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Infiltration Forums > Archived US: Pacific Southwest > Abandoned Moody Gulch Oil Field south of Los Gatos on Highway 17 (Viewed 1147 times)
Greenandsilver95 






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Abandoned Moody Gulch Oil Field south of Los Gatos on Highway 17
< on 2/21/2007 6:08 AM >
Posted on Forum: Infiltration Forums
 
Hey guys, I had been doing some research in recent times about Oil Fields in the Santa Clara valley area and came upon the Moody Gulch field which is an abandoned field south of Los Gatos a little bit south of the Lexington Reservoir that crosses over Highway 17 at the Moody Gulch curve. From research online, I have never found any pictures and my only guidposts were what I could speculate were the locations of abandoned roads along 17 as well as Google Earth and a California Department of Oil and Gas resources map I found. My friend and I went exploring in the hopes of finding remnants. We parked at a little dirt patch along 17 and struck out. At first, all we came about was a cement pad right near the highway, which appeared to be possibly a oil well. We followed what appear to be a long abandoned dirt road or two but found little since it must have been at least 30 years since the road had been driven on and no signs of people hiking existed either. after running dry of obvious searching paths pretty early, we struck out up the gulch through thick and thin brush and some steep terrain. Suddenly we came upon some more abandoned roads that seemed to have no source (later turns out that they end up at a cliff at the bottom of which is 17 and in retrospect I believe these roads to have been abandoned since the building of 17 in the 30s or 40s.) At first, the only signs of an oil field were an occasional small piece of piping and a scrap of metal here or there, and then two rusted out cars that looked pre 1940. Finally we came upon a spot that definately was an oil well. The picture is below. It is a iron shaft with a huge iron wheel, and there is the base of an oil well that has been sealed. Shortly thereafter we came upon two large tanks that look to be old oil tanks - you can tell from the black residue on them as well as the fact that they are metal where as most water tanks of the time were likely to have been built of wood.
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The abandoned car.

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One of the oil tanks (it looks tiny in the picture but was over 10 feet tall.)

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This is a horizontal oil separator. The fluids/gas pumped from a well is pumped directly into this. Immediately the water/oil and gas separate through a series of bevels and are then pumped to the equipment.


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An oil well base.


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The Iron wheel on the shaft - was about three feet wide.


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Map of the area we explored. The Red line circles the area we explored - there is likely a large area around that to the West and South that we have yet to explore. Note that the nearby road is called "Old Well Road"

seany 


location:
Santa Clara, California, USA
Gender: Male




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Re: Abandoned Moody Gulch Oil Field south of Los Gatos on Highway 17
<Reply # 1 on 2/22/2007 12:45 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
this is a GREAT find. not supper interesting picture wise, but historically speaking it's very intriguing. Were there any signs on rail stuff there? how did they get the oil off site?

Greenandsilver95 






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Re: Abandoned Moody Gulch Oil Field south of Los Gatos on Highway 17
<Reply # 2 on 2/22/2007 6:17 AM >
Posted on Forum: Infiltration Forums
 
Well, for starters - if you look for Moody Gulch on the internet, mostly all you find is like a historical fact or two regarding how it produced between 10 and 100 (heh pretty vague huh) barrels a day for a short period and then dropped quickly. Looks like the field was found after traces of petroleum appeared in creeks in the area in the late 1800s or early 1900s. I located the field thanks to a california department of oil and gas resources map on their website that shows oil wells drilled in the greater SF bay area, as well as Google earth of course to find the actual moody gulch. I superimposed the map and wallah. Anyways, I had trouble finding out how they transported the oil. One site mentioned a pipeline though that seems rather unlikely given the distance to refineries, the small amount of production and the remoteness at the time of the field. There weren't signs of rail though there had been tracks through the canyon at the time going from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz so that is definately a possibility. After hiking the long abandoned roads - it really makes you admire their determination and skill considering the technology at the time to get all the way up there - some are pretty steep and treaturous. As far as I know, I haven't found any information nor much evidence of anyone having been up there for a long period of time, though there are remnants of garbage and it's likely that for a decade or two after production ceased that people used it as a small dumping sign hence the cars as well as a few pieces of junk that date to the last fifty or so years. I hope to make it up there again to take more pictures, find more wells and possibly map the area a little better. We only found serious evidence of up to three actual wells, while the oil well map of the region shows around ten wells.

Greenandsilver95 






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Re: Abandoned Moody Gulch Oil Field south of Los Gatos on Highway 17
<Reply # 3 on 2/22/2007 6:26 AM >
Posted on Forum: Infiltration Forums
 
"David B. Moody was born in Indiana in 1836. As a boy, he crossed the plains, in the first wagon train through the Tejon Pass. With his brothers he engaged in flour milling with headquarters in San Jose. He was also part owner in the Caldwell Oil Srtike in 1872, above Los Gatos, still known as Moody Gulch, or to CHP as Moody Curve. The oil was of "Pennsylvania" quality and was piped to the now extinct town of Alma, then shipped by rail to Alameda. The strike dwindled out in 1922. Moody was also President of San Jose Woolen Mills and a promoter of The Vendome Hotel, both long gone."

Well that sheds some light. Alma is one of the two towns (the other being Lexington) underneath what is now Lexington Reservoir south of Los Gatos.

