Founding of San Jose to be Commemorated

240 Years of San Jose

El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe was founded on November 29, 1777 as the first civic settlement in Alta California. At the time, under Spanish rule, Alta California covered what is now California, Nevada and Utah as well as parts of Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. The pueblo was specifically established by order of the Spanish viceroy of Mexico to provide food and goods for the missions and presidios already in place. Sixty eight people were counted in the first census; nine soldiers, five pobladores, and one herdsman with their families.

The original site of the pueblo from November 1777 to 1791 was approximately between the Guadalupe Freeway, North First Street and West Taylor and Hobson Streets. It was moved south in 1791 to avoid flooding, centering around Market Street Plaza. Our fair city grew from this small pueblo (in 1835 the population consisted of approximately 700 people) to 900 people by 1845 due to overland migration. The gold rush of 1848 brought another boom in population before we settled into the Garden City of the Bay Area, know for agriculture and canning industries.

1866 San Jose

(1866 San José, view from Convent Notre Dame, Library of Congress) In 1860 San José had a population of 3,420.

1868 San Jose

(1868 San José, view from the dome of the Courthouse)

1906 San Jose

(1906 San José Panorama by George Lawrence - Library of Congress) In 1900 the population was 21,500.

1909 San Jose

(1909 San José Panorama - Library of Congress)

1928 San Jose

(1928 San José, by John C. Gordon - SJSU Special Collections) In 1920 the population had reached 39,642 and by 1930 was up to 57,651.

1940 san jose

(1940s San José, History San Jose) By 1940 Professor Frederick Terman was at Stanford University as part of the School of Engineering faculty. His investment in and encouragement of his students led directly to the formation of Silicon Valley.

1958 san jose

(1958 San José, from the roof of the old City Hall in Market Plaza, Planning Division) After World War II the city grew again expanding from 95,000 people in 1950 to 500,000 people in 1975.

1960 san jose

(1960s San José, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History)

Things to Do

Come celebrate our City’s 240th Birthday at the Peralta Adobe-Fallon House Historic Site with History San José. Join us for an open house at the Peralta Adobe, San José’s oldest address. Meet descendants of the founders of the Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe and of Luís Maria Peralta. Try your hand at bull roping, make a leather bracelet with saddle maker & blacksmith John Grafton, build your own corn husk doll, and more! Listen to the inspiring guitar music of Luís Moreno, take in performances from the Los Lupeños de San José dancers, and Cisco Jim – the Singing Cowboy. Then pop across the street for a family friendly tour of the historic Fallon House that includes birthday games in the parlor! And top it all off with a slice of birthday cake!

Learn More

Follow these links to learn more:

Read More

Read more about it at the Library:

Explore the California Room

Check out these items in the California Room:

  • When San Jose Was Young, Scrapbooks
  • Patricia Loomis, Signposts, Scrapbooks
  • Bicentennial Records of San Jose, Scrapbooks

SJMN Founding of San Jose to be Commemorated

San Jose Mercury, November 29, 1912
Founding of San Jose to be Commemorated Today; Pueblo Day will be Observed.



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