Robin Chapman/Special to the Town Crier
This Mission Bell Marker, nestled beneath a redwood, can be spotted when driving south on El Camino Real at El Monte Avenue in Mountain View.
Longtime Santa Clara Valley resident John Kolstad is a man on a mission. He has spent the past 19 years working to preserve the familiar Mission Bell Markers that have graced California’s historical El Camino Real for the last century.
The original ones were designed by Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes in the early 20th century, to mark the 700-mile route traveled by the first Spanish-speaking immigrants to California. The poles recall the shape of the shepherd’s crooks used by some of the wayfarers, with each pole topped by an 85-pound cast-iron bell – evocative of the California missions.