Ethel Cottle had a vision knowing that future young people in Santa Clara Valley would need to learn how agriculture shaped our region. With that knowledge, Ethel planned to preserve the land where the familiar South San Jose landmark, “The House,” at Snell and Branham, would be a place to bring together new generations to enjoy the landscape and explore our history
Today, Martial Cottle Park serves as an area for learning the agricultural heritage and the tradition of farming in the Santa Clara Valley. Holy Family School’s second grade class had the honor of being one of the first groups to take part of their educational program.
The second graders were so excited to participate in the hands on activities, which included milking a cow! Hearing that children in the 1900’s would be expected to milk cows as one of their chores early in the morning brought a level of appreciation to just being able to attend school. Besides milking cows, the students were able to try their hand at steer roping.
Students were exposed to the many ways an eight year old would help on the farm, certainly chores they would not be expected to do today. The second graders learned about planting seeds, but also the ways children had fun. Many outdoor games were played including kendama. First was work, then play, a value shared then and now.
Students participated in a map activity showing them the changes around the ranch from 1899 until 1960’s. The changes through time were quite eye opening. The second graders at Holy Family School got a small glimpse of agricultural life, more they truly gained a greater appreciation for the important history in their own backyard.