Los Gatos is a great place to live, but the early explorers must have been truly thrilled when oil was discovered at Moody Gulch and later in areas that are now part of the Town of Los Gatos. A few years ago, my Live in Los Gatos blog covered the topic of the old oil pump that can be seen in a parking lot on Los Gatos Boulevard.  My better half  became intrigued by this topic, did some research and is providing a guest blog here, this time on the Belwood connection to oil. (Jim’s previous contribution was April 22nd, when he posted on Harwood Road being a meridian.)

Oil in Belwood? Guest post by Jim Handy, originally published on Live in Los Gatos

It may come as a surprise to most of us that there was oil drilling as far north as Los Gatos.  After all, that’s a southern California phenomenon, isn’t it?

Well, the truth is that there were ten oil wells in the Los Gatos area around the turn of the last century, and one of them was right here in the Belwood neighborhood.

Corrected old LG map with oil well - Oil in Belwood of Los Gatos

Old Los Gatos map showing location of oil well in Belwood neighborhood

 

A USGS map found in 2000 shows that there was an “old oil well” near the intersection of Harwood and Belridge*.  This map was drawn about 100 years ago, and there was oil exploration here as early as the 1860s, so there’s no telling when it was drilled.  In those days citizens weren’t as circumspect about telling the state what they were up to as they are today.
I’ve looked around that intersection, and have found no trace of the well, but by the time these homes were built it may have been long gone, along with any traces of its existence.

Los Gatos was not much of an oil producer.  There is no evidence of any commercial activity except in the Moody Gulch area on the other side of the summit.  The USGS says that most wells on this side of the hill were used privately.  Still it’s interesting to think that a little part of this history happened right here in Belwood!
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* Note on the map: This map shows railroad lines and trolly car lines that don’t now exist, roads with different names then the ones we know today and major thoroughfares like Blossom Hill Road entirely missing. I have taken the liberty to add a few notes to clarify the spot. Many of the numbers on the map (13, 14, 18) indicate townships and some of the straight black lines are the limits of the township and not streets. Also, the squiggly line running through most of the image is the base of Blossom Hill – the hill for which the major road was named.