-408-634-2125, by email at ccpsantaclara@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CCPSanJose.



En colaboración con la Biblioteca Latinoamericana y el Escuela Primaria Washington, el Programa Comunitario de Colaboración (CCP) ofrecerá este año escolar dos programas para ayuda a los niños de Kinder hasta el 5° grado para obtener éxito académico.


Este año, el Programa Comunitario de Colaboración (CCP) va proveerá su Programa de Mentores a los niños de edad escolar dos días a la semana, empiezando el 8 de septiembre.


En los lunes, CCP ofrecerá a los niños de Kinder hasta 3° grado  asistencia con la tarea, lectura y matématicas en la Escuela Primaria Washington, el sálon número D2 de 2:30 p.m. hasta 4:00 p.m. Para inscribirse, por favor vengan en persona al la Escuela Primaria Washington el lunes, 8 de septiembre a las 2:30 p.m.


En los jueves para los niños de Kinder hasta 5° grado, CCP va ofrecer aprendizaje basado en proyectos y lectura en la Biblioteca Latinoamericana, sálon comunitario de 3:30 p.m. hasta las 5:00 p.m. Por favor inscribirse en persona en la Biblioteca Latinoamericana, sálon comunitario el jueves, 11 de septiembre a las 3:30 p.m.


Para más información sobre este programa, por favor contacte el Programa Comunitario de Colabaración por teléfono al 1-408-634-2125, por correo electrónico o por Facebook al https://www.facebook.com/CCPSanJose.

Rock's Backpages

rock's backpages logoAre you a fan of rock or pop music? If so, take a look at the library's new resource, Rock's Backpages to get some background on your favorite performers.  Articles range from a 1961 interview with Bob Dylan to a 2013 interview with Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj, with a whole lot in between.


Rock's Backpages includes over 25,000 articles, covering over 4,500 artists representing all genres of popular music from the 1950s to the present: from Abba to Zappa and Aaliyah to ZZ Top. Written by over 600 of the biggest names in music journalism, past and present, they are taken from the widest possible range of publications in the US and UK.


Rock's Backpages also features a library of over 400 audio interviews, including classic conversations with Jimi Hendrix (1970), Michael Jackson (1980), Joni Mitchell (1994), Kurt Cobain (1993), Bob Marley (1975), Pink Floyd (1971), Johnny Cash (1996), Bo Diddley (1970), Jerry Garcia (1969), and hundreds more.


Note: from outside the library, scroll down to "Login via your library" and enter your San Jose Public Library card number.

Question of the Week: How Can I Improve My Excel Skills?

Cover of Absolute Beginner's Guide Excel 2013The San José Public Library has many items available if you want to learn more about computer programs such as Excel. The Library has an extensive collection of both print books as well as eBooks. Many of the San José Public Library Branches also teach basic computer classes, where a volunteer can teach you the basics of Excel, how to navigate the Internet, and help you with other basic computer-related questions.


Additionally, CustomGuide is a great, free resource available to all San José Public Library users. CustomGuide offers tutorials on computer software programs (including Excel) for beginning, intermediate and advanced users. 


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September is Library Card Sign-Up Month

Stan Lee Promotes Library Card Sign-Up Month2014’s Honorary Chair for Library Card Sign-Up Month is the legendary Stan Lee, co-creator of Spiderman, the Hulk, X-men and many more famed comic book characters. At this year's American Library Association conference, Stan Lee said, “Reading is very good, and you can quote me!” Thanks for the permission, Stan!

If you don’t already have a San Jose Public Library card, you can find out how to get one here. All residents of California of all ages are eligible for an SJPL card. If you are under 18, your parent or guardian must accompany you to the library, present photo identification and agree to the borrowing rules.

A SJPL library card allows you to check out library materials and use the library’s computers, but that’s just the beginning. You can also use it to access online research resources, reserve study rooms and download e-books. Your library card will also get you discounts at San Jose’s Tech Museum and Camera Cinemas. For even more about the benefits of a SJPL library card, read “What Your Library Card Gets You.”


The American Library Association is sponsoring a contest for Library Card Sign-up month. Use social media to share why you value your library card for a chance to win a subscription to Marvel Unlimited or other comic book-themed prizes. Details are here

Question of the Week: Where are More Streams to Go Fishing?

California Fishing Book coverA customer wanted to know the various areas where different streams and creeks ran for fishing in Northern California. The first of the resources that popped up in my mind was Santa Clara Valley Water District.


The District’s page of Healthy Creeks has posted information including the following passage:
"Santa Clara Valley encompasses five major watersheds. A watershed is the land area from which surface runoff drains into a stream channel, lake, reservoir or the ocean. For example, all the creeks and rivers in the Guadalupe Watershed, including water from storm drains, flow into the Guadalupe River then downstream into San Francisco Bay."


The same page presents a video tour "Watching Our Watersheds" which is also on Youtube. These five watersheds are: Coyote; Guadalupe, Lower Peninsula, Uvas/Llagas, and West Valley.


Next, by googling "California and Fishing," the top results include a page of Fishing in California from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). It links to Sport  Fishing Regulations, as well as Sport Fishing Regulations-Fresh Water Edition, etc. The CDFW site also helps you plan your fishing trip with map-based information in the form of an interactive Fishing Guide. It allows you to see many excellent fishing spots and learn about the services and facilities for recreational fishing in California.


If Eastern Sierra is of interest to you, Mono County provides an attractive page of Top Fishing Spots that links to helpful Fishing & Stocking Reports.


At the library, there are copies of an excellent guidebook, California Fishing: The Complete Guide to Fishing on Lakes, Streams, Rivers, and the Coast that may be checked out.


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