Before California was deluged with an influx of dreamers and deceivers drawn to the state's gold-laced hills, a building just south of San Jose was the mining hub of the California Republic.
The New Almaden Mines attracted interest during the Gold Rush for its production of mercury, which was a key component to extracting gold and silver from raw earth.
Santa Clara County residents will now be able to explore a link to the county's past at the newly restored Casa Grande, the county's second-most historical building that is set to be dedicated at a special event Saturday.
The Casa Grande is associated with the early development of the mines, and is part of the surrounding New Almaden National Landmark Historic District.
The building, which in the 1800s was associated with the early development of the New Almaden mines, now houses the New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum.
A $5 million transformation at the 150-year-old Casa Grande, made possible by a mix of mostly state and county grants, has restored the building to its late 1800s heyday, according to county officials.
The classic revival-style mansion was designed and built by architect Francis Meyers in 1854 and its six-acre grounds were later landscaped with the assistance of John McLaren, designer of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
Street-level rooms are now filled with period furniture and the new Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum, while outdoor spaces feature gardens landscaped in the style of the times.
Of the mixture of local, county, state and federal funds, three grants from California State Parks contributed more than $4.1 million to the restoration, with another $727,000 funded by the county's Historical Heritage Commission.