Published in the December 24, 2014 – January 6, 2014 issue of Morgan Hill Life
By Mike Monroe
Our last outing at Henry Coe State Park was so beautiful and peaceful. So, I thought why not take another look at Pine Ridge from Rosendin Peak which is just above Anderson Dam and Reservoir. To set the record straight, Sada Coe Robinson donated her Pine Ridge Ranch to become a park in honor of her father in 1953, not in 1952 as I had written previously. There are a number of connections between Anderson and Henry Coe parks that will make this history stroll a lot of fun.
The best place to start is at the beginning. The geology of the Mt. Hamilton Range, especially along Coyote Creek where it flows out Coe Park into Coyote Reservoir and then into Anderson Lake, is both fascinating and confusing. Coyote Creek follows a linear valley that follows the path of the Calaveras Fault. Over time, the path of Coyote Creek has “stretched” northward by the offsetting motion of the fault system. Anderson Dam was built in the early 1950s at a point where Coyote Creek punched through the ridge line, called a water gap by geologists.
Before the dam was constructed, Coyote Creek drained into the Santa Clara Valley creating an alluvial fan in today’s northeastern Morgan Hill. While Coyote Creek currently flows northward into San Francisco Bay, at one time it merged with Llagas Creek connecting to the Pajaro River and eventually Monterey Bay.
There was once an Ohlone/Matalan village near the dam site. All the necessities were present – a water source, plenty of acorns from oak trees and abundant wildlife through the natural riparian corridor.
During the 1830s, the land was divided among several Mexican rancho grants. Juan Hernandez is said to have built an adobe structure along Coyote Creek as well as his family’s primary house at Murphy Springs. Later the property came under the ownership of the McElroy and Willis families, and finally John Cochrane and his wife Aphelia purchased the ranch in 1869. The Cochrane’s re-modeled the adobe and developed a dairy and orchard business. Today, the Cochrane Ranch is under the waters of Anderson Reservoir.
Just like Henry Coe Park, the Rosendin addition to Anderson County Park is a gift that just keeps on giving. Moses L. Rosendin, of Jewish ancestry and an immigrant from Mexico, came to the United States and served in the Navy during World War I. In 1919, he started the Rosendin Electric Motor Works serving farming customers by rewinding motors for wells and pumps.
The company flourished and he purchased land in the 1950s above Anderson Lake with the intention of building a home. Ill health prevented his dream for being realized and later his family donated the property to Santa Clara County Parks in his memory. Their generosity has to be seen to be fully appreciated from the Rosendin Peak. There is an expansive view of Santa Clara Valley, Lick Observatory, the steep slopes folding up to Pine Ridge and almost the full breadth of Anderson Lake.
I was walking the loop trails after our first heavy December rains and a pond that had been dry for the past couple of years was being replenished and a group of mallards were paddling around so happy for the water. The pond is formed in a hollow or basin along the ridge top that geologists refer to as a sag pond possibly caused by the seismic faulting.
Please join me for a visit to one of our hidden gems. Bring your camera and some snacks as there are benches along the trail to stop for a while and enjoy the landscape. Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season.
Mike Monroe is a business owner and naturalist. He is a docent for Santa Clara County Parks.
Location: Anderson Lake County Park Visitor Center, 19245 Malaguerra Ave., Morgan Hill
Directions: East on Cochrane Road, then Left on Malaguerra Avenue. Proceed to Visitor Center Parking Area
Time and Date: 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18
Description: Initial gentle climb to ridge line. About a one-hour stroll. Wear shoes for wet and muddy conditions. Rain Cancels.
Contact: Mike Monroe (408) 234-6377
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