The property on which the Heintz family built their ranch was originally owned in the early 1900s by James Augustus Bacigalupi, first president of the Bank of Italy and a founder of the Bank of America. Somewhere on the property, a large mansion was built, and for decades the property was simply known to locals as "The Mansion". It burned down in 1965 and the property was mostly abandoned by the time Ralph and Sophie Heintz purchased a portion of it, mostly likely in the 1950s. Ralph was a chemical and physical engineer and inventor, cited as having over 200 patents to his name including four inventions that are currently at the Smithsonian. His wife was a U.S. Marine Corps ham radio operator who ran the radios for the Wilkins Expedition to the North Pole in 1928 and the Byrd Expedition to the South Pole, while also serving in World War II. After moving to Blossom Hill Road, they operated an apricot orchard and Ralph continued to invent in his small workshop. Most of the rest of the property remained undeveloped, a playground for the wealthy but little else. The Heintz family owned the property as a recreational site but spent most of their time in Los Altos.
|Ralph M. Heintz holding a radiotron tube, August 1927. (History San José)|
|The surviving tunnel portal on the Heintz Railroad beside the current shoofly trail. (Bill Dawkins)|
|Golden Spike ceremony of the Heintz Loop, 1975. (John Haines)|
Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
The Heintz Open Space is publicly accessible via Regent Drive off of Blossom Hill Road. The Valley View Trail (at left from the trailhead) is relatively steeps but short and at the top of the grade, it is flat for some distance. This flat area is the right-of-way and along it, you will notice the top of the former railroad tunnel which is now collapsed and mostly buried. The Heintz farmhouse is located on Regent Drive at the end of Ramohs Way.
Citations & Credits:
- Dawkins, Bill. Personal correspondence.
- Golden Gate Live Steamers.
- Handy, Jim. Personal correspondence.
- Haskey, John. Personal correspondence.
- Maiten, Michael S. Personal correspondence.
- Phelps, Dale B. Personal correspondence.
- Pope-Handy, Mary. "The Heritage Grove Neighborhood in Los Gatos and the Heintz Open Space Preserve". The Valley of Hearts Delight. 2011.
- "The 1981 Heintz Lecture". The Proctor Bulletin, 3:4 (1981).
- Wiley, Neil. "Heintz Open Space". Mountain Network News.