Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Veterans Day

“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.” – Abraham Lincoln

San Jose Birthday Celebration

Celebrate San Jose’s 236th Birthday at the Peralta Adobe Historic Site. Through hands-on activities and story telling you will learn about life in early San Jose.  The festivities include live music and dancing.

The Peralta Adobe is the oldest building in San Jose, built in 1797, and is named after Luis María Peralta.

Admission: Free. Activity tickets are $1.00 each or 6 tickets for $5.00.

Tours of the Peralta Adobe and Fallon House, November 24, 2013, at 12:30 pm; 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm.  Children’s tours (ages 3 – 8 years old) at 1:00 pm; 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm.

Tours: History San Jose Member are free. $8 per adult, $5 for seniors and students with a valid ID. Children five and under are free.

San Jose was founded on November 29, 1777, as El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe.

Peralta Adobe
175 W. St. John, San Jose

November 24, 2013
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

PAC*SJ presents impressive home tour

The Preservation Action Council of San Jose (PAC*SJ), put on an impressive home tour today, highlighting the work of San Jose’s own Prairie School architects, Frank Delos and Carl Wolfe.

Eight San Jose homes were shown, all by the firm of Wolfe & Wolfe, and all showcasing the Prairie Style pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright. The homes all featured the bold horizontal lines, geometrical details, and stained glass that are well-known features of Prairie Style design. They also shared features, like egg-and-dart moldings that seem to be special favorites of Wolfe & Wolfe.

Two homes were highlights of the tour. The Col House, in Hanchett Park, is a well-known architectural landmark, and has been featured in American Bungalow magazine, and is billed as “perhaps the most photographed house in San Jose”. The house presents a spectacular view from the street and was equally well-appointed within.

The Caputo House (pictured) is less well known, sitting among much more recent development south of Stevens Creek Boulevard in West San Jose, but equally spectacular. And homeowner Krista Van Laan, who also led the efforts to put on the tour, has decorated the house to celebrate its architectural heritage.

Overall the tour was fabulously well-run, with traffic moving smoothly through all the houses. Even with the tour locations spread widely across San Jose, my group had plenty of time to complete the tour, even with a lunch break. Many of the docents were able to present interesting background on the houses they were presenting. I was told that the entire ticket supply of 800 was sold, giving PAC*SJ a well-deserved revenue boost.

Congratulations to Krista Van Laan and PAC*SJ for presenting a great home tour. I’ll look forward to more PAC*SJ events in the future.

Happy 85th Birthday 7 ELEVEN

7-Eleven has more than 46,000 stores operating in 16 countries.

The company got its start in 1927 in Dallas Texas when Joe Thompson (an employee of Southland Ice Company) began selling milk, eggs and bread from an ice house.

To make a long story short the company was saved from bankruptcy in the 80s by a Japanese company.

The 7.11 oz. Slurpee drinks is FREE today July 11th – 11am to 7pm


PAC*SJ walking tours start in Alviso

The Preservation Action Council of San Jose (PAC*SJ) began a new series of walking tours of San Jose neighborhoods this morning in Alviso.

The Alviso tour, led by Sharon McCauley, highlighted the history of formerly-independent Alviso as the “gateway to San Jose” in the days before the railroad linked Santa Clara Valley communities with San Francisco and points beyond. Highlights included the South Bay Yacht Club (active since 1888) and the Bayside Canning Company, one of the areas first Chinese-American-owned businesses, and one of the largest canneries in the country in its time.

A real treat was a presentation by Claire Britton-Warren (pictured) on the disaster of the steamship Jenny Lind in 1853. A boiler explosion en route from San Francisco killed numerous passengers just as they prepared for dinner. Among the dead Charles White, namesake of today’s White Road, and Jacob Hoppe, an early newspaperman and promoter of Alviso and Santa Clara County.

Two more walking tours are planned. On Saturday, June 16, in the Historic Hensley District, near downtown; and on Saturday, June 23, in Japantown. The tours begin at 10 am and last 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Tickets are $15 per person, or $10 for PAC*SJ members, available from the PAC*SJ website.

Donut Nation is donut history

I just caught this video through a friend who’s a cousin of the director:

Director David Angel Rodriguez’s obsession with donuts showed itself earlier in his career when he one way or another inserted a donut into most of his paintings, photos, and other art projects. At one point he painted an entire gallery pink to transform it into a donut shop take-home box. Finally, he became such a donut expert that his friends convinced him to make this video. For many years, the only copy of the video was on a VHS tape in a random box, after he lost the original editing files during a move.

What I love most about the video is the footage from Lou’s Donuts, which was an institution on Santa Clara Street for many years (before my time in San Jose, though), until the landlord ignominiously bulldozed the building to build a Walgreen’s about 10 years ago. David got some of the footage from the owners of Lou’s, who used to show it in a back room devoted to World War II and donut memorabilia. Other footage was taken specially for the film at Lou’s, Krispy Kreme, and Queen’s Donuts, another local favorite.

