Steel structure to remember IBM Building 025 in San Jose.

Visit the Birthplace of the Industrial Campus, IBM Building 025, San Jose

Here in Silicon Valley we are used to the idea of the Industrial Campus. Google’s headquarters in Mountain View is a great example of this. Office buildings are arranged in close proximity giving it a college campus feel. The prototype of a campus style office complex, from the 1950s, is the IBM Building 025 in San Jose. 

Memorial structure for IBM Building 025 in the Lowe's parking lot on Cottle Rd in San Jose.

In 2008 the remains of the Advanced Research Building 25 burned down (https://www.mercurynews.com/2008/03/08/fire-guts-san-joses-historic-ibm-building-25/). Nowadays there is only a structure that serves as a monument for this building. The steel construct, on the parking lot of a hardware store, also has information panels explaining the history.

Monument for the IBM Building 025, showing information panels.

In 1957 the 210-acre Cottle Road Campus was designed with low rise buildings, art, and a cafeteria. The steel structures with the brick walls and extensive use of glass heralded the era of New Modernist Industrial style. A good access to roads and the proximity to ample services made this concept highly desirable for the workforce.

This is one of three places claiming to be the birthplace of Silicon Valley. The other two are the HP garage and Shockley’s Semiconductor.

Where do you think is the birthplace of Silicon Valley?

The memorial for IBM Building 025 is located at 2-992 Cottle Rd, San Jose, CA 95123

Resources:

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/09/silicon-valley-full-superfund-sites/598531/

https://thesixfifty.com/five-fascinating-finds-from-the-archives-of-silicon-valleys-computer-history-museum-d80659afe690

https://onezero.medium.com/the-birthplace-of-the-hard-drive-is-now-a-lowes-parking-lot-1729a23dea66

https://designobserver.com/feature/a-memorial-to-random-access-memory/32218

Steps from above at Communications Hills, San Jose.

Count the Steps at Communications Hill, San Jose

Steps from above at Communications Hill, San Jose.

Walking around the neighborhood has become a necessity. Sometimes it is great to get some variety in. I highly recommend the steps of Communications Hill in San Jose. Not only do you get a great view of the Diablo Mountain range but you can switch up your exercise with stepping up the hill. 

Diablo Mountain view from Communications Hill, San Jose.

The Communications Hill community also has an interesting history. The Tamyem People mined cert, crystals of quartz, the mineral form of silicon dioxide. In 1777 Juan Bautista de Anza established the first pueblo-town in California not associated with a mission or military post. The Oakland Hill Memorial Park, located on the north side of the hill, is the oldest secular cemetery in California. Further use of the land includes mining cinnabar, a vineyard, and a dairy farm. Now it is an urban neighborhood and popular exercise spot. Parking is a challenge since there are neighborhood restrictions.

Communications Hill is located east of 87 at Hillsdale Ave and south easterly of Curtner Ave. Here is a trail map of the parks and facilities.

People exercising at Communications Hill.

Since I lost count I would appreciate your comments on how many steps it takes.

Have you climbed up Communications Hill?

If you need other neighborhood walk ideas check out my blog post about Neighborhood Walks.

Entrance sign for the Land of Medicine Buddha.

Find Solace at the Land of Medicine Buddha

In the forest in Soquel is the Buddhist retreat of the Land of Medicine Buddha. The doors to the retreat are open to the public every day from 7 am to 5:30 pm. 

Sign for the 8 verses trail hike at the Land of Medicine Buddha.

We came here to walk the 8 verses loop trail, a 1.2 mile hike in the sacred Santa Cruz mountain setting. Parking is generally limited and you can use one of the offsite spots. But we found spots available during the week.

Prayer wheel at the Buddist retreat in Soquel.

You are greeted by prayer wheels and encouraged to walk around spinning them. The verses are spaced out and have a bench to contemplate. 

At the end of the hike is the dog blessings area. Dogs are welcome on leash. There are a few rules you should obey, e.g. talking in a low voice and not killing any animals, including bugs. 

Buddha trinket on a redwood stump.

The store for the Land of Medicine Buddha is only open Friday to Monday noon – 5 pm. But you can also order online.

Donations are encouraged. Right now they match all online donations up to $8,888 until the end of February.

Where do you find solace?

While in the area pick up some fresh eggs from Glaum.

The Tasmienne Monument with the Coyote Creek in the back.

Decode a Mysterious Plaque – Coyote Creek, San Jose

Metcalfe bridge, Coyote Creek Trail San Jose.

