Michael Lara

Reading Interests: 
Local History
What I'm Reading Now: 
Chinese History to 1900

Blogs by this Author

Drive in movie theater projector glowing at the end of a full parking lot. Text: San Jose Drive-In
Image: Photograph taken February 17, 2018 by Michael Lara Milk Tea. Stromboli. Movie. Which of these sounds out of place? None! Especially when enjoying a movie from a lawn chair or the bed of a pickup truck at the drive-in theater. San Jose’s last drive-in theater sits at Capitol Expressway and Monterey Road. According to an advertisement in the San Jose Mercury News , the Capitol Drive-In Theater opened with a free show on May 25, 1971 originally with four screens. The ad also touts that the drive-in has the world’s largest drive in complex with the world’s biggest screens...Read more...
shelf of yearbooks in the California Room
Each week, hundreds of families from across the state flocked to San Jose’s Lowrider Culture Exhibition. A significant portion of these pilgrims are former San Jose residents. Surprisingly, many are visiting the California Room and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library for the first time! Those returning to San Jose from across the state seem naturally drawn to our High School Yearbook collection . In these volumes, they can glimpse photos of family and friends from long (or not so long) ago. Yearbooks are the type of item that sit on the shelf, or get put in a box...Read more...
View of Sodality Park location from San Carlos Street
As a kid, my father told me that Babe Ruth referred to my hometown as “the little burg in the orchards.” This elusive quote has sent me chasing a Ruthian myth; the most sensational variety of stories in the baseball universe. Upon searching for this quote, waves of San Jose’s local history have washed up along the long tables of the California Room at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. By delicately handling clipping files and spinning reels of microfilm, the story of San Jose is told at the California Room at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library...Read more...
Traffic congested highway 280
Bay Area commuters know; you can't always depend on the freeways. With traffic congestion consistently increasing to record highs , commuters face the choice of sitting in freeway traffic or driving longer distances with less traffic via the backstreets. As commuters wish for improved traffic solutions today, so did Thelma Miller in 1946 when she expressed the need for a county highway system to relieve the drive from town to town through crowded city streets. Upon my trip to San Juan Bautista from San Jose last weekend, Google Maps suggested we avoid the 20 mile-long parking lot known as U.S...Read more...