Events 2013

Milpitas Veterans Honored: November 11, 2013

On Monday, November 11, at the annual Veteran’s Day celebration at Veteran’s Plaza behind the City Hall, the Milpitas Veterans commission awarded the honor of Veteran of the Year to longtime resident, Milpitas Historical Society member, and Korean War veteran Lou Horyza.

The City also unveiled a plaque and bench dedicated to the memory of Henry Mattos (October 18, 1922-February 12, 2013). Henry was a participant in the Normandy Landings during World War II, was a recipient of a Purple Heart, and was among the original members of the Milpitas Historical Society.

Milpitas Historical Society’s Sunnyvale Museum Tour

Lynne Durante, Jan Hamberger, Roger Skuse, Shirley Skuse, Marilyn Simkins, Mayvid McClay outside the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum
Left to right, Lynne Durante, Jan Hamberger, Roger Skuse, Shirley Skuse, Marilyn Simkins, Mayvid McClay outside the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum
The Society’s tour of the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum on Sunday, September 15, turned out to be most interesting; and included exhibits about Lockheed’s history, early Sunnyvale personalities, for whom many of its streets were named, even more information about the Murphy family, and so much more. If you haven’t visited it recently, it is very much worth the time to do so.

New Veterans’ Display at City Hall

The Milpitas Historical Society is proud to announce the mounting of a new display of local veterans’ memorabilia in honor of Memorial Day, which will be on display in the glass cases at the entry of the City Hall. The display will be there until sometime in July. Organized by MHS Historian and Past President Harriett McGuire, the display features documents, letters, photos, hardware, and other reminders of the time and skills, and in some cases the lives, that local veterans have dedicated to the service of their country.

This has been a busy time for Harriett McGuire, who was also a dinner on Saturday, April 13, for her election as Milpitas 2013 Citizen of the Year, shown below with dinner host and MHS member Lou Horyza. Mayor Jose Esteves and a distinguished group of city and county officials acknowledged and gave thanks for the services of the Milpitas police officer and firefighter of the year as well.

The Milpitas Historical Society’s Community Tour a Success!

The Milpitas Historical Society’s July 6, 2013 Community Tour attracted as many as 50 participants, as it moved from historic Main Street to the Alviso Adobe park and then on to the Silva Apricot Ranch and then on up to the old  Laguna School, finishing up at the Big Dog Winery. A good time seemed to have been had by all.

Milpitas Historical Society’s Annual Community Tour: July 6, 2013


Laguna School

Laguna School

1st Stop:         10 a.m. Meet in the public parking lot behind Quincy’s Barbeque, 70 N. Main Street, where local historian Steve Munzel will lead a tour of the north end of Main Street. This was the first residential area in the city. Steve will tell about the first American frame house built in Milpitas, show the location of the boundary between three ranchos that make up Milpitas, and share many stories about the early days in our city.

2nd Stop:       10:45 a.m. Meet at the Alviso Adobe Park at Calaveras Boulevard, where Evans Road changes to Piedmont Road. This is the site of the first Rancho in Milpitas. There will be a tour of the grounds to learn about the main structure, the restored outbuildings, the historic sycamore tree, and farming practices of the era. Hear the story of the Alviso, Sepulvida and Cuciz families and the place the adobe played in their lives.

3rd Stop:        11:30 a.m. Visit the Silva Apricot Ranch, 891 Piedmont Road. This is the last working apricot ranch in Milpitas, where Kelly Silva and his family have cared for this vintage farm for almost 60 years. They will show how their Blenheim apricots are cut, laid out on trays, and taken by rail carts to be dried.

4th Stop:        Noon. Visit Laguna School, 4001 Calaveras Road. Come see Milpitas’s oldest school building, which opened in 1865 and served the children of ranchers and farmers in the country to the east of the town of Milpitas. It was closed in 1943, when attendance dropped below the required 5 pupils, The Laguna School building was auctioned off in 1949 to a local farmer, who used it as a barn. Now a storage building on the property of Bill Hare, it remains an iconic structure honoring Milpitas’s striving pioneers.

5th Stop:        12:30 p.m. and later. Enjoy Big Dog Winery, 4545 Felter Rd.  Milpitas’s only winery has produced Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc wines from its vineyard since 2001. Its commitment remains to these two varietals and just a few hundred cases are carefully and lovingly handmade the old fashioned way in this unique family winery which overlooks the San Francisco Bay. Bring a picnic lunch, relax, and enjoy delicious wines and a fabulous view.

Enjoy the tour! For further information about the tour or the Milpitas Historical Society,
call (408) 320-9587.

June 22, 2013 by mhs

Jenny Lind Disaster Historic Marker: April 13, 2013

On Saturday, April 13, at 11:00 am at the Alviso Marina County Park, there will be a dedication of a historic marker commemorating the explosion on the steamship Jenny Lind that took place on April 13, 1853. It took many lives and may have changed California history.

County Supervisor Dave Cortese will speak, and re-enactors in historic costume will answer questions.

This will be especially good to see because our May Historical Society program will feature Alviso’s South Bay Yacht Club Commodore Russ Robinson and historian Claire Britton-Warren giving us the whole story of the Jenny Lind disaster.

You can find out more about the dedication and how to get there at this site: Alviso Marina County Park or by calling (408) 262-6980. We hope you can come to this event.
April 2, 2013 by mhs

Alviso Adobe Park Ribbon Cutting: March 16, 2013


Part 1: Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves makes opening remarks and introduces council members and agency representatives who supported the creation and preservation of the historical site. Descendants of the original families are also introduced.
Part 2: Mayor Jose Esteves introduces the artists who created monuments for the park. He also recognizes others in the community who worked especially hard on the historic park.
Part 3: Tim Rosco gives Mayor Esteves a commendation.
Part 4: Contributions from the Milpitas Historical Society. Reminder to view the history boards throughout the park.
Part 5: Park Commissioners recognized for their work. Other plans for open spaces in the Milpitas hills. Sierra Vista property. Staging area coming for access near the top of the hill.
Part 6: Chairman of the Santa Clara County Historical Heritage Commission. Organizing the community is the toughest task. Money raising the easy part. (You can say that again!) Good talk about the politics of getting this project going. (Inside repair still needs funding, so building is not open for use yet.)
Part 7: Roger Skuse, President of the Milpitas Historical Society speaks and thanks past presidents over past two decades.
March 16, 2013 mhs