The other day I parked at the Coyote Creek Lake parking lot and walked south over the Metcalfe bridge. The paved trail is part of the Ridge Trail and also part of the National Recreational Trail system. You can bike all the way to Morgan Hill. A few more steps after the bridge you’ll see a plaque on the right. Covered in dirt, but still visible are 0 and 1s. On closer inspection the words Santa Clara Valley appear on top of the binary code.

The Tamienne Monument, with Santa Clara Valley written on it.

I found the Tamienne Monument, or, as some websites also call it, The Center of Santa Clara Valley. This marker is not monumental at all. The plaque can be overlooked. The binary hints to Silicon Valley, the Tamienne reference suggests a misspelling of the Tamyen people who once lived in the Valley.

There is no acknowledgement of the creator and it is not listed in the public art repository of San Jose. For the binary it is less mysterious, I can spoil this for you:

Binary – Hex – ACSII char

01010011 – 53 – S

01100001 – 61 – a

01101110 – 6E – n

01110100 – 74 – t

01100001 – 61 – a

00100000 – 20 – ” ” (space)

01000011 – 43 – C

01101100 – 6C – l

01100001 – 61 – a

01110010 – 72 – r

01100001 – 61 – a

00100000 – 20 – ” ” (space)

01010110 – 56 – V

01100001 – 61 – a

01101100 – 6C – l

01101100 – 6C – l

01100101 – 65 – e

01111001 – 79 – y

What do you know about the Center of Santa Clara Valley?

If you like to bike around San Jose, the Three Creeks Trail in San Jose is another option.

Resources:

https://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM9AJ5_Geographic_Center_of_Santa_Clara_Valley_California

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coyote_Creek_Trail

https://www.americantrails.org/resources/coyote-creek-trail-san-jose-trail-network-california

Greg Brown mural in Palo Alto.

Neighborhood Walks

COVID has most of us homebound and with a minimal radius to explore. I thought I’ll give you some ideas to spice up your daily neighborhood walks. While most of these specific walks are for Silicon Valley, the ideas should transfer to other areas. So, grab your mask and get your steps in with these walking ideas:

Garden

Sign reads: 
Green Garden of Mountain View
Conserves Water
Reduces Waste
Provides Habitat

We are blessed in the Bay Area with a long growing season. To get inspired for your own vegetable garden you should check out the local community gardens and wander around. There are plenty of Native Plant Gardens in the area. The Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society has a great list (https://www.cnps-scv.org/gardening/gardening-with-natives/69-public-gardens-of-native-plants-69).  In the same category, Mountain View’s Green Garden Showcase features front yards that are examples of California Native Plants, water wise gardens, and environmental friendly practices.(https://www.mountainview.gov/depts/pw/services/conserve/landscape/showcase.asp)

Art

Rodin's thinker (part of the Gates of Hell) at Stanford University.

With all museums closed right now I admit I’m a little art deprived. 

Sculptures are great outdoor artworks you can still admire. One of the largest collections of sculptures around is on the Stanford Campus. You can limit yourself to Rodin, it’s the largest in the U.S., or go around campus and find other inspiring pieces.

The Triton Museum in Santa Clara features a sculpture garden on the premises. (https://www.santaclaraca.gov/Home/Components/ServiceDirectory/ServiceDirectory/1260/2661)

Some local towns have maps to their public art works. I found the bike racks in Los Altos a welcoming change and great for kids to try to find them all!

If you are more of a mural enthusiast I recommend San Jose, Redwood City, and Palo Alto.

Some examples of public art:

Santa Clara: https://www.santaclaraca.gov/our-city/about-santa-clara/maps/art-statues

Los Altos: https://www.losaltosca.gov/publicartscommission/page/public-sculpture

Palo Alto (map): https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1AUOuWuDvI0_jAbZYvvY_JBD9lIs&ll=37.42470074587974%2C-122.16085689067381&z=14

History

San Jose History Walk (Number 25)

San Jose as the first Capitol of California has a rich history to share. They compiled a history walk for downtown. No need to print out a map, you can just follow the signs. If you would rather have a digital idea or would like to print out the brochure, here is the PDF: https://www.sanjose.org/pdf/downtown-san-jose-historic-walking-tour-guide

Japantown in San Jose offers historic information on their benches.

A few other towns have  lists of historic buildings. Rich Heli has compiled three historic walking tours for Mountain View: https://rick-heli.info/mvtour/

Shopping

High Delta Market a window art installation in Palo Alto.

