California State Parks, Henry W. Coe, The California Pioneers of Santa Clara

Henry W. Coe State Park

In 1858, Henry W. Coe, a native of New Hampshire, moved to California to establish the Willow Ranch within the Santa Clara Valley. At that time, the property had been primarily used for cattle ranching.

A few years later, Henry W. Coe acquired the San Felipe Ranch and had his two sons, Henry Coe Junior and Charles Coe work on that property as cattle ranchers.

In 1892, the brothers vastly expanded the property owned by their family, by acquiring 6,000 additional acres within the bodies of water and hills of the Diablo Valley. The original properties owned by Henry W. Coe and those of his sons, became the Pine Ridge Ranch.

The daughter of Henry Coe Junior, Sara Sutcliffe Coe Robinson, managed the Pine Ridge Ranch in 1932. In 1943, after Henry Coe, Junior died his son, also named Henry, took ownership of the ranch. However, in 1949, Henry sold the ranch to an investor, which prompted his sister Sara Sutcliffe Coe Robinson to purchase the ranch so that it would stay within the Coe family. In 1953, Sara transferred the deed to the Pine Reed Ranch to the donated to the county of Santa Clara. Five years later, Santa Clara transferred the deed of the ranches to California which allowed the state to convert the property to a state park.

In present day the visitor center for the Henry W. Coe State Park contains paintings of the family members who used to own the various ranches and artifacts from the rancher lifestyle.

The California State Parks describe the history of the Gilroy Hot Springs Resort in Henry Coe State Park as follows:

This National Register of Historic Place Site is where, 1865 George W. Roop, with business partners, developed a resort with accommodations and activities that ranked among the best hotels and that attracted business leaders and socialites from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Wm. J. McDonald added an outdoor swimming pool, and hosted political rallies. People arrived via train from San Francisco, then by stagecoach from Gilroy. In its heyday it drew over 300 guests daily to the 2 hotels, 40 cabins, 3 restaurants, mineral baths, outdoor camping, hunting, hiking, and events. It was known to have, “the most healing waters in California”. The passing of Roop and McDonald, paired with the depression years lead to a decline in popularity and maintenance.

In 1938 H. K. Sakata’s purchase made it the only Japenese-owned mineral spring resort in California, and an oasis from stress for the Japenese business leaders in the U.S. at the end of World War II, it became a healing transitional home for Japenese-Americans from Internment Camps. In the 1950s-60s, with a fresh new water pool, it became a go-to vacation spot and attracted guests World-wide”.


Stanford Memorial Church

The Stanford Memorial Church is a relic of the original Stanford University campus.

The Church was built to honor Elizabeth Stanford, one of the founders of the university.

The church was built in an eastern world style with various religious inscriptions on most of the walls.

In addition to the inscriptions there is artwork and stained glass windows on the walls.

Here is a historical photo of the Memorial Church shortly after it was built.


The Blackhawk Museums

On May 12, 2018 I had the opportunity to see the Spirit of the West Museum, which was created by Ken Behring, the CEO of Blackhawk.

Currently the museum building holds an antique car lot, with American, French, British, Italian vehicles, and the model of the first car manufactured entirely in China that President Nixon rode during his first trip to see Chairman Mao Zedong.

The Chinese portion of the museum hosts a Buddhist temple, a sculpture of the imperial dragon and an exhibit on the forbidden city.

The Blackhawk musuem also consisted of the Art of Africa exhibit.

Ambassador Earl Eikenberry, Flashback 2017, Stanford University, Uncategorized

Flashback 2017: Former Ambassador Earl Eikenberry Speaks at Stanford University

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, with Erik Jensen and Mehdi Hakimi

In November 2017, I saw former Obama administration ambassador Earl Eikenberry spoke on a panel, with Erik Jensen and Mehdi Hakimi.  The topics were the ongoing war in Afghanistan and the educational development of the country after the US led war against the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden’s Al Queda in began in October 2003.  There were promising statistics, such as the increased enrollment of women in grade level schools, and colleges in that country.   In 2017, about half of the students enrolled with the law school of the American University of Afghanistan were women.

The panel discussed that there has been opposition to progress amungst traditionalists and hardliners sympathetic to conservative Islamic rule.  American University faced multiple attacks from the Taliban, due to conservative Islamic objection to the westernization of Afghani students through that institution.  Since then, the school has added additional security and barriers to prevent future attacks from the Taliban and other groups.

You can read more about the American University of Afghanistan’s recovery after the multiple Taliban attacks in August 2017 here:


President Obama’s Photographer Speaks at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium

On May 11, 2018 Pete Souza, the personal photographer for Barack Obama spoke at the National Civic Auditorium in Santa Cruz. Pete Souza began his photography career working for a locals newspaper in Kansas, which gave him three to four photography assignments a day.

Pete worked with Obama at the time he was a US Senator and had photographed the Obama family during a family trip to Kenya. Pete mentioned that he had a picture of the daughters reaction to a wilderbeast being eaten by a lion during a safari and another of Obama and his daughter Sasha opening the door to Mandela’s former jail cell. Pete obtained a top secret clearance once Obama was elected, so that he could photograph Obama in the situation room and during other military meetings. While the photographer was privy to listen to classified materials, he could not get access to physical classified documents while archiving events. Pete continued to be the photographer for the entire duration of Obama’s Presidency.

Pete mentioned that an act of Congress made it illegal for him to delete any photos that he took of the president. In addition, after 12 years after President Obama’s last day in office, all photos taken of Obama, excluding those Obama chooses not to share of him with family, will be made public.