California Room - Local History Collection

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CollectionsCalifornia Room Collections
Your resource for California & Santa Clara Valley history

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Convert your analog media to digital

Your Old HouseYour Old House
Research your San José home and property

Sanborn MapsDigital Sanborn Maps (library card required)
Covering cities in California, 1867-1970

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The Santa Clara County Library District offers a free search for 3 obituaries per month.

Today's Exhibits and Events

Chinese dining out menu from the 1940's

Dining Out: Menus Of Old San Jose

Chop Suey for 30 cents? Chow Mein for 35 cents? 15 cents for a cold beer? Too good to be true? Not in WWII era San Jose! Wish you could go back in time to get...

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 (All day)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, 5th Floor Special Collections Area - California Room

Local History Blog

Story and King: San José’s Lowrider Culture Exhibition
From December through March, people flocked to the library to visit our first ever Lowrider Exhibit, “Story and King: San José’s Lowrider Culture”! Now that the exhibit has come to a close, it’s time to thank all those who’ve made it a success! It all began with a customer request for lowrider research materials; without his inquiry, the exhibit would never have happened! Thank you! For over a year and a half, we worked to connect with members of the lowrider community. Our donors, speakers and partners took time out of their busy days to help make our vision a...Read more...
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Image: menu for the Oriental Cafe restaurant that was located on E. San Fernando Street. Photo by Ralph M. Pearce
Old menus are so cool! Have you ever found an old menu stashed away in a drawer or a glove compartment? I’ve been collecting local menus for some years now, and I really enjoy the graphics, the selections, and of course the prices. It's even better if it's a restaurant that you have some connection to.The oldest menu I have is from the Ken Ying Low Chinese restaurant. It was located in Japantown at 625 N. 6th Street , now the home of Jtown Pizza Co . The menu dates prior to WWII, and lists entrees such as chop suey...Read more...
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