Huell Howser - He Will Be Missed
Places Earth would like to honor the passing of the great California explorer, Huell Howser. I did not know Huell personally, although I met him once, but many people in California knew him through his countless television explorations into California history, geography, and people. A recent country song said something like, “it’s not what you take with you, but what you leave behind, when you go.” The song continues, “the teacher left her knowledge in the minds of many children...” Huell didn’t pass along his knowledge, he helped us to acquire that knowledge together. Countless people know more about California than we would have had Huell stayed in Tennessee, but had he stayed in Tennessee, we would know a lot more about Tennessee. Huell didn’t inspire this website, nor introduce me to all the places here, but he introduced me to many of them. Now we are all on our own again.
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Places Earth urges everyone to support these vital and important public resources any way you can. Please donate your treasure, time, and talent. Write to your governor and other elected officials telling them to find a way to keep state parks open. It will be your loss.
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|We got off about 8:00AM heading north on I-5, listening to The Sons of the San Joaquin as we entered the San Joaquin Valley. At Highway 152, we turned west toward Gilroy where we had enjoyed the Garlic Festival a year earlier. We stopped at a road side produce stand next to an artichoke field. After realizing how big these plants get, I decided to move the ones in my back yard garden. About an hour later we reached our first stop, Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.|
|George Patterson became a successful farmer in the East Bay, eventually owning about 6,000 acres of productive farm land. Today, 205 acres remain as Ardenwood Historic Farm in the City of Fremont. We were just in time for the 2:00 tour of the Patterson House which took a bit less than an hour. We had an excellent docent who lead us through the beautiful house. Mr. Patterson bought 205 acres in 1856 and built the original farmhouse in 1857. The house was expanded in 1889 with a large addition in the Queen Anne style of Victorian architecture. Electricity was added in 1903 and the most recent remodeling was completed in 1917. We wandered through the rest of the farm watching sheep and goats eating, pens of chickens and turkeys, and other small animals. Men in the blacksmith shop were demonstrating iron works with souvenirs for sale. Eventually we worked our way back to the beginning and headed out. I had discovered this on the map several years ago and we had finally visited it.|
|Somehow I missed a turn and we unintentionally explored an industrial and then residential area south of Ardenwood before finding a street listed on my regional map and finally drove past Ardenwood on the right road a half hour later. Following the Highway 84 sign instead of following my instincts, we got turned around again but eventually reached Niles Depot and Niles Historic District. A historic train ride leaves this depot every first and third Sunday, but it was now closed and there was no train this weekend. We looked around and headed for the last stop of the day, Mission San Jose.|
|It was 5:15 and the Mission was closed, but I was able to explore parts of the exterior for a half hour. We had visited a few years earlier, but it had been early in the day and the sun was behind the church. Late this afternoon, the sun illuminated the front and I was happier with my photos.|
|I found our Hotel without difficulty, checked in, and we enjoyed dinner.|
|We awoke early, had breakfast, and ran off to Saint Joseph for Mass. Saint Joseph is the modern-day descendent of Mission San Jose, founded by Father Fermin Lasuen on June 11, 1797, the fourteenth Spanish Mission established in Alta California. The following weekend, the parish would celebrate the 25th anniversary of the restoration of the Old Mission. Sunday Mass is no longer celebrated in the Mission church which is a reproduction built 25 years ago to replace an Anglo-style church that had replaced the original Mission church. Sunday Mass is now celebrated in a nice modern building a short distance north. After, we wandered a little, but the Mission would not open for tours for another hour and we had other plans.|
|About forty-five minutes later we arrived at USS Hornet Museum at Pier 3 in Alameda. The previous ship named Hornet (CV-8) departed from this same pier to transport Colonel Jimmy Doolittle and his crew and B-25 aircraft to within striking distance of Tokyo in April 1942 for the first US bombing raid against the Japanese home islands of World War II. That ship was sunk in the Battle of Santa Cruz on October 27, 1942. This Hornet was launched on August 30, 1943. The keel was laid on August 3, 1942 and the ship was commissioned on November 29, 1943. It participated in World War II, Vietnam, and recovered Apollo 11 and 12 after they landed astronauts on the Moon.|
