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Locating St. Joseph's Seminary Using Map Overlays
by Chuck Smith, R'60

During the time that we were making plans for the monument stone and plaque, our Alumni Board made some visits to the site of our former school. One site under consideration was a small park which was in the housing development that was built upon the seminary grounds. Although this park sits on our visiting Sunday lawn, it is not accessible enough to be appropriate for the monument to our school.

While standing in this park and looking at the tract of homes across the street, it was hard to imagine that we were looking toward the entrance steps to the seminary that is no longer there. At that moment I decided to try to determine the location of the seminary in the context of today's housing neighborhood.

Sem-Grounds-Map Two pieces of paper provided some intriguing clues, and these were faxed to me by Walt Harington, R'51. First a map of the seminary grounds; it was given a county parcel number of APN 342-5-63. An internet search on this APN went nowhere. This map was not a great (or a polished) drawing but it did show the layout of the buildings. More importantly, it contained a pair of landmarks along Permanente Creek that were crucial for my research.
Click here to see the printable page of this Seminary grounds map.

Site House Plan The second piece of paper was the site development plan for the housing project that was built on top of our school's site. This page showed the street layout and the various parcel numbers for the "Oak Valley Units 4 and 5." It did not show any home addresses but it did contain owners' name for the parcels that had already been sold. It also showed the path to our grotto, leaving from somebody's backyard. More importantly, for my research, it showed the exact same two corresponding landmarks along Permanente Creek. Now I was in business.
Click here to see a printable page of the housing site development plan.

So my investigation now became a technical problem, and I stood to learn a lot here. I needed to overlay these two maps and match them together. A product named Corel Draw and Corel PhotoPaint was able to do this for me; and all I had to do was figure out just how to make it happen. I am still surprised by the results. Maps-Superimposed After using Corel to make the site development plan transparent, I superimposed it on top of the seminary building layout (that parcel plan). I then rotated and resized the transparent overlay until my important landmarks along the Permanente Creek matched (lined up). Knowing then that I had the right orientation and size, I locked them together. Bingo! Click here to see this printable page with the two maps overlaid.

For my final piece of research I re-visited the housing area and wrote many of the home addresses down on the parcel map so that I could identify the various important seminary landmarks, with respect to their location. I placed these "landmark" notes on my final printable page. Click to see the map overlay page with some detailed annotations.

I have two additional pictures to share with you (here below).

The park- SJC Front Lawn

This is a picture of the small park in the Oak Valley housing development. This park is on our visiting Sunday front lawn. We can see the same tall trees that once graced our Sunday visits with our families.

SJC Front Steps and Entry

Here is a view towards the front steps and entryway to St. Joseph's College and Seminary. The curbside mailbox is situated right at the stairs that led up into the Seminary entrance.