Rodriguez is “between websites” at the moment, but is planning a new film project for the near future.

Magic Hour at Montalvo Arts Center

The Montalvo Villa. Photo by Ron Leckie

I was recently invited to a Smash Mouth Concert and Social Media Party at the beautiful Montalvo Arts Center (previously known as Villa Montalvo) in Saratoga. Also featuring Drake Bell and The Relay Company.

It was my first concert at Montalvo and what better way to experience the grounds and outdoor concert venue than with other Social Media Geeks, wine, cheese, and Psycho Donuts! If you haven’t tried Psycho Donuts, I highly recommend indulging in these creative treats. Locations in Campbell and Downtown San Jose.


I was having so much fun during the Social Media Party making new friends and taking pictures with Smash Mouth and the other performers before the concert that I forgot I was there FOR a concert. As soon as we walked out toward our seats I was blown away by the beauty around me. It was dusk so the sky was a bright, welcoming blue. Add live music, flashy pink and purple lights for the stage, and seats full of people having fun in an intimate setting, and I was experiencing the perfect magic hour.

Drake Bell wooing the audience. Photo by Kerry Smith

The concert was a blast! I got to hear The Relay Company and Drake Bell for the first time and I really enjoyed them. I got to relive my college years with Smash Mouth who were totally cool. When they were performing, kids from the audience got up on stage and sang and danced with the band. It was hilarious! Then, the lead singer, Steve Harwell, came and sang in the stands. He was right in front of us! So awesome!!

Towards the end of the concert I took a moment to look up at the beautiful night sky full of stars and saw the Little Dipper. I love being in the moment like that. Music, good company, beautiful surroundings; I was in heaven. Thanks Montalvo! And thanks to Nathan Zanon, Montalvo Arts’ Interactive Media Manager, and all the gracious volunteers for your wonderful hospitality.

Montalvo Arts Center has served the community for over 75 years as a center for creativity, offering art courses, performing arts events, gallery exhibitions, educational opportunities, artist residencies and more. Today, Montalvo and its arts programs serve nearly 200,000 visitors each year. Montalvo will be celebrating their Centennial next year when the Villa turns one hundred.

Upcoming Concerts:

Upcoming Events:

Montalvo Arts Center
15400 Montalvo Rd
Saratoga, CA 95071


Twitter @montalvoarts

“Like” Montalvo Arts on Facebook



Mount Umunhum on TV

Mt. Umunhum

Tonight (7/20/2011) at 7:30 PM (repeats 1:30 AM) KQED will present Mt. Umunhum Return to the Summit on QUEST.

Umunhum is Ohlone ~ meaning resting place of the hummingbird.

Or, watch it on line @ KQED.

Also showing Fri 7/22/2011 1:30 pm on KQED and Sat 7/23/2011 3:30 pm on KTEH.

Architect/writer/historian George Espinola dead at 49

I just read (thanks to @nReverse on Twitter) that local architectural historian (and architect) George Espinola has passed away recently. His obituary appeared in the Mercury today.

I only met George once, when he presented on the history of the Wolfe and McKenzie architecture firm at Naglee Park’s home tour this year. Nonetheless, I can say that San Jose is worse off without his dedicated work to highlight our architectural heritage.

Images of America: Silicon Valley

Images of America: Silicon Valley This recent (2009) addition to Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series covers a huge segment of local history, roughly from Victorian times to the present day. Like other books in the series, it presents local history through historical documentary photographs.

Author Sam Shueh emphasizes the transformation of the Valley of Heart’s Delight into Silicon Valley, showing the earliest introductions of technology and industry to the area. Coverage ranges from the founding of Stanford University and the Lick Observatory to the development of 40 Gigabyte per second optical transmitters at Intel. Several pages and more than a dozen really fantastic photos cover the days when Moffett Field was a US Navy airship base.

This is possibly the most ambitious of the Images of America books I’ve seen, both because of its broad scope and because of the substantial and informative captions provided for the photographs. Despite its breadth, the book mostly maintains its focus on the development of the region as a technology center with only a few odd digressions. One example being four pages and eight photos devoted to the development of one lot on the corner of Stevens Creek and De Anza Boulevards from a nondescript general merchandise and farm supply store to a nondescript bank office; it’s a sequence that could have been saved for another book focused on Cupertino history.

If there is one substantial defect in the book, it is that the editing is somewhere in the range between amateurish and abysmal, or possibly simply nonexistent. Despite the relatively small amount of text, typos, misstatements, and clumsy wordings average about one per page. While I’m glad to have the book and all its historical photos in any form, it would only have taken a couple of hours of editing to make a real improvement in the text presentation.

This is a fascinating book to read, and I recommend it to anyone interested in local history. But because of the shoddy editing its hard to say it would make a good gift.

Images of America: Silicon Valley is available from your local bookstore or directly from Arcadia Publishing.

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