JeepXJ 


location:
San Jose, CA
Gender: Male




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Re: Abandoned Moody Gulch Oil Field south of Los Gatos on Highway 17
<Reply # 4 on 2/22/2007 9:16 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Great find!! I knew that they dug oil in this area, I just never knew that there was a field located there! Let me know if you want someone else to go out with you, cuz I'm literally just down the road from there!

I don't know if anybody is into geocaching here, but if you want, there's some oil field remnants in Los Gatos too. Really a cool find, I need to go back and take pics. Link: http://www.geocach...-aec8-57a36f3f4e31

06:01:50] <Chris> i mean im retarded and im not that awkward

"You mean over saturated photos and macro shots of pealing paint isn’t historically relevant?" -TDK1000 [00:12:02] <yota94> he just called us bitches [00:12:04] *** JeepXJ has joined #general [00:12:15] <JeepXJ> you guys are bitches! [00:12:16] *** JeepXJ has quit AvChat (connection closed by user) [00:12:23] <Deuterium> that w
bugazon 


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Pennisula, SF Bay Area
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Re: Abandoned Moody Gulch Oil Field south of Los Gatos on Highway 17
<Reply # 5 on 2/25/2007 5:59 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Wow great find. I do find that to be a great find. Good job!

"I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it."
RailGuy88 


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Where you're not...
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Re: Abandoned Moody Gulch Oil Field south of Los Gatos on Highway 17
<Reply # 6 on 2/25/2007 11:38 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Hey XJ, any idea where on that road in Los Gatos the old pump may be? I tried to look at the hybrid map on Google, but can only guess three places.

I'm gonna head that direction on Monday and then head over to the Mines later.

-Ryan

Going where others can't...
Garg 


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San Diego CA




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Re: Abandoned Moody Gulch Oil Field south of Los Gatos on Highway 17
<Reply # 7 on 2/26/2007 6:58 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Wow, awesome find.

I love that first picture of that old car.


Looks almost like an old Bel Air....

Volvo for life...
450slc 


location:
Salinas, CA
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Re: Abandoned Moody Gulch Oil Field south of Los Gatos on Highway 17
<Reply # 8 on 3/6/2007 8:49 AM >
Posted on Forum: Infiltration Forums
 
Great find. Just shows what some researce can come up with. If you are interested, there are 2 old copper mines on the other side of Lexington, just east of the oil wells. I met the old man who owned them in the 60's, (was a friend of a friend of my Father's). The property was private, but surrounded by San Jose Water Works property. San Jose State Geology Dept. had information on them when I was a student there, (65-70).
Another site would be an old spring bottling place. If you would like to find that one, best information I could give with out being there, would be: Take Hwy 9 out of Saratoga, go toward Big basin as far as Pierce Road. Park on a safe place on Hwy 9. Cross Saratoga Creek, and follow the canyon, that feeds into Saratoga Creek up until it splits. There were some old broken earthenware bottles, (about 750ml size), on the surface, and some metal. I found this site by going down into the canyon from the top of Bohlman Road, and ending up on Hwy 9. Don't try this way , it's easier to go up from Hwy 9, memory serves me as being under 2 miles, but that was down hill, and you would be going up hill. So, by the way I got there if there is a question of which fork to take when going up the side creek, take the left fork.

big dave 


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Re: Abandoned Moody Gulch Oil Field south of Los Gatos on Highway 17
<Reply # 9 on 3/6/2007 8:26 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by Garg
Looks almost like an old Bel Air....


It doesnt look anywhere near a Bel Air, not even close.

An armed society, is a polite society. So lets get to it!
Greenandsilver95 






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Re: Abandoned Moody Gulch Oil Field south of Los Gatos on Highway 17
<Reply # 10 on 3/11/2007 5:32 AM >
Posted on Forum: Infiltration Forums
 
Oh yeah the existing oil pump is on Los Gatos Boulevard (surprsingly) in between the Rotten Roby and the Mc Donalds near Garden Lane. If you are going south from highway 17 on Los Gatos Boulevard - after you pass Lark Ave, on your right you will then see an office building, then the water company reservoir which looks like a bunch of ivy fences, next is Garden Lane, then Rotten Robby, then a tiny shopping center with Marcs Locks in it, and the next place is an office building with some retail in it, and to go to it's parking lot, you must drive through the building which has a driveway through it. Drive through that building and to your right in the parking lot are some Redwood trees undneath which is a big metal cage and sure enough - an oil pump. The pump was built in the 30s or early 40s and pumped something like 8 barrels a day in the early 1950s. I have no idea why they left it there - maybe there are some legal issues with officially abandoning it. I think that pump has something in common with the Moody Gulch production btw. Oh Jeep, btw yeah that would be cool. We really just scratched the surface there - there were supposed to be a lot more wells up there than what we found.

Greenandsilver95 






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Re: Abandoned Moody Gulch Oil Field south of Los Gatos on Highway 17
<Reply # 11 on 9/4/2007 7:41 AM >
Posted on Forum: Infiltration Forums
 
Anyone interested in heading up to the Moody Gulch field? I havent gone exploring or hiking in a while and I want to do a more thorough hike through the oil field again. I've only been once and know of nobody else who has ever been there. If you are interested, IM me at V8302stangs on aim.

Infiltration Forums > Archived US: Pacific Southwest > Abandoned Moody Gulch Oil Field south of Los Gatos on Highway 17 (Viewed 1147 times)

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