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Thousand Oaks Park History

Lured by the Gold Rush, Dr. John P. Dudley, a native of New York, arrived in California in 1850.  He practiced medicine in Sacramento, but soon relocated to the Santa Clara Valley.  In 1866 Dr. Dudley acquired 170 acres of the old Narvaez Rancho in what is now the Thousand Oaks neighborhood.


As was common at the time, most of the acreage was planted in vineyards.  After Dr. Dudley’s death in 1900, his family began converting the farm to cherry and walnut orchards.  The farmhouse, located in what is now the eastern portion of Thousand Oaks Park, remained occupied by Louise, eldest of the two Dudley daughters, until her death in 1968.  Remnants of the old farmhouse were still visible when the property was acquired by Blackwell Homes.


In 1972 Blackwell set aside an 8.6 acre site, in the heart of the housing development, because of its many specimen Valley and Live Oak trees.  The property was deeded to the City of San Jose in 1973 for use as a neighborhood park, specifically for the protection and preservation of the heritage trees.

The large parcel was later divided when Thousand Oaks Drive became a through street.  In 1985 a park design was created, focused on encouraging passive use, in order to maintain the delicate ecological conditions on which the oaks depend.  The scope of development was curtailed by budgetary constraints, leaving the western portion undeveloped until 2018, when the Thousand Oaks neighborhood united to fund its completion.

The Woodland Area of Thousand Oaks Park opened in the summer of 2018, finally completing the neighborhood park as originally intended, and ensuring the preservation of this unique natural resource for present and future generations.


Presentation on Thousand Oaks Park Tree Management Plan (presented at the 2019 October 16th general meeting) can be found here.

Photo above by L Rankin

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