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-El Quito Neighborhood History

posted Jan 20, 2010, 5:21 PM by ElQuito NA   [ updated Dec 31, 2012, 5:59 PM ]
Orchard workers at Sorosis Fruit Company, early 1900s (current location of West Hope Church on Saratoga Ave.)
 
 
The land that the El Quito neighborhood now sits on (as with much of Saratoga, Cupertino, and Campbell), was originally part of the Quito Rancho - a Mexican land-grant established around 1841. The J. R. Arguello family acquired much of the Quito Rancho in the mid 1800's, but sold large portions of the property in subsequent years. Saratoga Avenue is one of the oldest thoroughfares in Santa Clara County, so lands adjacent to this early road were highly desirable and quickly acquired and developed by early farmers.

The Arguello's were active developers and established the Quito Olive orchard, just across Quito road (approximately where Westgate Mall, and the El Paseo Shopping Center now reside), living on their 630 acre olive ranch for many years (a few of the original olive trees from the mid 1800's remain in front of homes that front Quito Road, behind Lucky's).

One of the earliest maps available of the area depicting land ownership after the Quito Rancho was subdivided for sale was the "Thompson and West Atlas of 1876" (a copy of this map is housed in the "California Room" at the Martin Luther King Library in San Jose).  An enlargement of the map to this specific location (below) shows that there were three "primary owners" of our El Quito neighborhood at the time of publication in 1876; S. A. Blythe, T. Boyter, and J. S. Scott.
 
 
 
 
 
S. A. Blythe (El Quito Park Subdivision)
 
S. A. Blythe was a native of Tennessee and came to California in 1849, acquiring 750 acres of farm land. This particular parcel was 210 acres during his ownership and his parcel straddled Saratoga Avenue. Mr. Blythe appears to have lived in San Jose.

By 1881 the land was sold to Wlliam Farrington, who put in a fruit orchard. Florence R. Cunningham's book - "Saratoga's First Hundred Years" describes him as a Nevada mine owner and freight man. He built a substantial mansion in the Italianate style and photographs of that house exist. The house itself is now gone. In 1883 the Farrington Ranch is shown to cover the land that is today's El Quito Park subdivision, as well as the land across Saratoga Avenue to Saratoga Creek. Mr. Farrington expanded the property and by 1883 it is shown to be about 300 acres.

Farrngton sold his ranch to another investor, Frank (Borax) Smith of Death Valley fame, before 1900. The ranch became one of the most famous fruit operations and was known as the Sorosis Fruit Farm. Sorosis means "dry", hence the fruit was dried on the premises, a photograph of the fruit drying sheds of this establishment is shown below.  The Sorosis Fruit Company buildings were located on Saratoga Avenue, where the West Hope Church now resides.  The Farrington mansion was located across the street from the facility.
 
 
 

CDL e-Scholarship Repository. Sorosis Fruit Company's Packing House, a View of the Valley and Foothills Beyond]. 1905. <http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt367nc68v>.

 

One of the most valuable and highly productive orchards in the Santa Clara Valley was operated by Joseph A. Teresi, located on Saratoga Avenue. Known as the Sorosis Fruit Company, besides the extensive orchards a large packing plant was located on the ranch, which took care of the products of the orchards. Joseph A. was born in Sicily, February 23, 1899, the son of Salvatore and Marianna (La Barbera) Teresi, also natives of Sicily. The family removed to the United States in 1903. His father was engaged in the horticulture business in his native country, and he had seven boys, who were all thoroughly taught the orchard business.


The property remained agricultural until after WWII. The Paul Masson champagne cellar and property was nearby, and helped keep the Sorosis Ranch as farm land.

- Summary data courtesy of April Halberstadt, Historian - Saratoga Museum - Saratoga, California

El Quito Early History


El Quito Park Subdivision 1950
 
A typical El Quito Park subdivision home (circa 1950)
 
Developed in 1950 by the Tilson Construction Company, the 220 home El Quito Park subdivision (bound by Saratoga Avenue, Cox Avenue, and Quito Road - the "Paseo XXXXX" streets, Bucknell, and Cox Avenue) was offered in a one or two car garage configuration - priced at $8,500 or $8,800 respectively (same living space floor plan).  Each home is situated on a minimum 10,000 square foot lot - many with larger lots.
 
The entire 220 home subdivision would have been valued at less than $2M at the time of offering in 1950!
 
See original 1950s El Quito Park home sales brochure in attachments below.
 

Bellgrove Subdivision
 
 
 
The Paul Masson Chanpaigne Cellars is depicted above , before it was torn down and replaced by the Bellgrove housing subdivision.
 
Built in the mid-1990s, the Bellgrove subdivision sits on land that was once owned by Paul Masson Champaigne CellarsThe Bellgrove subdivision consists of 94, 2-story upscale homes and a 1.7 acre neighborhood park.  Bellgrove is located at Saratoga Avenue and Highway 85, with the entrance on Saratoga Avenue.
 

Do you have Historical Information or Old Photos of the Neighborhood???
 
Do you have old photos or historical information specific to the El Quito Neighborhood that you would like to share on our web site? 
  • Photos of orchards / canneries prior to development? 
  • Subdivisions under construction? 
  • Historical businesses that have been torn down, or have gone out of business?
  • Highway 85 construction between Quito and Saratoga Avenue?
  • Paul Masson construction /destruction?
NOTE: Information submitted may be posted to this public web site, therefore family-identifiable (personal) information may not be suitable for this forum.
 
To submit information or photos, please contact elquitona.webmaster@gmail.com. We may be able to accommodate scanning of a limited number of photos to electronic format, if you don't have this capability - just contact us...
 
Don't let our local history be lost!
 
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ElQuito NA,
Jan 20, 2010, 8:04 PM
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