gmhTODAY 15 gmhToday July Aug 2017 - Page 69

Huntington Station • Morgan Hill springs in the hills near Pine Ridge, featuring an abundance of Madrone trees, likely inspired the village to be re-named Madrone. A wagon trail was built and guests of Madrone Springs departed the train at the “18 Mile House” or Madrone Station. ‘Discovered’ is a word that requires some clarification here because the Matalan-Ohlone Indians considered the mineral springs to be “medicine waters and there were many artifacts telling of their presence including mortars, cuttings tools and arrowheads. The alignment of the railroad tracks did cause a problem for the original settlers of Madrone as their original buildings (mostly owned by Mrs. Liberata Fisher Piatti) faced Monterey Road, but their back- sides butted up to the tracks. Just as with Coyote, the “18 Mile House” served the community as a general purpose gathering point of which a key component was the saloon. Corals to temporarily control the cattle were located just south of Madrone. Mr. Cochrane built his road from the fam- ily’s Coyote Creek ranch so as to reliably transport his dairy products—fine chees- es and butter—to markets in San Jose and San Francisco via Madrone Station. Morgan Hill was not a regular stop for the railroad as most of the ranching lands were still in the Murphy family’s possession. Not until the Morgan Hill Ranch was subdivided by C. H. Phillips in 1892, and he named the commu- nity—Morgan Hill (Southern Pacific thought Huntington more appropriate in deference to one of the owners), did a railroad station spring to life. For many years, the next stop south of Madrone Madrone Station was the “21 Mile House” or Tennant Station. William Tennant took over a small traveler’s stop in 1852 along the El Camino from William Host. Since the Murphy family controlled the land north to Coyote Narrows all the way to Rucker near Gilroy, it is likely that Coyote and Tennant Stations were conceived of and constructed at about the same time. The agricultural bounty of the south- ern Santa Clara Valley soon called out to a new generation of farmers and orchardists. The railroad provided the means to sell fresh fruit and grains to a growing Bay Area market. Things were not always blissful as many farmers com- plained about the monopolistic pricing schemes perpetrated upon them by the Southern Pacific. The famous author of “The Octopus,” Frank Norris, wrote of the tensions and bloodshed associated with the railroad expansion. Norris intended to reside in Murphy Canyon off of Watsonville Road near the Sander’s Redwood Retreat resort. This resort sur- vived for a number of years as a result of the advertising linking it to the railroad service. Sunset Magazine, first published in 1898, was originally a publication piece for the Southern Pacific extolling the lands located along its right of ways. Last, but not least for this article, was the San Martin area. The Murphy’s lived a considerable distance from the El Camino and the little community that grew up next to their home ranch (today’s Harvey Bear Park) was known as Martinsville. The railroad stop was called Mil’s Switch at San Martin Avenue for reasons yet to be uncovered. That’s what makes digging into our history so much fun. You don’t ever really stop learning. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JULY/AUGUST 2017 Tennant Station San Martin Station Coyote Station Morgan Hill Station 69