Ralph Pearce

Ralph Pearce's picture
Reading Interests: 
Biographies, Mysteries, Science Fiction, Philosophy, History
What I'm Reading Now: 
Specimen Days & Collect by Walt Whitman

Blogs by this Author

Image: Senator Kennedy's arrival at the San Jose Municipal Airport on March 23, 1968. Courtesy of San Jose State University, Special Collections Archives. Spartan Daily Negatives Collection, 2012, Archival Finding Aids.
Image: Senator Kennedy's arrival at the San Jose Municipal Airport on March 23, 1968. Courtesy of San Jose State University, Special Collections Archives. Spartan Daily Negatives Collection, 2012, Archival Finding Aids. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Senator Robert F. Kennedy 's speech in San Jose's St. James Park on March 23, 1968. Five years ago, I transcribed that speech from an audio recording, which I am sharing here for the first time. I am also pleased to be able to share previously unpublished Spartan Daily photos from Kennedy's visit. Reading his speech today, one cannot help but wonder...Read more...
Image: The Falafel Drive-in sign on Stevens Creek near Bascom. Photo ©Ralph M. Pearce. 
Signs, like buildings, get our attention. And over time they become landmarks, fixed in our minds and memories, helping us navigate an ever-changing world with some thread of familiarity and link to our past. I remember at two or three years of age, laying in the "back-back" of the family station wagon playing with my red Etch-A-Sketch . I recall looking out and seeing an enormous globe of the world atop a building, and knowing right where we were (in front of the Heald Business College on Santa Clara Street). There were many such signs that I'm sure many "old-timers"...Read more...
Image:The photo that hangs in the back of the cigar store. It features Carolina Teigeler and presumably her eldest single daughter Louisa, who would have been 16 years old when this c.1885 photo was taken. Photo courtesy of West Coast Cigars.
Have you ever wondered how we research the local history? Look back with us at a little house on Almaden Road as Ralph investigates its history with California Room resources.Read more...
Image: Instead of the traditional giant Hershey's candy bar, I was rewarded with a giant can of raviolis.
What was it like being an A.V. Monitor at Canoas Elementary in the 70's? More importantly, what kind of reward did a monitor get at the end of the year?Read more...
River Glen Elementary School, once known as Broadway Elementary School.
Find out which schools swapped names over the years.
Image: One of three remaining Four'n 20 Pie buildings (Kooser Road near Princeton Plaza).
“Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye, four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie.” So goes the popular English nursery rhyme “ Sing a Song of Sixpence .” From this rhyme came the name for a small chain of late 1960s restaurants called Four’n 20 Restaurant & Pie Shop. Two of these restaurants were built in San Jose in 1970 and 1971. One was on Meridian near Hamilton , and the other was on Kooser and Blossom Hill Roads , across from Princeton Plaza. I remember eating at both locations with my family. Like Marie Callendars...Read more...
Image: a fresh tray of donuts at Hooz Donuts in San Jose.
Do you like donuts? Me too. Explore some local history through donuts.Read more...
Image: A circa 1911 photograph of John Trexall's grocery store which was located across the street from Lowell Elementary School. Prior to 1907, Mr. Trexall had a market at 350 San Augustine (now W. St. John Street). Courtesy of The Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History.
Once a year I create an album for San Jose State University’s Sourisseau Academy . Each album contains captioned historic photographs on various topics, and my first one was entitled, “What Ever Happened to the Corner Market?” (a video was also created) I noticed that one of the markets in my album had been located on Margaret and South Seventh Street , so I decided look up the address on Google Maps to see what was there now. What I initially perceived was that the beautiful old building had been replaced with a plainer one, but then I began noticing...Read more...
Image: The day's event get going with a rousing performance by the San Jose Taiko Group.
In the month of May we observe Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month . This year, the San Jose Public Library has held celebrations at Village Square and Seven Trees Branch libraries. The purpose of this observance is to honor the contributions of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans to our nation’s culture and progress. Image: The program cover for the libary's Asian/Pacific American Heritage Celebration on May 12, 1990. The program was designed by librarian June Hayashi (first director of the library's Partners In Reading program) and myself. Image: Contents of the program show a timeline of the day's scheduled...Read more...
Image: Fuzzy demonstrates his winning form in this shot from 1965. Photo courtesy of the United States Bowling Congress.
Last month we explored the phenomenon of the once popular bowling alley disappearing from the San Jose landscape. This month we recognize local bowling legend Rokuro “Fuzzy” Shimada. Fuzzy was the sixth son of a Japanese immigrant, and came from a large sports-loving family. Born in Vacaville on October 26,1921, Fuzzy was given the name Rokuro, with “roku” being Japanese for the number six. In the fall of 1936, the Shimada’s moved to Santa Clara. The family leased property and grew strawberries on Reed Avenue near what is now Lawrence Expressway. Image: Looking down Reed Avenue west of Lawrence Expressway,...Read more...