Tour of Rancho Santa Teresa



Santa Teresa Park

County Parks

The Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch (formerly called the Joice-Bernal Ranch) was dedicated on June 29, 2002. It is the centerpiece of the Santa Teresa Historic District in Santa Teresa County Park. The ranch house and barn have been restored and turned into interpretive centers. The area has a long and colorful history dating back thousands of years to the Ohlone Indians and to the early Mexican settlers of the 1800's, when it was part of the 10,000 acre Rancho Santa Teresa. The parks department has been developing an interpretive program to help teach visitors about the area's history. It's a fascinating story filled with tales of explorers, soldiers, settlers, ranchers, farmers, bandits, miners, ghosts, and treasure hunters. On March 8, 2003, a group of Girl Scouts came to tour Rancho Santa Teresa. They were given a tour of the historic ranch area by park interpretive staff, headed by John Dorrance, and by park volunteers. Here are some pictures of that tour, showing the kinds of activities available at the ranch.
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Kids petting the official park bunny rabbit. This rabbit and a smaller one live in cages in the barn. The girls are getting ready for a hoop race, something kids did for fun in the early days represented by the ranch The girls are rolling and racing barrel hoops with sticks. The object is to roll the hoop along a course without touching it with your hands. John Dorrance gives a talk about the Bernal family and their ranch's history. He talks about the legend of Changara's treasure.
The group stops in the field below Santa Teresa Spring to hear how this killing field for livestock was turned into one of the richest fruit orchards in the valley. The group heads up to Santa Teresa Spring. They hear about the legend of the black-robed woman, which led to the naming of the spring after St. Teresa of Avila John talks about the history of the spring and how the Bernal family bottled the spring water for sale downtown. Later, they climb up to view the spring itself. Below the spring, the group hears about the bull and bear fights that were held to entertain ranch customers
Back in the field below the spring, John talks about how the Bernals mined marl in these hills for fertilizer. This became one of the few marl mines in the world. The group heads back towards the ranch house. John leads a group into the historic ranch house. The house has been restored and contains turn-of-the-century antiques and artifacts. Inside the house, John demonstrates an early form of entertainment: a spinning wheel used to view "movies." 
The girls learn how to wash clothes the old-fashioned way, with plungers and a washboard. Here the girls use a more modern washing machine with a rocking, hand-operated agitator and roller wringers. After washing and wringing out the clothes, the girls hang them out to dry on the solar-powered clothes dryer. One of the volunteers talks about the chickens in the "Chicken Hilton."
The Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch is located in South San Jose at the intersection of Camino Verde and Manila Drive. To get there, take the Cottle Road off-ramp from Hwy 85, go south on Cottle to Curie. Turn left on Curie, then right on Camino Verde. Park along the street next to the ranch. The historic area grounds are open daily from 8:00 am to sunset. The ranch house and barn are open for tours and interpretive activities on Saturdays from 12 to 6 pm. They are also available for tours by appointment and when staff people are available. There is no charge for entry or tours. The barn contains exhibits on the area's history. It also contains saddles and blacksmithing equipment. Facilities include picnic tables, a drinking fountain, and a restroom outside. Check the map board for announcements of events. Call  (408) 226-5453 for more information.


Pictures taken on 3/8/2003 

Created on 4/1/03, updated 6/13/03 by Ronald Horii