Almaden Valley is a neighborhood of about 37,000 in the southwestern portion of San Jose in Santa Clara County. The area lies in what is still considered to be the San Francisco Bay area, just south of that city. It also lies in San Jose, often considered to be the heart of Silicon Valley, the high-tech superhub that stretches along the coast and is home to a number of tech firms. The community lies just southeast of the town of Los Gatos, west of San Jose's Santa Teresa neighborhood and south San Jose's Blossom Hill neighborhood.
Almaden Valley was named for the New Almaden Quicksilver Mines, which in turn were named after mines in Almaden, Spain. The mines in the area were active throughout the early part of the 20th century during the famous Gold Rush and produced mercury that was used to process gold. The mines have since been closed and were transformed into Almaden Quicksilver County Park. Though the mines are no longer in operation, the area still has high mercury content and it is not recommended to eat seafood from the water.
The community is situated among an area of hills and the Santa Cruz Mountains. Mount Umunhum is just to the west. As its part of Silicon Valley, Almaden Valley is home to the IBM Almaden Research Center. Almaden Valley homes tend to be in the above--average range, and Almaden Valley real estate is affected by its status as being within San Jose -- the city that had the highest home price increases over a 25-year period beginning in 1976, of nearly 1,000%. Children who live in Almaden Valley are assigned to the large San José Unified School District, though there are also many private schools in the area that provide parents alternatives should they choose to forego public schooling, including Almaden Country School and Challenger School in this community. The public school system operates five elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools within Almaden Valley.
There are many colleges and universities in the area, from large, Ivy league institutions to smaller community colleges and four-year state colleges. Some of the higher education institutions near here include the University of California, Berkeley; the University of California, Santa Cruz; San José State University; San Francisco State University; California State University, East Bay; Santa Clara University and Stanford University. Attractions within the Almaden Valley community include Lake Almaden, the Calero Dam and Reservoir, the Almaden Valley Athletic Club and the Almaden Valley Swim and Racquet Club. Attractions further out in other areas of San Jose include the Opera San José, the Symphony Silicon Valley, the Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, the Children's Musical Theater of San Jose, the San Jose Repertory Theatre and the San Jose Museum of Art.
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