Blogs: Local History

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
Thursday, July 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
Sunday, June 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
Wednesday, May 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
Tuesday, April 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
Saturday, March 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
Friday, February 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
Wednesday, January 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
Sunday, December 15, 2013 - 4:55 PM

Looking Back: Jack Graham - the Father of Sandlot Baseball of Santa Clara Valley

Photo courtesy of San Jose Evening News A foreman of the San Jose Mercury Herald Press Room for forty-one years (1893 – 1934), John (Jack) Martin Graham was one of the valley’s best known baseball…

Ralph Pearce
Friday, November 15, 2013 - 2:54 PM

Looking Back: San Jose Public Library Automation History

The San Jose Public Library has been at the forefront of library automation systems. Before the time of search boxes and digitized catalogue records, the library depended on a card catalogue,…

Ralph Pearce
Sunday, September 15, 2013 - 6:00 AM

Looking Back: San Jose’s Last Chinatown to Today's Japantown

Did you know that San Jose’s Japantown is one of only three remaining Japantown’s in the United States?  And San Jose’s Japantown is generally recognized as the most authentic in that it wasn’t…

Ralph Pearce
Sunday, September 1, 2013 - 5:21 PM

Looking Back: City Librarians of the San Jose Public Library

This month we are Looking Back at the San Jose Public Library's leadership throughout the years. Since the first library was founded in San Jose, numerous individuals have carried the responsibility…

Ralph Pearce
Thursday, August 15, 2013 - 6:00 AM