Santa Teresa Park
||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
people attended. In the opening ceremony, several speakers talked about
ranch. County Park officials talked about the efforts involved in the
restoration. One of the speakers was Superior Court Justice Paul
an historian and eighth-generation descendent of ranch founder Jose
Bernal. He spoke about the history of the ranch and its historical
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).
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Thanks to SponsorsThe 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:
Created 07/21/2002, updated 3/8/22 by Ronald Horii