I Did Promise You a Rose Garden & Ringin’ Muir’s Bell

I thought it’d be fun and go out and photograph a few versions of the same thing, like on a theme. I’ve also been exploring Oakland a bit more for the stock photo biz. So I opted to check out something new to me in Oakland. The theme I intended to follow was Rose Gardens from Oakland to Walnut Creek. But plans don’t always work out. My intended reconnaissance mission was then to see what I could of the secretive GoMentum automated car testing grounds in nearby Concord.

the Morcom Rose Garden, Oakland, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
the Morcom Rose Garden, Oakland, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

There are so many cool and hidden pockets of Oakland to surprise even those of us who’ve lived nearby for ages. The Morcom Rose Garden was yet another surprise for me. It was a WPA (Works Progress Administration) project, which I find particularly cool. If it weren’t for Republican resistance, I think we could have had a modern wave of building innovation after the economic collapse that started under the Bush administration a decade or so ago.

the Morcom Rose Garden, Oakland, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
the Morcom Rose Garden, Oakland, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

In any case, Morcom has that WPA look. The buildings have that sort of Mission Revival ? style and the gardens are terraced in nicely symmetrical. Though I’m reasonably happy with some of the photos I took, this wasn’t the ideal time of year- I should come back in summer next year.

the Morcom Rose Garden, Oakland, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
the Morcom Rose Garden, Oakland, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

So, on to the next rose garden on the list. This was in Berkeley. Unfortunately for photographic purposes this was something of a bust. The lighting was less than ideal when I arrived. But more importantly some renovation was underway, so there were vehicles and orange plastic fencing etc ruining the aesthetic.

John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

Ces’t la vie.

John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

So next stop I had planned was Walnut Creek or Concord- I didn’t care what order. But as is often the case, I got sidetracked. From highway 4 I saw the signs for the John Muir National Historic Site. I was relieved to see a “free entry” sign at the front and went on in. Again, the lighting for the exterior was far from ideal.

John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

Inside however there were a few fun finds. The ranger inside said to go on up to the top bell tower and ring away if I wanted. And I did. I got a bunch of bell photos thinking that they would be a good geo quiz type image. And though I had no tripod, I couldn’t help but shooting a few interiors.

John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

It was late afternoon and I hadn’t had lunch or much of a breakfast, so I tried finding something in Martinez. But instead I found the handsome buildings downtown including a historic courthouse and post office and photographed them.

John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

And then moved on to Concord, still hungry.

Martinez, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
Martinez, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

I drove around the Gomentum/old military base but didn’t see many gaps or any self driving cars. I’ll have to do more research. And I never made it to the rose garden in Walnut Creek. Guess that’s for another day.

 

Weeks and Day in San Jose and the South Bay

John Colpitts Ainsley House No. 3, Santa Clara, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
John Colpitts Ainsley House No. 3, Santa Clara, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted to the SiliconValleyStock.com blog. Not that I haven’t been busy, if only with the rest of life…..family stuff regular paid work et al.

In any case I figured it’s time for an update.

I’ve been plugging away adding to the gallery as best I can. Yesterday I had a failed attempt to visit the soon to be Open Space Preserve at Mount Umunhum. Somehow Google routed me to dead ends twice and I gave up. But I did manage to get a few good stock photos of some Silicon Valley landmarks that date back to the Valley of the Heart’s Delight times and before.

I made a few loops around central Campbell. For those who don’t know the place, Campbell is a small very affluent south bay community off of highway 17. If you do know the place, it’s likely for shopping and dining at the mid century Pruneyard shopping mall. Funny how many places out in the ‘Burbs are named after what they destroyed. Like in this case I’m assuming the Pruneyard was in fact a plum orchard. In any case most of the landmarks I photographed on this trip were made possible by the valley’s previous source of riches: agriculture.

D HISTORICAL LANDMARK OFFICE BUILDING (Michael Halberstadt)
D HISTORICAL LANDMARK OFFICE BUILDING (Michael Halberstadt)

Right off the main drag in Campbell’s quaint yet tiny downtown there’s a handsome old façade for what has reworked into an office building. Signage on the building reads Heritage Village Offices.  As best as I saw there was no reference to it, but turns out according to post photography research the building was a primary school.

Just across the street is yet another repurposing. The Mission Revival building was originally a high school. But it now houses a theater (or theatre as they are trying to sound fancy) as well as a private school and a bunch of community center stuff.

Heritage Theater, Campbell, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Heritage Theater, Campbell, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

One of the surprisingly interesting aspects of the behind the camera work is keywording and captioning. Turns out both of those schools were designed by the same Architect, William H Weeks. There are other buildings he put his pen to that if you are familiar with Silicon Valley architecture at all you’ve undoubtedly admired. Weeks is best known for his works together with William Peyton Day. They are responsible for such landmarks as the Fox Theater and I. Magnin Building in Oakland, the California Theater and Hotel St Claire in San Jose, and others. D’oh! My step-mom and local historian pointed out that there were in fact two architects with the name Weeks and I’ve conflated the two! I stand (or technically more correctly “sit” corrected.)

All seriousness aside, the name of their atelier also made for my punny title. I spend a lot of time trying to come up with cheesy yet attention grabbing blog tittles. So I hope you are happy!

John Colpitts Ainsley House No. 3, Santa Clara, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
John Colpitts Ainsley House No. 3, Santa Clara, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

Following along the path of wealth made possible by Silicon Valley’s previous ag boom, I headed next to Santa Clara. Another fortune was made by an English bloke named Ainsley who had a fruit canning business. He must have been quite homesick judging by the architectural style of his house. It’s a bit out of sorts here in the Valley where 320 or so days a year of sunshine that make his rich fruit harvests possible. This place looks like it would be at home in the Cotswolds or a Thomas Kinkade painting.

James Lick Mansion, Santa Clara, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
James Lick Mansion, Santa Clara, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

In another quirky suburban corner lies another very odd juxtaposition. The James Lick Mansion and Granary are nestled in a very typically American condo subdivision in Santa Clara. But unlike the general aforementioned rule of naming a suburban tract after what was destroyed, the Mansion of Mansion Park Drive still remains. When I thought of James Lick, the only thing that came to mind was the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton. But again after keywording and captioning, I’ve learned a bit more. Turns out Lick was the richest guy in California at the time of his death. And his wealth fits squarely in with the theme here, again built by agriculture. I wonder what will be left of the tech industry in a century?!

Saint Patrick's Seminary & University, Menlo Park, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Saint Patrick’s Seminary & University, Menlo Park, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

(oops! forgot to incorporate the actual last leg of my trip, the Saint Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park- above)

Lastly right around the corner I had another sort of photo adventure. At the Agnew Historical Cemetery and Museum, I didn’t take many photos. But I came across an interesting discovery I detailed in my last (rambling) post on my personal blog here if you have any interest.