|We spent about six hours wandering the decks, passages, and spaces of this large Essex class ship. We took the two main guided tours, the engine room (by Scott) and island (by Don), and wandered on our own. Special tours can be requested, provided appropriate docent guides are available. Hornet was decommissioned on June 26, 1970, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991, and donated to create a museum in 1998. We enjoyed the tour, but be advised that this Memorial Day weekend, as with all Memorial Day weekends, Sea Scouts were everywhere being tested for their nautical skills. While this is a great group of young people learning these skills, areas of the ship were closed for the event.|
|After leaving the ship, we drove around the now decommissioned naval base, then the rest of the island. We enjoyed dinner at Ole's Waffle Shop on 1507 Park Street. I had shrimp fettuccini and my wife had salmon and potato and we both topped it with a pecan waffle. While looking for Ole's, we got confused because a block south of Park Street is Park Avenue which we drove in an unsuccessful attempt to find Ole's.|
|From here we drove back to Fremont and enjoy a quiet evening.|
|We awoke early and started packing for home. We had three short stops on the way home.|
|I exited Highway 101 at De La Cruz Boulevard and looked for the marker for the first site for Mission Santa Clara. It was supposed to be at the southeast corner with Central Expressway, but I couldn't find it. A few blocks south is the second site for the Mission in a small park at the corner of Martin Avenue. A cross and garden mark the location. Both these sites were washed out by flood shortly after founding and the Mission was moved to a new site on what is now the Santa Clara University campus. All that is left of this third site are pavers in the garden and adjacent street marking where the foundations once were and the Women's club building that was once housing for the Mission. We found the Women's Club and for the first time, I found no cars on the pavers on the street to obscure my photos.|
|We then entered the University campus and I found Kenna Hall, a recent building on the fourth site of the Mission. The third Mission had been built as a temporary complex after the floods and was finished off by an earthquake after the fourth site was complete. Eventually a fifth site was developed only a few hundred feet away and parts of this still stand. The church now standing is the sixth church that replaced the fifth which was destroyed by fire in 1926. Also destroyed in the same fire was the student chapel, the stairs of which still lead to a garden on the chapel site. I was almost finished photographing all these sites when my camera battery went dead and the spare was also dead, so we returned to the car to continue on our way and recharge the batteries.|
|About an hour and a half later we stopped at Casa de Fruta, a fruit stand on steroids, with shops, a restaurant, café, wine tasting, train and merry-go-round , sluice, peacocks, campground, waterwheel, fountains, and I'm sure even more. I looked around and bought some guacamole flavored pistachio nuts, garlic cashews, fruit, and taffy. The names all carry through with the "Casa de ..." theme. Casa de Café, Case de Restaurant, Casa de Sweets, Case de Train, Casa de Snacks, you get the idea. We got gas and headed on.|
|The last stop was San Luis Reservoir. Last July while we returned from the Garlic Festival, the water level was at about 18%, today is was nearly 85%. It's a normal cycle but still was nicer to see it with water. From here we got back on I-5 and arrived home, arriving about 5:30.|
|Two years earlier we had visited the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum in San Diego and had planned to visit Hornet the same month, but had to cancel. That trip was canceled two more times before finally completing it this time. After visiting Mission San Jose, this leaves only one Mission to revisit, maybe next year, so stay tuned.|
|Note:This is not the official site for any of the places shown in Places Earth. Places Earth is not responsible for accuracy of the information. Hours of operations, prices, exhibits, and sometimes locations are subject to change without notice.|
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This web site started because of my love for Architecture and interest in History. This web site is for your benefit and I make no profit on it. I don't allow paid advertising. This site is supported primarily from my regular paycheck as a Set Designer and there haven' been many this year. I sell art at www.klimages.com. A non-tax deductable donation to help cover the cost of operating this web site may be made to Kesign Design Consulting through PayPal ...
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