While most shops are currently closed, most downtowns invite you for a nice evening stroll on main street. Mountain View, for example, closed off their downtown area for most car traffic. The other night I walked by an exercise class. Also window shopping is an option. My favorite non-shopping window is in Palo Alto at the Future Institute.

If you feel the need to acquire something while on a walk, check out a little free library near you or in some other neighborhood.

Nature

Greg Brown mural in Palo Alto.

I love the fact that we are able to walk to our neighborhood park. If you want to mix it up, why not explore another park near you? 

Canopy has  multiple self-guided tree walks: https://canopy.org/our-work/tree-walks/

Animals

Buddy the new donkey of Bol Park, Palo Alto.

Birdwatching while walking is always a great pastime. If you want to see egrets you should check out the Google campus.

Bring the kids for a peak at the donkeys in Bol Park

Do you have ideas for fun activity walks?

Gate to the donkey pasture in Bol Park, Palo Alto.

Welcome a new Donkey – Bol Park, Palo Alto

Buddy, a donkey at Bol Park.

A few years ago I wrote a blog post about the Bol Park donkeys. Sadly one of them, Jenny, died in November from old age. In December they got another friend for Perry, Buddy. So, now again there are two donkeys at Bol Park.

Sign for Bol Park, Palo Alto, with the playground in the background.

I parked by the playground and walked south over the bridge at Matadero Creek. On the right you’ll find the donkey pasture. Previously the whole area was a donkey pasture. Dr. Conelius Bol, a Stanford Professor, had six sons and started his donkey herd in 1934. This tradition is preserved by many volunteers for the Barron Park donkeys.

Every Sunday from 10 to 11 am Perry and Buddy get out for a walk. If you like to volunteer to care for the donkeys you can contact barronparkdonkeys AT gmail.com.

D-Mail, a mailbox for your donkey art.

You can encourage your kids to draw the donkeys and be featured at the little showcase next to the pen. Unfortunately they don’t allow the donkeys to be fed. Nonetheless it is nice and peaceful to see them grazing the pasture. 

Have you greeted the donkeys lately?

Resources:

https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2020/12/07/meet-buddy-the-new-donkey-now-living-in-barron-park

https://punchmagazine.com/barron-park-donkeys/

PEZ Pole in Sunnyvale with a sign that reads: Das PEZler

Safari in the Neighborhood – Sunnyvale PEZ Pole

Close up of multiple PEZ dispensers.

Not only PEZ dispensers are displayed on the front lawn at 298 Leota Ave in Sunnyvale, there are all sorts of toys and little trinkets. The PEZ Pole is the description you get from Google maps, the sign on the pole says: Das PEZLER – a German collection? PEZ dispensers are pinned to a power pole. A lot of Santas from different time periods it seems, but also favorite Disney characters, snowmen and bunnies. The PEZ lunchbox knows: “PEZ makes you smile!”

Plastic dinosaur looking at a succulent.

The other things that made me smile are the dinosaurs fighting plastic soldiers – not the fighting, just the ingenious re-use of plastic toys! The dinosaurs are next to succulents which makes them excellent objects for a photo safari! But behold the giraffes assembled across from them! If you enjoy statues this place has you covered too! Buddhas sit together with Madonnas, angels, a menorah, and a dreamcatcher – a peaceful sight indeed. 

Overall it is a great place to explore and discover. If you are tired of walking around in your neighborhood I suggest stopping by this place and let your kids count the PEZ Santas, or photograph other objects. 

Peace figures in the front lawn in Sunnyvale.

Thank you whoever put out the effort to entertain us in such an amusing way! You can email them at flowerpowercorner at gmail.com if you have any comments, ideas, or suggestions.

Where do you go on a photo-neighborhood-safari?

By the way, to all the PEZ aficionados, the PEZ museum in Burlingame is permanently closed. To see what it was like check out my blog post: Sweeten your Museum Visit


Shirley Temple Black, 1928 - 2014

Locate Shirley Temple Black’s Final Resting Place

Shirley Temple Black - 1928 - 2014
Beloved wife and mother
Grandmother
Great-Grandmother

While looking for a hiking outing I stumbled across Shirley Temple’s grave. Not literally! A Google reviewer posted this as a landmark. I did not know that the famous child actress used to live in Woodside. I also did not know that she used to have quite the political career, most notably the ambassador of Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

Her gravesite is in the Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alto. According to the website Find a Grave the Mausoleum is called: Adobe Creek Mausoleum, Building #3, Redwood Grove Section, Tier 2. Thanks to the reviewer who posted this as a tourist location on Google maps, I knew to look for it in the back of the mausoleum. I did not see any building names or numbers, but all mausoleums are located just past the funeral home. 

