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

The Hori building in San Jose Japantown about 1990
Photo : The Hori building in San Jose Japantown about 1990. In the late 1980s, I lived in the front half of a very long one-story building near the corner of Fifth and Jackson Streets in San Jose Japantown . Wanting to learn something about the old building, I began by looking through old city directories at the main library downtown. I eventually discovered that the building had been created out of two portable classrooms from Grant School near Tenth and Jackson Streets. They were acquired from the school in 1915 and moved to 580 North Fifth Street where they...Read more...
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Leonard McKay's photo of the Kell House, summer of 1961. Courtesy of History San Jose.
Photo: Leonard McKay's photo of the Kell House, summer of 1961. Courtesy of History San Jose. In November of 1965, my family moved from downtown Willow Glen to the Meadowbrook tract in a southeast pocket of Willow Glen (now referred to as Canoas Gardens). This tract is located at the base of the San Juan Bautista Hills, on property that had once belonged to Thomas and Margaret Kell. Though I was only six at the time, I remember my father and I driving across the new Almaden Expressway to the large field at the corner of Curtner and Almaden Road...Read more...
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The San Jose Asahi at Asahi Field in 1936. Russell Hinaga is seated in the center of the bottom row. Photo courtesy of Ralph Pearce
The San Jose Asahi at Asahi Field in 1936. Russell Hinaga is seated in the center of the bottom row. Photo courtesy of Ralph Pearce. This year marks the 80 th anniversary of the Tokyo Giants baseball team’s visit to San Jose in March of 1935. The Tokyo Giants had been created in 1934 as a team of Japanese all-stars to challenge Babe Ruth and other American all-stars who toured Japan at the end of the year. The Japanese “All Japan” team was then reformed and renamed, and in 1935 toured the United States in order to promote a formation...Read more...
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Four members of the Oakland Larks baseball team including San Jose State College alumni Johnny Allen (third from left). Photo Credit: H99.29.37. Unknown photographer, untitled (Oakland Larks of the West Coast Baseball Association), 1947. Gelatin silver photograph, 4 x 6 in. The Richard T. Dobbins Collection, Judith P. Dobbins. Collection of the Oakland Museum of California.
Four members of the Oakland Larks baseball team including San Jose State College alumni Johnny Allen (third from left). Photo Credit: H99.29.37. Unknown photographer, untitled (Oakland Larks of the West Coast Baseball Association), 1947. Gelatin silver photograph, 4 x 6 in. The Richard T. Dobbins Collection, Judith P. Dobbins. Collection of the Oakland Museum of California. By the 1880s, more than thirty African Americans were on teams in baseball's major and minor leagues. But during the 1887 season, league owners agreed to make no new contracts with African American players. From that time on until Jackie Robinson broke the color...Read more...
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Officer Gene Simpson. Courtesy of SJPD
Officers Gene Simpson and Gordon "Gordy" Silva. Courtesy SJPD I began working for the San Jose Public Library in October of 1988 and was assigned to the Silicon Valley Information Center (SVIC) on the third floor of the old main library on San Carlos Street. That unit later dissolved and some of its contents are now part of the California Room’s collection as the Silicon Valley Company Archive . I was at my desk in SVIC on January 20, 1989, when I heard that a police officer had been shot and killed just blocks away on Santa Clara Street. My...Read more...
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Photo of an artificial Christmas tree lit at night on the First Baptist Church hill in San Jose in December of 1964.
In November of 1965, my family moved into the Meadowbrook housing tract (now Canoas Garden ) in the southeast corner of of Willow Glen . The tract is sometimes referred to as “Birdland” because of all the streets named after birds ( Nightingale, Redbird, Hummingbird , etc.). One unique feature is its location at the foot of a hill that is part of the San Juan Bautista Hills. This group of hills lies between Almaden Expressway and Monterey Road and is home to the Oakhill Cemetery , County Communications , Communications Hill (with the cell phone tower), and the First...Read more...
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A photograph of the Nishioka building in 1989.
I lived in San Jose Japantown back in the 1980s. I used to enjoy jogging around the area in the evening, and one of the places I used to jog past was the Nishioka Fish Market on Sixth Street near Taylor. It’s a beautiful old brick building, built in 1929 by Ichimatsu Tsurukawa for his Ideal Laundry business. Unfortunately, the depression hit soon after, and Tsurukawa’s business didn’t flourish as he’d hoped. He eventually sold the business to one of his Filipino workers, Ben Ragsac, who downsized the business and moved it to a smaller location near the corner of...Read more...
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Photo of the San Jose Public Library on San Carlos Street about 1970.
I remember sitting with my mother in the kitchen of our little house in Willow Glen, watching the kitchen cart roll from one side of the room to the other. We were both rather amazed, though we were having an earthquake at the time. This was about 1964, and only the first of many earthquakes I can recall from my fifty some odd years here in San Jose. Another time I was sitting on the front porch with a cat in my lap, when our carport shook so violently that the cat sunk all of its claws into my leg...Read more...
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Almaden Road
Map: An 1887 California Room map showing Almaden Road between Malone and Curtner. King Library California Room “A road pounded out by the bare feet of Indians before the white man came still stretches south from San Jose into the rolling brush covered hills, the bare earth paved with asphalt.” So wrote local historian Patricia Loomis in her introduction to a piece on Almaden Road , “…one of the oldest of the area roads whose route remains basically the same after more than two centuries.” While much of Almaden Road was replaced by the much wider Almaden Expressway in about...Read more...
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Louis Pellier, the 'Prune King'
Louis Pellier, "The Prune King" Photo courtesy of History San Jose One August day in 2011, a fellow named Tim Peddy came into the California Room to look at some aerial photos. I noticed that one of the aerials showed the San Juan Bautista Hills near my neighborhood. The San Juan Bautista Hills are an outcropping of hills on the southeast corner of Willow Glen that include “ The Church on the Hill ,” County Communications , Communications Hill (with the cell phone tower), and Oak Hill Cemetery . I pointed out to Tim that the small hill between the...Read more...
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