Around 1890, Orvis Stevens built this fruit barn to store fruit. He was one of the first orchardists in Coyote Valley, located in South San Jos?. Born in Vermont, Stevens came to California in 1852 to try his hand at mining before settling in the Santa Clara Valley. In 1868, he purchased 108 acres of Rancho Laguna Seca and began working the land. His sons took over the Ranch in 1906.
By the 1970s the 101 Freeway was being planned, and it was determined that the Stevens Ranch was in the path of the proposed project. CalTrans provided funding for the fruit barn and other historic buildings to be preserved, moving the barn to History Park in 1979.
The fruit barn is home to the exhibit Passing Farms: Enduring Values which examines Santa Clara Valley's agricultural past. The exhibit's donor and Curator, Yvonne Olson Jacobson, grew up on her family's Sunnyvale farm with orchards of apricots, prunes, and cherries. She witnessed the transformation of the Valley of Heart's Delight to Silicon Valley, and realized the importance of documenting the disappearing family farm and way of life. The exhibit explores the Valley's fruit industry from the late nineteenth century to World War II. During its heyday, Santa Clara County produced more than one third of all the fruit canned in the world.
To learn more about the Stevens Ranch Fruit Barn or orchard in the Santa Clara Valley, please visit our website: www.historysanjose.org
This sign made possible by a generous grant from the Jacobson Family.