Campus landmark of the 18th century

Campus landmark of the 18th century

Sara Yang

The rock monument was relocated to its current position, facing McClellan Road, in spring 2010, after sitting in the student parking lot for decades. Photo by Sara Yang.

You are exiting the student parking lot, about to drive onto McClellan Road, when you notice something significant — the stop sign on the right sidewalk corner. What you might not notice, sitting right next to the street sign, is the boulder, which stands four feet tall and bears an antiquated bronze plaque.

In 1968, just one year before MVHS was founded, the State Department of Parks and Recreation christened the rock as California Registered Landmark No. 800. As the story goes, Spanish explorers stopped in the area while journeying to San Francisco in March 1769.

The boulder originally rested in a planter box at the heart of the student parking lot. According to assistant principal Brad Metheany, the school renovated the entire area in spring 2010 while installing solar panels. At that time, the monument was moved to its current location at the mouth of the parking lot, tilted at an angle to face the community members driving by.

Music teacher John Galli joined the school staff in 1972; after he noticed the monument for the first time, he did not give it much of a second thought — until he found a similar historical plaque at the park behind his house in Los Altos.

“I’m assuming it was an overnight stop for the De Anza party because there was also a creek that ran through the property here on campus … and if you’re camping on horseback you’re going to go somewhere with water,” Galli said.

According to Galli, who joined the school staff in 1972, students on campus have never paid much attention to the craggy monolith.

“I don’t know if the students really care about the history of the area, I don’t know if they do. They’re so busy with everything else they have to do,” Galli said. “[But] I think anytime you move into a community, and if you stay for a while, you should pick up some of the heritage, the history.”