A local treasure
Casa Grande, the quicksilver mining museum located on Old Almaden road, came to life for a day filled with holiday-themed merriment during the Santa Clara County Parks Department’s annual “Holiday Living History Day.”
History of Casa Grande
This beautifully restored house was once the home to New Almaden’s Quicksilver Mining Company manager. The home was often used as a place to host investors who came to California during the gold rush in search of great wealth. Casa Grande was completed in 1854 after four years of constructio; it is 10,000 square feet, three floors and has eight bedrooms.
Fast forward about 163 years and Casa Grande and its history is still being taught to those who visit this “big house.” The home is often filled with students of all ages, as well as those who are lifelong learners. Casa Grande is opened Monday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to four and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm; the other days of the week, the museum often hosts third and fourth grade class field trips.
Holiday Living History Day
Santa Clara County Parks’ event, “Holiday Living History Day” took place November 18th, 2017. Visitors found the museum beautifully decorated in green and red garlands, with ornaments dotting the tops of fireplaces. Stations were set up throughout the home for kids’ crafts and activities. Two groups of artisans, loomers and a group of lacemakers, showed curious onlookers how to create a wool scarf or lace doily in the home’s large sitting room. Outside, in the adjacent shed, a modern-day blacksmith spoke of the methods that were used in the past and how blacksmithing was vital in mining.
Scattered amongst the guests were the museum’s friendly docents, offering tours of the museum and information about the home’s history. One such docent, Douglas Bergholdt, was dressed up as the home’s longest remaining mine manager, James Randol, who managed the Quicksilver Mining Company from 1870 to 1892.
The holiday event is just one of several “Living History Days” that Casa Grande hosts throughout the year. Check the parks department website often to find out when these days are scheduled.
For more information
Visit the Santa Clara County Parks Department if you would like to learn how to volunteer as a docent or about the other opportunities the parks department offers.