Red Rock Riches
Cinnabar was highly valued as used for pigment by the Ohlone people who lived around Mount Umunhum. It contained mercury, also known as "quicksilver," which was essential for processing gold during California's Gold Rush. The nearby New Almaden Quicksilver mining operation which began in 1845, became the site of California's first legal mining claim after statehood in 1850.
The early 1900s were a boisterous time of mining, canneries, railroads, and other activities in Santa Clara County. People came from all over to settle in the area. Most people chose to live in the valley near jobs and amenities. The ones who chose to live up here on the mountain were known as recluses, moonshiners, and other hardy folk who live amid the rugged terrain of the the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Lady of the Mountain
Remnant foundations of a cabin built during the first half of the 20th century still exist here. While others may also have occupied this structure, it was rumored to be inhabited at some point by Gwendolyn Alice Boyer, who was born in 1880 and died in San Jose just short of her 100th birthday. Little is definitively known about Gwendolyn, but unconfirmed accounts described her as resourceful, fiercely independent, educated and
quite social. Some have speculated as to why she decided to retreat to this remote area to live, but it remains a mystery. Artifacts of this well-equipped home exits as evidence of the resourcefulness of mountain dwellers on Mount Umunhum.