Juana BRIONES Park
Location: Clemo Avenue, between Arastradero Road and Maybell Avenue
Description: 4.1 acre neighborhood park with generous open space, shade trees, picnicking and play areas
Amenities: two children’s playgrounds (with “train station” and climbing rock), basketball court, picnic tables, benches, footpath, restroom
History note: Juana Briones was a single parent, a property owner, a business woman, and a kindhearted soul. She was born in 1802 in present-day Santa Cruz. At the age of 18, Juana married Apolinario Miranda, a soldier from the Presidio. It was not a good marriage, and Juana petitioned the bishop for a separation. She and her 8 children moved to a rancho (in today’s North Beach) where she had a small vegetable farm and raised some cattle. She was knowledgeable about medicinal herbs and used this knowledge to help the sick. She also helped the needy. Wanting more land for her growing cattle business, Juana bought the 4400-acre Rancho la Purisima Concepcion from two Mission Indians and moved down the peninsula. Here she lived and worked until her latter years when she moved to Mayfield to be near her daughter. Her house, an example of earthen material encased in a wooden frame, has had numerous changes over the years, but it still stands on Old Adobe Road. Juana Briones died in Mayfield in 1889. The park was originally named Arastradero Road Park. The name was changed to honor Juana Briones in 1967.
Of special interest: On the Maybell side of the park next to the play area is a 4-foot cross section of an oak tree that once shaded the playground. Rings are keyed to dates in Juana Briones’ life and in California history.
This park land used to be an apricot orchard. In 2005 during a park renovation project, a number of apricot trees were planted to honor this heritage.