Friday, April 8, 2011

Preliminary Notes on DSQHR Historic Site Relatitionships

Survey of core properties of Mission San Jose dated August, 1854. This survey is scaled at approximately 1:1,584. Of interest to the present DSQHR excavation is the site plan containing scaled spacial relationships between the early 19th century orchard (distinct perhaps from the later convent's orchard), vinyard, outbuildings, adobe walls, cemeteries, and water mill.

The Original scale demarcated in English chains (traditionally one English chain equals 66 feet). However, it was not unusual to find Spanish land grants measured in Vera Chains (one chain equal to 55.5 feet).

Utilize link to Calisphere source in order to zoom and explore the drawing.

After a review of the ground and sketches made on our first Saturday, one may also suggest a spatial relationship between the DSQHR site and the 1854 map to relate roughly thus:

Without the Trimble point shots and a scaled arial, this has to be something of a ball-park estimate. It is likely that the adobe walls of the orchard and the vineyard influenced the future layout of the nearby roads for these adobe walls were substantial in the descriptions of 19th century writers. While the church seems aligned correctly, the orchard, given the present-day topography, possessed a south wall that followed the north side of Witherly road. Specifically, there is a modern barrier wall and an unpaved frontage road between the housing block and Witherly Road that seems to reflect the ancient alignment of the orchard wall in the 1854 map (see source note).

I believe some of the inaccuracy relates to distortion of the original parchment and the size of the Calisphere JPEG.

The area demarcated by the red polygon is the DSQHR orchard site. These conclusions are of course subject to the consensus input of others more expert in this field than myself.

Source consulted in support of these conclusions:

Richard E. Thompson, Jr., Andrew Galvan, and Phillip Reid, Mission Tiera Monitoring Report,(May, 2003), p.36.


  1. I've been studying this map alongside Google Maps but can't quite match them up. From what I can tell, the surveyed vineyard is our modern day excavation site, and the surveyed buildings no longer exist, right? I'm no expert at maps... please help!

  2. Christy, actually I believe the buildings shown are those currently standing (or mostly) of the Mission San Jose. This means our site falls within that area labelled "Orchard" on this map. Since the Sisters bought the land later, I would guess that they kept some of the orchard, but developed the south-western portion of the orchard for their own buildings (the ones we see today; perhaps not the "original" buildings but the current ones are probably in the same locations). -C

  3. Hello All, I believe the St. Thomas Aquinas seminary land and building purchased by DSQHR is situated considerably east of the earlier mission establishment(see superimposed rough map).

    I marked what appears to be the primary and original seminary hall with the capital A. The DSQHR complex seems to have grown north and east from this reference point.

  4. Fine work David. I think the site location is spot on, but I think you are too generous with our site size. I believe the horizontal "line" that appears to run through the middle red site polygon is the fence line, and thus this marks our site boundary. This matches up with the parking spaces, tennis court, and tree line to the southeast of our site. At this scale it may seem our site is tiny, but we'll make the most of it!

  5. Points well taken. It is a bit difficult to scale these images without reference to our Trimble data. Cheers!


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