Sculpture in the hidden park at the Alta Mesa Memorial Park, Palo Alto.

Alta Mesa Memorial Park is not a hiking destination, but in my search I found a beautiful garden area behind the mausoleums that, although not very large, is a nice place to explore more inhabitants of the non-denominational burial ground.

Other notable burials include Terman and Shokley, both considered the fathers of Silicon Valley, David Packard, co-founder of HP, and Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc.

Sign for the Alta Mesa Memorial Park
Visiting Hours
Daily 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Have you been to a graveyard lately?

Visiting hours for the Alta Mesa Memorial Park are from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

If you like cemeteries you might want to check out Colma – a town where the ratio of alive to dead is 1:1000. Be alive in Colma!

Sign for Foothills Park at the park's entrance.

Hike a Freed Park – Foothills Park in Palo Alto

After 51 years Palo Alto lost an ACLU case and now has to open its Foothills Park to the public. Previously this gem was only open for Palo Alto residents and their guests. 

Kind of a city wide country club if you will. As a holiday gift to the neighboring people this 1,400-acre park with multiple levels of hiking trails, picnic areas, a lake, and a campground has been open since December 17th 2020. See a PDF park map here.

Fishing pier at Boranda Lake.

The campground, Towle Camp, is open from May to October and you can make reservations online. Fishing is allowed with a licence if you are 16 and older. Boronda Lake prohibits swimming, but non-motorized boats are allowed. Canoes are available for rent, weather permitting, weekends and holidays from May to October. Dogs are only permitted during the week on leash. 

Sign for Woodrat Trail at Foothills Park, Palo Alto.

Of course they have COVID restrictions in place, like social distancing and masks, but the restrooms, except in the Nature Center, are open. Some hiking trails are one-way, but they have trail maps posted everywhere. 

Pole at Panorama Trail with the direction of San Francisco.

I drove up to Panorama Trail first. Taking in the beautiful view. To make it more interesting they put out poles with points of interest to see through pipes . Some of the locations you might spot are Oakland, San Francisco, Mt Diablo, and San Jose. 

Boranda Lake

The hiking trail around the lake was somewhat muddy and I regretted not having switched into my hiking boots. From the main entrance I took the Tayon trail into the Woodrat trail and looped back to my car for a 1.5 mile hike. 

There is a lot to explore here and people were happy to do so. Watch out for bikers on Page Mill Rd!

“Starting Saturday, January 9, every weekend and holiday the entrance to Foothills Park will be closed between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. ” Please check the City of Palo Alto website before you go: https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/…/foothills/default.asp

Have you been to the Foothills Park?

If you like to explore some more of Palo Alto you can check out my page for 50 things to do in Palo Alto, or 50 things to do in Stanford.

Boardwalk of the Neary Lagoon in Santa Cruz

Relax at the Lagoon – Neary Lagoon, Santa Cruz

Information sign of the Pollinator Garden.

At the beginning to enter the Neary Lagoon in Santa Cruz, we used the public entrance at the corner of Bay St and California, you walk by the playgrounds and the Pollinator Garden.

Information sign for the Wastewater Treatment.

They don’t hide the fact that the Water Treatment is right next door. An information sign on how a water treatment plant works can be found.

The path to the lagoon slopes downward, but except for a few muddy puddles is wheelchair and stroller friendly. 

Just one muddy puddle on the one mile path of the Neary Lagoon.

The floating boardwalks are a surprise and the serenity of the place is absolutely breathtaking. Ducks come and greet you, and the signs advise about all the other wildlife in this refuge. The walk around the lagoon is about 1 mile. Some benches to relax are throughout. 

Floating boardwalk of the Neary Lagoon in Santa Cruz.

The  boardwalk was wide enough for socially distancing, but we hardly encountered anyone. Due to COVID-19 restrictions the restrooms have been replaced with a porta potty. Parking was very limited on California & Bay. Since it is a wildlife refuge there are no dogs allowed.

Have you been to the Neary Lagoon?

Other relaxing places in Santa Cruz are the Monarchs walk at the National Bridges State Beach Park and the Botanical Garden of UC Santa Cruz.