On Friday, May 1, 2020, I ventured out of the house for a bit of exercise, which is allowed under the current coronavirus orders issued by the county health department. While driving the short 2.6 miles from home, I noticed I wasn’t the only one out and about. The traffic on the roads had increased from a month ago. My destination was the Alviso Adobe Community Park. Although the buildings were closed—temporarily said the sign—there wasn’t a notice that said keep out, no trespassing, or anything like that. So I figured a walk around the grounds wouldn’t hurt.
As one enters under the arch, the journey back in time begins in 2008 when the park opened.
Along the concrete path, information panels tell the story of the various humans who have used the land over the past 5,200 years.
Visitors meander around as the trail gently slopes up through the grasses, under oak trees, past a tule home in suspended construction, and across the footbridge that spans a seasonal creek until you arrive in 3240 B.C.
At the top of the little hill stands the Milking Barn where exhibits and artifacts are located. Docents are on hand to answer questions on days it is open.
The Alviso Adobe is furnished in the style of a California farmhouse in the 1920s. I’ve not seen inside. One of these days, I need to visit on a date they give tours.
The trail continues around the fenced-in orchard of Asian plum trees toward a bee and butterfly garden. Except for the butterfly in the photo above, I didn’t see any bee and butterfly action.
Wild turkeys are a common sight around the foothills, and with no one around, this pair had the picnic area to themselves.
The orchard trees are barely visible behind the locked gate and tall grass. Someone better mow the grass soon before it turns brown and becomes a fire hazard.
Franciso Alviso built the house in 1854 on a portion of the Rancho Santa Rita Mexican Land Grant. The ranch was subdivided during the railroad boom in the 1860s. Then the property changed ownership several times and was used by tenant farmers until 1919. Walter M. Briggs purchased the land for his Meadowlark Dairy, the first certified dairy in California. Dairy workers used the adobe as a kitchen and dining area until 1969 when the dairy moved operations to Tracy, California, twenty-eight miles to the east through the Altamont Pass.
Subsequently, plans for an amusement park fell through, and a real estate company converted most of the land to housing lots. The seven acres, which included the adobe, was donated to the City of Pleasanton. Plans for the renovation and construction of the park called for a thirty-nine-foot silo next to the milking barn; however, residents nearby nixed the structure. Construction continued, and the park opened in 2008.
The residents must have thought the silo would be unsightly. Perhaps so when first built, more than ten years later, though, I suspect it would have gained landmark status.
Things to do besides wandering around taking photos include exhibits and artifacts housed in the milking barn, and when open, docents are available to answer questions. The city offers field trips for school children during the week, and every third weekend they conduct tours from 12 p.m.—3 p.m. Of course, changes in times and days as listed on the website may occur once the county allows the park’s reopening.
Special events like the Lady Bug Garden Crawl for ages 2-6 scheduled on May 9, and the Got Milk program on May 16 and 17 when visitors can churn their own ice cream would be fun. I suspect the city will cancel these programs. Freshly churned ice cream sounds good to me, so I’m adding it to my list of things to do next year.
As you can see, the Alviso Adobe was the shiny gem that caught my attention this week, delaying a post on our 2016 trip to Texas and Big Bend National Park for at least another week. We are in lockdown through May, and it wouldn’t surprise me if another extension is in store for us. We’re taking the current situation one day at a time, one week at a time, and one month at a time. Jon continues his gardening projects, and I stay busy too. We both dream of hitting the road again, yet we know it won’t be soon.