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). After saving for many years, Seijiro and Fudetaro Horio began buying nearby properties until they had a swath of land that ran from Foxworthy Road to Koch Lane on the east side of Cherry Avenue. This was prior to the restrictive California Alien Land Law of 1913 which prohibited "aliens ineligible for citizenship" from owning agricultural land or possessing long-term leases. This law was primarily directed at Japanese.
The Horio brothers primarily grew prunes, but they also produced walnuts and strawberries. The original farmhouse and a newer farmhouse (c.1950) both stood on a parcel of property that is now known as Foxstone Court. During World War II when Japanese Americans were removed from the west coast, the Von Dorsten and Rubino families watched over the Horio property until their return. Later owning properties in Coyote Valley as well, the Horios eventually moved to the Evergreen area to operate a mushroom farm. Seijiro and Fudetaro both lived into the late 1950s, and Fudetaro’s son Ralph still lives in the old Evergreen ranch house.
Top photo shows Fudetaro and Seijiro on Foxworthy Road in 1908. Bottom photo shows Fedetaro's son Shigeo gathering strawberries on Koch Lane in the late 1930s. Both photos courtesy of Ralph Horio.
Explore more in the San Jose Public Library's California Room:
- The Last of the Prune Pickers, by Tim Stanley
- California Apricots: the Lost Orchards of Silicon Valley, by Robin Chapman
- Japanese Legacy, by Lukes and Okihiro
- California Room Clipping Files
- California Room aerial photographs for 1931, 1948, 1960, 1968, and 1981