Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch Dedication
Santa Teresa Park - 6/29/02


Santa Teresa Park

County Parks


On June 29, 2002, after many years of hard work to protect, preserve, and restore it, the Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch was finally presented to the public in a grand dedication ceremony. About 300 people attended. In the opening ceremony, several speakers talked about the ranch. County Park officials talked about the efforts involved in the ranch restoration.  One of the speakers was Superior Court Justice Paul Bernal, an historian and eighth-generation descendent of ranch founder Jose Juaquin Bernal. He spoke about the history of the ranch and its historical significance.

The ranch site is one of the most important historic sites in the Bay Area. Rancho Santa Teresa was founded in 1826 by Jose Joaquin Bernal, who was a member of the Juan Bautista de Anza party of 1776. He named the ranch after Saint Teresa of Avila, patron saint of healing, after hearing stories of a mysterious woman who miraculously cured the Indians at the springs on the property. The ranch was passed down through descendents of Jose Joaquin. In 1858, Carlos Gulnac, who married Joaquin's grand-daughter Rufina Bernal, built the ranch house. Their daughter Susan Gulnac married Patrick Joice. The Joice family ran the ranch until it was sold to IBM in 1980. The county acquired the property in 1986. Efforts by groups such as the San Jose Preservation Action Council and the Friends of Santa Teresa Park were instrumental in protecting the property from development, as were County Parks officials, particularly Mark Fredericks and Paul Romero. Restoring the ranch and springs took several years and over a million dollars. The county and the Historic Heritage Commission provided the funds. The last few months have been spent preparing the interpretive displays and planning the dedication ceremonies.

Many volunteers and parks personnel helped to put on the dedication. The day's festivities included a petting zoo, a blacksmith demo, and horse-drawn wagon rides. There were plenty of horses for people to see. The County Parks Mounted Rangers brought their horses. There were also mounted police from the SJPD. Holly Davis of the Friends of Santa Teresa Park brought her horse. For food and drinks, there was a lemonade stand, fruit samples, hot dogs, popcorn, and bottled water labeled with the historical Santa Teresa Springs logo. There was a treasure hunt for kids simulating a hunt for the legendary buried treasure of Changara. Musical entertainment was provided by Randy Tyler and the Bernal School Band. Mike Boulland's class from Baldwin School presented skits by Santa Teresa Springs on the history and legends of the area. One of the students is a Muwekma Ohlone Indian descendent and was dressed in traditional garb.

The west barn and the ranch house were opened to the public for the first time. The ranch house is filled with antiques, repesenting the way it looked near the turn of the century. The barn has a long timeline chart on one wall illustrating the long history of Rancho Santa Teresa. The other side has saddles, blacksmith tools, and other implements of the ranching days. In one corner is a cage with a huge rabbit. 

The left side of the barn has a storage room. The Friends of Santa Teresa set up a display there. They showed projects made by Baldwin School students on Rancho Santa Teresa. There were slide shows and videos on the park and chicken coop construction.

Outside the ranch house is a new chicken coop, built as an Eagle Scout project by Neil Steiner. Built with hundreds of man-hours of volunteer effort, the coop is so well-built, it has been nicknamed the "Chicken Hilton." Next to the house is garden planted by local 4H members, covered by wire screens to protect them from hungry deer. Across from the ranch house is the caretaker's house, now a County Parks residence for the ranch caretaker.

The historic area grounds are open daily from 8:00 am to sunset. The ranch house and barn are open on Saturdays from 12 to 6 pm. They are also available for tours by appointment and when staff people are available. Call  (408) 226-5453 for more information. Near the barn is the trailhead for the Joice Trail, which ascends steeply up Bernal Hill and can be taken to reach other trails in the park (see the park map).

(Click on the thumbnails below to see a larger picture. Hit the "Back" button on your browser to return.)

Kitchen in the ranch house with old wooden stove. Living room in the ranch house with antique furniture. Historical timeline in the barn and artifacts. Blacksmith equipment in the barn.
Dorene Boulland, Donna Steiner, Robin Schaut, and Tamara Shear making preparations outside the barn. More volunteers coming, including the Davis family and Bernal descendent Dorothy Wuss of Friends of Santa Teresa Park. The Friends of Santa Teresa Park setup a display in the barn. Hay bales provided seats in the barn.
Mike Boulland greeting former County Parks director Paul Romero. The Davis family set up a lemonade stand near the entrance to the springs. They also gave away samples of fruit that were donated by fruit companies. Lisa Killough, acting County Parks Department director opened the ceremonies and was the first speaker.
Forrest Williams, San Jose City Councilman greeted the attendees. The surrounding neighborhood is in his district. Crowds came to hear the speeches. Canopies provided shade. County Parks mounted rangers carried the US and California flags.
Paul Romero, former County Parks director, was instrumental in getting the county parks to buy the land for the park. Justice Paul Bernal recounted the history of his family and the ranch. Lorie Garcia from the Historic Heritage Commission, which helped contribute to the ranch restoration. Mike Boulland thanked and presented an award to Paul Romero.
Music teacher Randy Tyler from Bernal School brought his band. The Bernal School band provided musical entertainment. Volunteers helped cook up and serve hot dogs for the hungry guests. Neil Steiner, who built the chicken coop as an Eagle Scout project, shows it off to his friends.
 Windows on the barn let in light and air. Behind the barn was more entertainment. A petting zoo entertained the kids. Blacksmith Chuck Farrier demonstrated his craft and made metal leaves for guests. The County Parks Mounted Rangers showed their horses to visitors.
Re-enacting the signing of the Treaty of Santa Teresa.  Model of old Rancho Santa Teresa made by a student.  On the way to Santa Teresa Springs. Kids from Mike Boulland's 4th grade class at Baldwin School performing skits on the history of Santa Teresa Park.
Paul Bernal and family at the ranch house that was part of their family history. Ranch Caretaker Lydia Carlson holding the bunny rabbit that lives in the barn. Holly Davis brought her horse. There were horse-drawn wagon rides.


Thanks to Sponsors

The Friends of Santa Teresa Park woulk like to thank our local  neighborhood sponsors for their support in making the Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Interpretive site dedication possible:

        Santa Teresa Dental Center
        Sweet Tomatoes
        Carl's Junior
        Great Oaks Water Co.
        Santa Teresa Golf Course

Return to the Friends of Santa Teresa Park Home Page

Created 07/21/2002, updated 3/8/22 by Ronald Horii