Junk History: Rediscovering San Jose’s 20th Century Businesses

A green crate filled with matchbooks and tokens

Discover the Past with Curated "Junk"

The Junk History exhibit in the California Room proves that one person's "junk" can be another person's treasure.

Curated by Hope Berschler, a library volunteer and longtime collector of "junk", this exhibit highlights six San Jose businesses from the 20th century, and includes such items as matchbooks, postcards, and advertisements that provide a window into the city's past.

Artifacts from 6 Local Businesses

Featured businesses include the following:

  • 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant
  • Bianchi's Department Store
  • California Paste Company
  • Futurama Bowl
  • Monarch Match Company
  • San Remo's Happiness House

The exhibit offers insight into these businesses and related topics, including mid-century Googie architecture, the rise and fall of the United States match industry, and a famous WWI fighter unit.

Assorted ephemera against a black background, corresponding to the businesses described.

Exhibit Available Through May 16, 2023

Visit the Junk History exhibit in the California Room at the King Library, on display through May 16, 2023.

And take a closer look what’s in your junk drawer– you never know what treasures you'll uncover!

Blog Category
Local History


Submitted by Connie Frostenson on Thu, 02/23/2023 - 5:32 PM


Your Comment
What a wonderful exhibit. These vintage treasures are part of who we are today and part of our history. Looking forward to seeing and hearing more as Hope Burchler has saved these amazing items and many, many more in her well organized gallery.

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