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Blogs: Local History

Looking Back: Will Japantown's Nishioka Building Survive?

I lived in San Jose Japantown back in the 1980s. I used to enjoy jogging around the area in the evening, and one of the places I used to jog past was the Nishioka Fish Market on Sixth Street near…

Ralph Pearce
11/15/2014 - 6:45 PM

Looking Back: Riding Out the Loma Prieta Quake at the Old Main Library

I remember sitting with my mother in the kitchen of our little house in Willow Glen, watching the kitchen cart roll from one side of the room to the other.  We were both rather amazed, though we…

Ralph Pearce
10/18/2014 - 6:19 PM

Looking Back: Almaden Road: On the Trail of Indians, Stagecoaches, and Confederate Raiders

Map: An 1887 California Room map showing Almaden Road between Malone and Curtner. King Library California Room “A road pounded out by the bare feet of Indians before the white man came still…

Ralph Pearce
09/16/2014 - 5:28 PM

Looking Back: The Errant Tombstone of Louis Pellier

Louis Pellier, "The Prune King" Photo courtesy of History San Jose One August day in 2011, a fellow named Tim Peddy came into the California Room to look at some aerial photos.  I noticed that one…

Ralph Pearce
08/16/2014 - 11:51 AM

Looking Back: El Rancho Drive-In Theater on Almaden and Alma

Of the various San Jose landmarks of the 1960s and 1970s, one of the most impressive to me was the huge mural that stood on the corner of Almaden Avenue and Alma Avenue.  How many times I looked…

Ralph Pearce
07/17/2014 - 11:49 AM

Looking Back: Growing Prunes, Walnuts, and Strawberries on Willow Glen’s Foxworthy Road

In 1895, two brothers immigrated to the United States from Japan and wound up working for the Von Dorsten family on Foxworthy Road in the Willow Glen area of San Jose (now known as Foxworthy Avenue…

Ralph Pearce
06/15/2014 - 3:41 PM

Looking Back: San Jose Japantown's Oldest Building, a Chinatown Survivor

Built about the same time as Heinlenville Chinatown, the one-story brick building on the northwest corner of Sixth and Jackson Streets was first home to Chinese tenants.  By 1901, the first Japanese…

Ralph Pearce
05/14/2014 - 4:09 PM

Looking Back: Mount Umunhum and the Almaden Air Force Station

Image:  View of the old radar tower atop Mt. Umunhum. Photo ©Ralph M. Pearce   Living in the Santa Clara Valley in the 1960s and 1970s, a familiar sight was the radar tower with its spinning…

Ralph Pearce
04/15/2014 - 3:47 PM

Looking Back: Clyde Arbuckle, San Jose's First City Historian

I remember standing outside of La Villa Delicatessen on Lincoln Avenue about 1977 or so, when out walks a mustachioed fellow in a kind of khaki uniform with a broad-brimmed, circular hat like a park…

Ralph Pearce
03/15/2014 - 5:01 PM

Looking Back: Troy Laundry Company Building on Almaden Avenue

Photo courtesy of Edith C. Smith Collection/Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History, San Jose State University As a teenager in the 1970s, I remember going with my dad one time to pick up his…

Ralph Pearce
02/14/2014 - 6:11 PM

Looking Back: The Mission Bells Along the El Camino Real

Photo: El Camino Real marker along The Alameda in San Jose Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, I was curious about the green bell poles that you occasionally see alongside our roadways.  I got to…

Ralph Pearce
01/15/2014 - 3:20 PM

Looking Back: One Hundred Years of Schurra’s Candy

Schurra's in the 1930s.  Photo courtesy of Schurra's Fine Confections Back in the 1980s (not so long ago), I had a girlfriend who lived on Sunol Street.  One end of the street meets The Alameda,…

Ralph Pearce
12/15/2013 - 4:55 PM