Full of history and politics
Santa Clara County
Circa 1860 to a Political
The town of Coyote was
established on a popular route known by the Mexicans who traveled it as El
Camino Real. This route linked Mission San Juan Bautista with Missions to the
north. Originally named Burnett, the town developed around a Post Office housed
in a stage stop and drinking saloon known as 12 mile house. Founded in 1860,
the post office was once considered the oldest functioning post office in Santa
Clara County. In 1882 the residents
changed the name from Burnett to Coyote, probably due to the large population
of coyotes in the valley. As the population grew, so did the ranches and farms
that produced fruits, vegetables and walnuts. The Southern Pacific Rail Road
added a stop in town that enabled growers to ship their crops out to market. A
lumber company followed, taking advantage of the rail stop and constructing a
lumber mill near the tracks. The town of Coyote was bustling strong and
standing tall. After the automobile was introduced, the residents of Coyote
took advantage of their locale and built additional roadside dinners, stores,
hotels and attractions that catered to the traveler.
Coyote became somewhat of an
Oasis on the long road between Hollister and San Jose,and remained popular to
travelers for decades. As the 1970's arrived, the roadway through town which
was still the only way to travel in to or out of the city of San Jose from the
South, became known as "Blood Alley". Traffic accidents resulting in
fatalities were on the increase because of high speed travel in either
direction on this long flat stretch of roadway through the town. Yet Coyote
continued to draw travelers off the highway and in to its roadside businesses. Then
in 1983, Coyote suffered it's tragic blow as Highway 101 was completed and
bypassed the town entirely. Travelers opted for the much faster 6 lane super
highway. Slowly but surely the roadside businesses disappeared. Although the
town survives mostly as residences for those who wish to live in the suburbs,
scars of its former self are scattered throughout the valley. Mere skeletons
of abandoned roadside businesses, Victorian ranch houses and old railroad
As the town was suffering the
effects of oblivion, the city of San Jose was busy purchasing up land from the struggling
ranches and land owners with a plan of developing it to compete with
neighboring cities to attract the ever growing technology industry. The plan
was met with heavy opposition by historians, locals and environmentalist alike.
Residents were split and sided against one another in their decisions to keep
Coyote in its natural state, versus economic revitalization.
As the 1990's came to a
close, and the fall of the dot com and computer chip industry failed to
rebound, all plans were postponed. Now the land sits dormant and city officials
eagerly await an economic recovery. Today's visitors in Coyote consist of
fisherman stopping at the remaining gas station for bait, or a chopper ridding
biker visiting the tattoo parlor or pulling off for a drink at the old saloon.
Water Tower Remaining in Coyote.
Lumber Mill Building.
Original Railroad Spur Buildings.
Old Railroad Switching Station.
Old Grange Hall Building and Post Office.
One of many old roadside stops that were popular in the town.
Coyote contains tons of old victorian homes, most hidden along private dirt access roads.