Published in the June 22 – July 5, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Robert Airoldi


Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

Our good writing friends, Michael Brookman and Ian Sanders, just completed their third book in their series about the mineral spring resorts in Santa Clara County. They’re calling it “A Visual History of Pacific Congress Springs and Azule Mineral Springs, Saratoga California” and it’s due to be published this August. The first two books were “The Mineral Springs of Santa Clara County” and “A Hundred Years of Gilroy Hot Springs, 1860s — 1960s.”

Not to be slackers, they immediately started working on a fourth volume — this one about the Madrone Soda Springs up in what is now Henry W. Coe State Park in the foothills east of Morgan Hill.

“The Madrone Soda Springs were active as a resort from about the 1870s through the late 1930s,” Brookman, a retired Morgan Hill cop, told us. “They were never as well developed as nearby Gilroy Hot Springs, but nevertheless attracted visitors from throughout the state for their medicinal qualities.”

The early visitors to the springs arrived by train at the Madrone Southern Pacific Station, which replaced the stage coach stop at the 18 Mile House in what is now the north end of Morgan Hill. They then took an open stage east up into the hills to the springs where they could take the waters, go hunting, fishing and horseback riding and then relax in the evening with dancing in the open air pavilion, Brookman told us.

Sadly, the story of the Springs has been largely forgotten during the past 70 years. The Brookman-Sanders team is working to preserve and document the local history and would welcome any photographs, artifacts, stories and mementos relating to the resort. Contributions that make it into the book will be credited.

“The most exciting material is often found in that dusty box high on a shelf in the closet,” Brookman said. “Help us save our heritage.” They can be contacted by email. Ian’s at, or Michael’s at”
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Graham in wind tunnel

Graham in wind tunnel

Katie Sue Gruener, the global public relations manager at Specialized Bicycle Components, wanted to kick off our day with a positive story and reminder of how powerful the bicycle can be.

“We were presented with an opportunity, through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, to make a wish come true,” she said. “Seventeen-year-old Graham was diagnosed with Non-Hodkins Lymphoma last summer. He loves riding his road bike and riding with his friends from Higher Gear in Chicago.”

Graham’s wish was to visit Specialized’s headquarters to check out the Morgan Hill-based company’s research and development facilities and get a custom S-Works Tarmac. He also asked for his sister, Quincy, to join him on the trip.

Thursday June 2, Gruener and the Specialized team hosted Graham and Quincy and made his dream a reality. They spent the day checking out different areas of the company and they presented him with a one-of-a-kind custom Tarmac bike that Graham designed himself. Graham took his bike out for a lunch ride with the crew and got to enjoy some of our beautiful California sunshine.

“We are honored and humbled for the opportunity to do this. Hope you enjoy this story,” Gruener said.

We enjoyed it indeed, and hope Morgan Hill Life readers do also.
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Around--Town---Henry-Coe-raCongratulations to Tiffany Verbica, of Felton, who won the Henry Coe Park 10K as the top female for the third year in a row. She completed the race at the Hunting Hollow entrance in slightly more than 48 minutes. “The Coe Park volunteers this year were amazing,” Tiffany told us. “Race materials were well organized; parking was flawless; fruit and aid stations were well-stocked; new Race Director David Cartwright should be very proud.”

As we are of you, Tiffany!

“My husband grew up on a ranch in San Felipe Valley just north of the Park and his mom, Winnifred, lived here one summer, helping to work the cattle,” Tiffany explains. “So, it means a lot for us to be here and be part of the excitement.”
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Rotary-scholarshipsThe Rotary Club of Morgan Hill awarded 19 college scholarships to graduating high school Morgan Hill seniors.

Within this group, there’s a William Staples music scholarship for $1,000 and a Ralph and Rose Fitzsimmons Ag scholarship of $2,000.
The students were chosen from an outstanding pool of applicants, Rotary Club member Jeff Santos told us. Savvy, dedicated and passionate about their futures these students had a grade point average of 3.8. They were eventually chosen after being interviewed by a group of Rotarians.
The award winners are: Gabrielle Baniqued, The William Stables Music Award; Moriah Silva, The Fitzsimmons Agriculture Award; Anna Anaya, Arthur Rodriquez, Brianna Havens, Dino Levic, Dora Jimenez, Erica Kelley, Janine Bautista, Josephine Ngo, Kaden Foster, Karly Rebozzi, Kiely Anderson, Madison Bleeg, Madison Doutt, Megan Yabumoto, Shelby McDonald, Sylviann Nguyen and Taylor Dinh.

Great job, students.