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Frenchman's Hill Traditional Geocache

This cache has been archived.

Moon Lady's Elder Sister: This cache has served well, but most of the locals have found it, and it's time to archive it. Thanks for the fun.

Hidden : 04/03/2008
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size:   regular (regular)

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Geocache Description:

This is an urban cache in a residential cul-de-sac. It is near a paved path, and only requires sharp eyesight.

Welcome to Frenchman's Hill.

This neighborhood is named for a mysterious Frenchman who went by the name Peter Coutts. In 1874, he purchased 1400 acres near the town of Mayfield, Santa Clara County, California, and developed Ayrshire Farm, a model farm which included houses, barns, an irrigation system, and even a wine cellar. The farm was bounded roughly by present-day El Camino Real, Stanford Avenue, Page Mill Road, and nearly to Interstate 280. In 1880, Coutts disappeared and in 1882, Ayrshire Farm was sold to Leland Stanford who added the property to his Palo Alto stock farm. In 1885, Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, established Stanford University at the Stock Farm, in memory of their only child, Leland, Jr., who had died the previous year. The town of Mayfield was eventually annexed to the town of Palo Alto and was centered at the present California Avenue shopping district.

(PS. I've since learned that Peter Coutts came to California as a political refugee. When the political situation in France changed, he returned to his native country.)

The area now called Frenchman's Hill remained fallow for many years; still part of Stanford land, a grassy, treeless hillside. The hill itself is now called Kite Hill and is located north of the Peter Coutts condo complex on Peter Coutts Road. In 1969 the area was developed for faculty housing.The houses and trees surrounding this geocache are now more than 40 years old. Not much remains of Ayrshire Farm. But if you visit the geocache at Pete's Castle, GCKAWN, you will see a brick tower erected by Peter Coutts. Many theories have been proposed about the original purpose of the tower, but it was probably a water tower, from which water flowed downhill to Ayrshire Farm.

In the gallery is a drawing of Ayrshire Farm, from 1876, the Frenchman's Hill geocache is probably located in the far upper left corner, beyond the hill.

The Frenchman's Hill geocache is located on the edge of private property, with the permission of the home-owner. You can find it simply by looking very carefully. No digging is required and the cache, contained in a quart mayonnaise jar, is located within a few feet of the paved path.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)


Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)