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Park Names - More Information

Here is more information about how some Santa Clara City parks (Agnew, Bracher, Bowers and Montague) got their names. Local History Librarian Mary Hanel continues here with information on four more park namesakes. 

Earl R. Carmichael Park: In 1994 what had been known as Homestead Park was re-named and dedicated in honor of Earl Carmichael who served as director of the Santa Clara City Parks & Recreation Department for 40 years. During Mr. Carmichael's tenure, 31 municipal parks were developed as well as a multitude of major facilities and recreation programs including the International Swim Center, the Community Recreation Center, the Senior Center and the annual Santa Clara Art & Wine Festival. 

Everett Alvarez Jr. Park: In 1973 what had been known as Westwood Park was re-named and dedicated in honor of Lt. Commander Everett Alvarez, Jr. who was returning home after being held as a prisoner of war for eight years in North Vietnam. Alvarez was the longest-held prisoner of the Vietnam War and longest-held flier of the war. The Santa Clara City Library collection includes two books written by Alvarez regarding his P.O.W. experience. One is titled "Chained Eagle" and the other one is called "Code of Conduct." A third book about his life, "Everett Alvarez, Jr.: a Hero for Our Times," is in the children's collection of the library. 

Henry Schmidt Park: In 1977 this park was dedicated in honor of Henry Schmidt who served for decades as an athletic trainer for several Santa Clara University Bronco teams. He was also, at various times, a trainer for the East-West Shrine Bowl football classic, the San Francisco 49ers, the Los Angeles Rams, and during World War II for the St. Mary's Pre-Flight team. He was a founder of the Pacific Coast Trainers Association and a member of six halls of fame, including that of the National Trainers Association. He was the only athletic trainer in the history of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) to serve for 50 years at one university. 

Jenny Strand Park: In 1987 this park was dedicated in honor of an extraordinary 13-year-old teenager, killed in a car accident in August 1986. She had attended Hyde Junior High School, was a straight A student, participated in 4-H, softball, the Police Activities League and was a volunteer babysitter at the Library. She had grown up in the Westwood Oaks neighborhood that is near the site of the park. The park itself was built on the site of the former Warren Elementary School.

Contact Mary Hanel at (408) 615-2909 or by email if you have any other stories to share about the naming of schools, streets or parks in Santa Clara. In particular, the City Library would like to obtain more detailed information about the history and construction of Washington Ball Park as a Federal WPA project.
Last updated: 11/16/2009 4:48:40 PM