Stevens Ranch Fruit Barn
Stevens Ranch Fruit Barn at History Park (image from Historical Marker Database)
Backstory and Context
One of Coyote Valley's first orchardists, Orvis Stevens, built the fruit barn for storage and drying around 1890. Stevens was born in Vermont in 1830, and like many California pioneers, originally worked as a miner upon arrival in 1852. He moved on to farming, attempting a dairy, stock-raising, and butchery before he purchased land for his ranch in 1868. Stevens rented Twelve-Mile House, from which he ran a store, Blacksmith's shop, hotel, and post office. In addition to his varied jobs, Stevens was a school trustee, husband to Louisa Leonhard Stevens, and father to five children. The ranch passed to his sons in 1906. The 101 Freeway right-of-way led to the removal of the fruit barn to History Park in 1979.
In History Park, the Stevens Ranch Fruit Barn houses the
exhibit Passing Farms: Enduring Values,
focusing on the agricultural history of Santa Clara Valley, particularly the
fruit industry from the late 1800s until the Second World War. The barn is also
part of the school programs People at
Work, A Child's Life in the 1890s, Coming to America: The Immigration
Experience, and Valley of Heart's
1. History of Santa Clara County, California pages 569-576. San Francisco: Alley, Bowen & Co. 1881. Accessed January 8, 2017 at the Valley of Heart's Delight. http://mariposaresearch.net/santaclararesearch/SCBIOS/burnettbios.html
2. History San Jose. "Stevens Ranch Fruit Barn." Accessed January 8, 2017. http://historysanjose.org/wp/plan-your-visit/history-park/stevens-ranch-fruit-barn/.
3. Swackhamer, Barry. "Stevens Ranch Fruit Barn."
Historical Marker Database. February 2, 2012. Accessed January 8, 2017. http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?MarkerID=52139.