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 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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Photo: Officer Ralph. M. Phillips with the Los Gatos Police Department taken in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of Ralph Pearce.
Photo: Officer Ralph. M. Phillips with the Los Gatos Police Department taken in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of Ralph Pearce. My grandfather Ralph Moses Phillips (1905-1981) was a tall, stout fellow; strict, yet generous and fair-minded. After graduating from Los Gatos High School , he married my grandmother in 1925. As a young husband and father in the late 1920s, he worked a variety of jobs. He was a bus driver for a while, and later a truck driver for Bailey Lumber Company (across from the grammar school, now Old Town). Granddad Phillips recounted one occasion when he was hauling...Read more...
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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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