Almaden is probably best known as the namesake of California State Route 85, which runs from Santa Cruz up through Almaden Valley and then into San Jose before terminating at I-280 in southern San Francisco Bay. The area also contains the unincorporated community of Cherry Flat, famous for its rural charm and apple farms. The Los Alamitos Creek Trail Park follows Los Alamitos Creek, a waterway winding through the community.
Located in the “Santa Clara Valley” at (37.353611, -121.867161). The elevation of Almaden is about 354 feet (108 meters) above sea level. At the southern boundary of the city limits is the Guadalupe River which flows from north to south and has been adopted as a natural heritage U.S. National Wild & Scenic River by both Santa Clara County and California State Legislature.<ref name=”NCWSA”>Almaden Expressway Watershed map</ref> Los Alamitos Creek is also a tributary of Guadalupe River that runs on the course just east of Almaden Expressway.
History of Almaden Meadows
The area of “Almaden” was derived from the New Almaden Quicksilver Mines within the present day confines of Almaden Quicksilver County Park. The official formation of a place called “Almaden” was adopted by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in 1953. It is situated on the banks of Los Alamitos Creek, which flows down from the Santa Cruz Mountains and passes through California’s first , Almaden Quicksilver County Park between New Almaden and San Jose.
“The neighborhood ties its beginnings to the mining settlement built by John C. Frémont (the American West’s first Republican candidate for President) in 1845, as well as to a trout farm built by Sunnyvale’s founder, Nels C. Peterson, in 1871. The trout farm was fed by Los Alamitos Creek.”
Almaden’s beginnings are tied to the New Almaden Quicksilver Mines, which were named after a mercury mine in (old) New Almaden, Mexico that had produced quicksilver for gold extraction from ore during Mexico’s colonial height. In essence, the California Gold Rush brought the development of American chemistry and it can be argued that mercury played as much a part in the construction of our young nation as did gold itself.
In 1982 the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors created an 11-member task force to address problems facing youth in Santa Clara County. The task force recognized that, while many young people were coming to the Almaden Quicksilver Park (now California State Park) for recreation and education, others sought similar benefits in a denser environment with more opportunities for socializing.
After much debate, it was decided that a private non-profit organization should be formed to develop and operate an urban park within Almaden Valley. With the help of Corporate Sponsorships from companies such as Hewlett Packard, Kaiser Permanente, AT&T and Pacific Bell another 4-acre neighborhood park was adopted by the City of San Jose in May 1987.
Today, Almaden Meadows is a neighborhood park that is widely recognized as an excellent “city” park. Its success has inspired the City of San Jose to create other “urban parks”.