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

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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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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