Valley View School was built in the mid-1890s for grades k-8. Photo from "Santa Clara County and Its Resources" page 251.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the City of San Jose experienced rapid growth as it began incorporating newly constructed housing tracts that were being built on Santa Clara Valley farm land. The tract where I grew up was built on an old prune orchard in 1956. Next door to the tract was the Valley View Packing Company. Valley View Packing consisted of a large prune orchard with a dehydrating plant near the corner of old Hillsdale and Almaden Roads. The orchard and plant remained in operation until the land was finally sold for development in the late 1990s.
I’d often wondered where the name Valley View originated. When I began working in the California Room, I discovered from a 1902-03 county map that a Valley View School had existed on Almaden Road about 1895, and that for a time a Valley View school district had existed in an area south of Koch Lane. The school house (grades k-8) operated until 1929. Since Valley View Packing was established by the Rubino family in the 1930s, it appeared that it had derived its name from the school house and district, however I recently discovered an earlier source for the name.
Recent photo of the original Valley View School site on Almaden Road near Hillsdale.
According to the Brainard Agricultural Atlas of 1885-1890, there existed a Valley View Ranch on the property that would later become Valley View Packing. A short 1880s sketch of the ranch (a cooperative) indicates that a school house would soon be built nearby (Valley View School), so it appears that the ranch provided the name for the school and its district. The ranch property was backed up against the San Juan Bautista Hills (now known as Communications Hill), so perhaps the views from the hills were the inspiration for the name Valley View.
In 1959, a new elementary school was built just a block west of the original school house location. The new school took the name of its predecessor, and the principal had a photo of the old school hanging in his office. In 1982, Hacienda Elementary School in south San Jose closed and moved its science magnet program to Valley View Elementary. There was an attempt to change the name of Valley View to Hacienda, but after strong objections, a compromise was reached with the name Hacienda at Valley View (also seen as Hacienda Valley View or Hacienda - Valley View). Though some evidence of this compromise can still be found, the school is now officially listed as Hacienda Environmental Science Magnet School.
Valley View Elementary School is now known as Hacienda Environmental Science Magnet School.
After the original school house closed in 1929, the building was repurposed, its final use as the Silver Pine Tavern. After being vacant for about a year, it was destroyed by arson early one morning in August of 1976. Though the memory of the Valley View schools and packing company may fade from the area, the Valley View - Reed Neighborhood currently preserves the historic name.
Further reading in the California Room:
- Santa Clara County: Harvest of Change by Stephen M. Payne
- Brainard Agricultural Atlas by Henry A. Brainard
- Santa Clara County and Its Resources by San Jose Mercury Publishing and Printing Co.
- California Room Index, Valley View
- California Room Index, Historic Buildings (see Clipping File - San Jose)
- California Room Index, San Jose Unified School District