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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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.