Explore The Bay Area’s Fascinating Historic Spots

May 10, 2012 3:43 PM

Photo Credit: parks.ca.gov

Reporting Brian Hackney

Explore the Bay Area’s historic sites, from San Jose’s gorgeous original light tower, to the remains of Jack London’s tragic dream house which burned to the ground before the author ever spent a night inside. Hit the road and explore our region’s fascinating past.

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
Sierra Azul Preserve
Mt. Umunhum
(650) 691-1200

Almaden Air Force Station Veterans

While the old Almaden Air Force Base isn’t open to the public…YET, it’s a recognizable site to many in the South Bay. The cement tower used to host a huge radar aimed at the skies to detect an enemy attack. While it’s no longer in use, the Almaden Air Force Base was a significant part of San Jose history.

You can, of course, explore the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, with it’s stunning views. Overlooking the town of Los Gatos and the south bay, Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve is the District’s largest preserve, encompassing over 18,000 acres of mostly rugged and steep terrain. Check out their website for hiking guides and information about

San Jose History Park
1650 Senter Road
San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 287-2290

With 27 original and reproduction homes, businesses and landmarks, History Park highlights Santa Clara Valley’s past. Complete with paved streets, running trolleys and a café, this 14-acre site has the charm and ambiance of times gone by. Don’t miss the original light tower, which was once located in downtown San Jose and now lives in History Park. For a time, San Jose was the only town with electricity west of the Rockies. Bring the whole family and check out this striking piece of South Bay history.

Jack London State Historic Park
2400 London Ranch Road
Glen Ellen, CA
(707) 938-5216


Jack London State Historic Park is a memorial to writer and adventurer Jack London, who made his home at the site from 1905 until his death in 1916. The park was once part of the famous writer’s Beauty Ranch, and still contains the ruins of his dream “Wolf House” which was destroyed by a fire before ever being used. The park contains the Cottage residence where he wrote books, short stories, articles and letters. With loads of interesting hiking options throughout the park, bicycling and horseback riding are also permitted on some trails.

Cal Park Tunnel
Marin County, CA
More Information

The Cal Park Tunnel was originally constructed in 1884 with significant renovations taking place in the mid-portion of last century. Originally designed to haul lumber and freight, and then later passengers, it was sealed shut in 1978 after a series of fires and structural collapses. Today it carries bicyclists and pedestrians between Larkspur and San Rafael. Beautifully maintained, you rest easy in this tunnel with high tech security, emergency checkpoints, and yep, internet acess.

Marin County Bicycle Coalition

The Marin Bicycle Coalition is the preeminent resource for cyclists of all levels in Marin County. For the latest news and information of two-wheeling your way around Marin, check in with the MCBC.

Ready for your next adventure? Head over to Eye on the Bay’s Travel & Outdoors section and discover the best of the Bay

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