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: Artist Tammy Dong depicts the meeting between Moffet and his mother near the corner of 6th and Jackson in San Jose's Japantown. Collection of Ralph Pearce.
Image: Sgt. Moffet Ishikawa at his camp site in the South Pacific during WWII. Photo courtesy of Moffet Ishikawa. In October of 2007, I interviewed 88-year-old Moffet Ishikawa, the younger brother of San Jose Japantown historian Dr. Tokio “Tok” Ishikawa. Moffet told of his life growing up in Japantown in the 1920s and 1930s, the wartime evacuation of Japanese Americans from Santa Clara Valley, his experience with the Army during WWII, and finally settling down and raising a family after returning from military service. Moffet was a engaging person, who spoke with warmth and sincerity. One of his more poignant...Read more...
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Photo:  Las Palmas Restaurant was open for business for 60 years.
Photo: Las Palmas Restaurant was open for business for 60 years. My earliest memories begin when I was two and three year’s old living on Singletary Avenue between The Alameda and Park Avenue. I was two years and four months old in January 1962, when my mother woke me up one morning to watch the snowfall in our backyard. My mom usually made sandwiches for lunch, but every so often we’d head down to a nearby taqueria. It was called Las Palmas Taco Bar , and it stood on the corner of The Alameda and Magnolia Street. We placed our...Read more...
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Valley View School was built in the mid-1880s for grades k-8. Photo from "Santa Clara County and Its Resources" page 251.
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...Read more...
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The old Colombet barn on the Lester property about 1957
Photo: The old Colombet barn on the Lester property about 1957. Photo by Lee Lester. In 1965, my family moved from downtown Willow Glen , to a southeast pocket of the district now known as Canoas Garden . The tract had been developed on the site of the old Lester/Von Dorsten prune orchard located between the Canoas Creek and the Guadalupe River. Between our neighborhood school ( Canoas Elementary ) and the Guadalupe River, stood a remaining section of the orchard that would be developed a few years later as “Almaden Estates.” In the meantime, this abandoned area became a...Read more...
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Photo: Collage of Bay Area kids shows in the 1960s and 1970s. Marshall J photo by John Shurtleff Stevens, courtesy of Anne Stevens.
Photo: Collage of Bay Area kids shows in the 1960s and 1970s. Marshal J photo by John Shurtleff Stevens, courtesy of Anne Stevens. By the 1960s, television technology and programing had come quite a ways. Though I wasn’t allowed to sit in front of the television all day as a child, watching programs in the morning and evening was pretty routine. My memory reaches as far back as two years old (I recall my third birthday very clearly), and the first program I remember watching was Captain Kangaroo . The earliest commercial I can recall ended with the image of...Read more...
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Photo: Takaichi's print shop was originally located on Jackson Street. Peter (Minanosuke) Takaichi also served as a minister at the nearby Konko Church. Photo courtesy of JAMsj
Photo: Takaichi's print shop was previously located on Jackson Street. Peter (Minanosuke) Takaichi also served as a minister at the nearby Konko Church. Photo courtesy of JAMsj Since a demolition request was made for the National Printing Company building at 510 N. 5th Street (1923 to present), I was curious as to the process in determining the fate of the structure. I decided to check in with Brian Grayson, Executive Director of the Preservation Action Council of San Jose (PAC*SJ) , an organization dedicated to preserving San Jose's architectural heritage. Grayson responded that an historic report had been done, and...Read more...
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San Jose Japantown's National Printing Company in 2015.
San Jose Japantown's National Printing Company in 2015. In September of this year, a demolition request was applied for by the owners of the ninty-year-old print shop building at 510 North Fifth Street in San Jose Japantown . Building permits can be viewed online on the San Jose City’s permit website by typing in an APN number (Assessor’s Parcel Number) or street address. For numbered streets, you would enter them as “1st”, “2nd”, “3rd”, etc. On the following page you would choose “All” permits to include results from completed projects. The building is the home of Japantown’s National Printing Company...Read more...
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SVIC librarian Andrea Schacter in 1986.
SVIC librarian Andrea Schacter in 1986. When I began working for the San Jose Public Library in October of 1988, I was assigned to the Silicon Valley Information Center (SVIC) located on the 3 rd floor of the old Main Library. The center was an archival collection of materials related to high tech companies within Silicon Valley . Besides books and periodicals, the collection contained 260 linear feet of materials including clipping files, as well as documents and ephemera gathered from the companies themselves. Having little interest in computers at the time, I was initially disappointed in the assignment. My...Read more...
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San Fernando and Third Streets Looking West in the mid-1970s. Photo by City of San Jose Redevelopment Agency.
San Fernando and Third Streets Looking West in the mid-1970s. Photo by City of San Jose Redevelopment Agency. In 1978, I began working part time in a used bookstore near the corner of Lincoln and Curtner Avenues called Myron’s Books (later Lincoln Avenue Books). Myron was loosely related to Pat and Joan Hayes, the owners of Recycle Books on the southwest corner of San Fernando and Third Streets (at left in photo above), and in 1979 he arranged for me to work there too. Working at Recycle was a lot of fun with an interesting variety of both staff and...Read more...
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Photo: Bob Sidebottom's Comic Collector Shop on E. San Fernando Street. Photo from 1976 Willow Glen High School yearbook.
Image: Bob Sidebottom's Comic Collector Shop on E. San Fernando Street. Photo from 1976 Willow Glen High School yearbook. When my best friend Kevin and I were about thirteen, we learned that there were very cool comic book stores in downtown San Jose. Living in the Willow Glen area, we figured out that we could take the 64 bus from Lincoln and Curtner Avenues to downtown. This was about 1973, and you can still catch the 64 at the same stop. The shops we were interested in conveniently lined East San Fernando from Second to about Fourth Streets. From west...Read more...
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