A Homestead Headlines Article by Chuck Oldenburg
Ding a Ling. Hello. Yes. Sam? Wow! Haven’t heard from you in years. Weren’t you transferred to Houston? Retired? You’re living at the Redwoods? Sure. How about a walk? No, it won’t be too strenuous. Only 1.6 miles. It’s a loop. Up hill then down hill, but not steep. Meet me at Volunteer Park. It’s on the corner of Melrose and Evergreen. See you Sunday.
Good to see you. This is Homestead Valley, an unincorporated community of about 1200 homes. This is one of our parks. We’ll see two more on our walk. Let’s go. Yes that’s a school. It was Homestead school, built in 1920, but now it’s a private school. We turn left here and walk up Montford. Glad you asked. Cherry Blossom Lane honors the Okubara family that was relocated from their chicken ranch here during the war. This is our Community Center. There’s a swimming pool behind it. See that meadow? It was a horse ring when we bought the property in 1974. That grassy hillside is open space land. We passed a bond issue in 1973 and bought 80 acres of open space and parkland. That’s where Maverick lives. He’s the custodian of our parks and open space. Did you ever read “The Dharma Bums” by Jack Kerouac? Great. Well it took place right here back in the 1950s. More open space. Those are Maverick’s goats. Up at the top, Peggy Adams had a stable. The horses used to graze here, but the last horse died in 1995. There are about 17 acres in the Pixie Trail Open Space Area.
Let’s go in this gate to Three Groves. We bought two thirds of this old estate. This is the oak grove. This area used to be a flower garden and orchard. Below this bridge was a dam for a small lake with a sandy beach. Now it’s a meadow. This is the redwood grove. The open area is where there have been many weddings. Yes, that’s the old swimming pool. The house is privately owned, and this lovely garden is in the buckeye grove. We’re now in Stolte Grove. I agree. The redwoods are fantastic. That log is 700 years old. We used to have an annual Mozart festival here. That’s the entrance to Tam Canyon, originally a campground. It now has 25 homes.
Now we’re on La Verne. The Eagle Trail starts here in Weedon Redwoods. One can start here and go up through Homestead’s open space to the GGNRA and follow trails all the way to the Golden Gate, Muir woods or Mt. Tam. This Three Groves fence is the west boundary of a former eight-acre gentleman’s farm between Montford and La Verne. Alec Eells dammed up the creek in a few places, raised all kinds of crops, had a large orchard and planted eucalyptus trees in 1904. Ah, here is his house, #424. It has been expanded and modernized. The east boundary of the farm was here where this long driveway goes down to the former barn, now a house.
This loop gets lots of use. So far we’ve seen people of all ages walking, some alone mostly talking on a cell phone, couples, families, many with dogs, a few pushing strollers, joggers, and only a few cars and bikes. But this is Sunday. On weekdays there are trucks and vans for construction jobs, garden maintenance and deliveries plus cars headed to and from schools and commuting. But they usually slow down for us walkers.
Now we turn left onto Melrose and return to Volunteer Park. The name comes from the fact that our volunteer fire department built a firehouse here in 1940. Maverick and volunteers from the community and the school maintain it. Glad you enjoyed the counter clockwise walk around the loop. Next time we can do it clockwise.
If you have comments or questions about this article
or other topics pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.