gmhTODAY 25 gmhTODAY April May 2019 - Page 112

Postcards from the Past: Madrone, California Destination City! Written By Michael Brookman M ost locals and practically anyone who has lived in South Santa Clara County for more than a few years knows that the district of northern Morgan Hill is known as “Madrone.” What most people don’t know is that Madrone was a popular destination at the end of the 19th century! There was a thriving population of 540 people in Madrone by the 1890s. It boasted a Roman Catholic church, grammar school, general store, post office, hotel, livery and blacksmith. It seems there was always one saloon and maybe as many as ten in those days. The local Malaguerra winery and Kirby Canyon magnesite mines added to the population and economy. The stockyards at the Southern Pacific station were large, as Madrone was the nearest railhead for the ranches of Henry Miller (the Cattle King and 112 at one time the largest landowner in California) and Charles Weber (founder of Stockton and real estate magnate), and therefore it generated considerable revenue. This paints a picture of a growing and economically stable community, but a destination city? Well, hardly. What made Madrone a popular desti- nation in the 1890s and early 1900s was its resort and spa! Yes, Madrone was famous for the Madrone Soda Springs resort and the spa known at different times as Glen Wildwood, Glen Willis, and Glen Willow. The Madrone Soda Springs were located just a short three- or four-hour stagecoach ride from the Madrone train depot into the hills of what is now Henry W. Coe State Park. Curative waters, hunting, fishing, and restful living were guaranteed to heal the sick and inspire wellness! A hotel, GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN april/may 2019 cabins and an outdoor dance pavilion were all part of the resort, run by “Dilly” Arnold and his wife, Bertha. Newspaper ads up and down the coast and even back east brought capacity crowds during the golden age of mineral springs. The spa at Glen Wildwood was a little different than its neighbor Madrone Soda Springs. Although it had waters and springs at the convergence of Coyote, Packwood and Las Animas Creeks, Dr. J.H. Josselyn ran his facility as a cure for “sensitive ladies’ complaints,” a euphemism for unwanted pregnancy, as well as those suffering from “loss of manhood” and venereal disease. Patients were guaranteed a degree of anonymity in traveling to the obscure community of Madrone for treatment of embarrassing physical conditions. Thanks to the limited communications and media of gmhtoday.com