Where is Carmen Road and Hoo-Hoo

The Carmen Road Bridge project begs the big question: Where is it?  And why a bridge there?  You’ll see in the following descriptions, that Carmen Road has been in existence for over 100 years.  Before the 1970’s it connected across the (small) Stevens Creek Road, which had steep hills. In the 1970’s, it was bisected to reduce the slope of the new Stevens Creek Boulevard. That action split the historic Scenic and Inspiration Heights neighborhoods as it is today, and made Carmen Road end in two dead ends at Stevens Creek. Walk-Bike Cupertino talked to longtime residents Harlan Jackson, Carol Stanek and Helene Davis who gave us more information on the history of this road and area. We thank them for their generous help!

Connecting Hoo Hoo to Stevens Creek Road

Though Carmen Road is currently a disjointed, unconnected road in two pieces, historically, it was the road that connected the Hoo Hoo House from Stevens Creek Blvd. The Hoo Hoo House was a huge log building built for the 1915 Panama Pacific International Expo in Seattle by International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo. (“Hoo Hoo” was synonymous with the term lumberman in the 1890’s). After the Expo closed after just nine months, the building was purchased, dismantled and rebuilt off Carmen Road and used as a dance hall–basically, a party house–by George Hensley while he developed the lots in the Monta Vista area.

The Hoo Hoo House at the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exhibition (above) and the order’s logo (below)

Why is it called “Carmen” Road? What is “Hoo Hoo Hill”?

Carmen Road was built to bring in the big log pieces of the massive Hoo Hoo House building. It was brought down the peninsula by barge and then by rail car. The workers who would have done this are called “carmen”–the thought is that the new road was named after these workers. Carmen Road begins at Cupertino Road today. Before the new Stevens Creek Boulevard was built in the 1970’s Cupertino Road was Stevens Creek Road, and followed a different path. The short, very steep part of Stevens Creek Road on the east side was called “Hoo Hoo Hill”, and it was said that it was a common test for new cars that they could drive up it.

Another Clue

The shorter, north side of the street had the biggest clue for years that it was named after these workers.  The street sign read ‘Carman’, which was clearly not a typo but rather the sense of humor of someone who lived there back in the 1950’s or 1960’s and still knew the real story.

Does knowing this give us an historical reason to ‘reunite’ Carmen?

Harlan Jackson thinks so, “especially given that the look of the proposed bridge sort of has a railroad look to it.” What do you think about this little bit of Cupertino history?


For a more detailed description about the Hoo Hoo House, the Exposition and more written by Cupertino Historian, Gail-Fretwell Hugger, see this article published in the 2015 Cupertino Scene.