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What’s Happening in California’s Oldest City?

San Jose 2014 Historic Photo Contest

The third, citywide photo contest will celebrate national Historic Preservation Month in May, and historic preservation in San Jose.  Contestants can submit photos of historic structures or historic artifacts in San Jose.

Deadline for entries is April 27th, 2014.  For contest rules, etc. please visit  

Take a moment to check out the gallery of 2012 entries. Very impressive!  

Finalists will be notified in early May and their photographs will be displayed for a few weeks. An awards ceremony with cash prizes will conclude the exhibit on June 5th, at Southern Lumber Company, 1402 Monterey Highway, San Jose.

Several professional photographers will judge entries. Judges will make their decisions based on the written explanation, photographic technique, photographic creativity and historical significance of each entry.

Donations (tax deductible) will be accepted to go towards the prizes to be awarded the winning photographers. Donations may be made by check payable to PAC*SJ with a notation on the check that it is for the photo contest. Mail your donation to: Preservation Action Council of San Jose, History Park, 1650 Senter Road, San Jose CA 95112-2599.

For questions, to submit photos, or to donate email:

View the Flyer here.

PAC*SJ 2014 Summer Walking Tours

PACSJ is again hosting three walking tours of important places in the history and architecture of San Jose. All tours are on Saturday at 10:00 am.  

Vendome - June 14
The neighborhood is named after one of San Jose’s premier hotels of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Hotel Vendome was a tourist destination from which people could take carriages to tour the Valley of Hearts Delight, Stanford, Alum Rock Park and the Lick Observatory. The outer streets made up a working class neighborhood beginning from the days of the Woolen Mills and the arrival of the railroad from San Francisco to San Jose.  When the Vendome was razed in the early 1930’s, the hotel property was developed into an upper middle class neighborhood. Because the area developed over time, the architecture is varied. It runs from Victorians along San Pedro and Fox to marvelous Spanish Eclectic homes along Ayer and Rankin.
We’ll begin the walk at Ryland Park near First Street. Because general parking is limited in the neighborhood, taking Light Rail to Ayer is recommended. There are some parking spaces in the Ryland Park lot and along San Pedro.

Palm Haven/North Willow Glen - June 28
Palm Haven, known for the Mexican fan palms that line the main street and the plaza, was laid out in 1913 as an independent corporation. Growth was slow during World War I but took off thereafter. Palm Haven joined the City of San Jose in 1922 but didn’t dissolve as a corporation for several more years.  Initially property owners were bound by lower limits on the price of the homes to be built, so all of those homes were substantial. Some smaller homes were subsequently built as the minimum was not raised with inflation, but many of them were redeveloped on consolidated lots because of the desirability of this near-in suburb.

Many famous civic and business leaders lived in Palm Haven, as well as artists and architects, most notably the Frank Wolfe family.  This tour is based on the books Touring Historic Willow Glen and the recent Palm Haven.
The tour will begin at the corner of Fuller and Bird in North Willow Glen. There is more street parking available on this side of Bird, particularly along the north side of Fuller bordering Fuller Park. We’ll hit a few of the highlights of the North Willow Glen neighborhood, particularly some interesting homes on Bird, before going through Palm Haven. If time permits, we’ll see more of this neighborhood at the end of the walk.

The Alameda - July 12
The Alameda was a connection between Mission Santa Clara and Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe. In 1799, neophyte Indians from the Mission began planting willow saplings along the route, resulting in a shaded lane between the two locations, an alameda.  On the tour, we’ll look at many of the prominent homes and businesses along the street and discuss some of the ones that are now gone.  One resource for this tour is The Alameda The Beautiful Way.  Our tour will begin at the corner of Emory and the Alameda, where we’ll see the exterior of the house where our pre-tour party on August 22nd kicks off our Wolfe and McKenzie Homes Tour on August 23rd. Most of the walking tour highlights will be covered by the time we approach the railway overpass near Stockton Street, so depending on the heat and how individuals are feeling, there is the option to take the #22 bus back to the starting point. They run every 15 minutes.

Online reservations will begin May 1st.  Tours are $10 each or three tours for $25 for PAC*SJ members.  Non-members are $15 for each tour or $30 for three.

Spring 2014 Rummage & Salvage Sale Earns $8300 for historic preservation education!

Thank you donors, shoppers and volunteers!  

Wow, this is the most PAC*SJ has ever earned during its neighborhood yard sale! Thanks to the generosity of Naglee Park neighbors and PAC*SJ members as well as strangers looking for a trusted organization to gift their family heirlooms, this sale was huge with many treasures. The Stickley reproduction couch, Shaker hutch, Captiva sailboat, vintage clocks, entire estate of furniture and housewares, collection of Barbie memorabilia and the expected and amazing assortment of donations left on my porch in the dead of night made this a very exciting sale.

Tentative dates for the Summer 2014 Sale: July 31-2nd 

Patt Curia Preservation Action Council of SJ

Help save the Century Theater Domes! Sign the Online Petition!!

You may know that the Century Theatres on Winchester are at risk of being demolished as the City explores possibilities to redevelop the site.

Along with our friends at the Retro Dome/Guggenheim Entertainment, we have launched an online petition asking our City leaders to preserve one or all of the Domes and direct the new developer to incorporate the Dome(s) into any proposed development.

Join the many Silicon Valley residents in favor of preserving these historically significant venues. We believe the Domes should be saved and reused, and incorporated into any development proposal. One example of reuse would be preserving Century 22 to provide a home to The Retro Dome, which occupied a sister Dome on Saratoga Avenue but was recently displaced when plans were announced to demolish the former Century 25. A wonderfully historic building would be saved from the wrecking ball and The Retro Dome would be reborn and serve as a home to multiple Silicon Valley-based performing arts groups.

Sign the petition now:  Watch for more information as the campaign to Save the Domes moves forward.

"It's About Time" San Jose Clock Tower Project

The movement to restore the Clock Tower of the San Jose Museum of Art to its original height is picking up steam.  The clock and the tower of former San Jose Post Office building were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake.  The restoration, begun in 1908, intended to rebuild the original tower was cut short - A new clock was installed in a shorter tower but the full restoration of the tower's height was not completed.  Check out why the clock and the tower are so special to the history of San Jose, and what you can do to get involved.

Website and on Facebook

Do you want to learn about what development is planned for your Council District?

You can sign up for email notifications on the city web site:

"The City of San Jose is committed to providing the information and opportunities to encourage residents and other interested parties to follow development activity in their community and to actively participate in the land use development process. To this end the City offers an email subscription service where by you can be informed of recently submitted development applications in your community. if you sign up for this service, you will receive an email informing you that the Planning Division has received a development or permit application located within a given geographic area that you select. This service provides notification on most planning permits. If you would like to be noticed via email, choose subscribe and it will take you to the registration process."

Here's the link:

Smokey says "You too can prevent Historic Structure Fires!"

OK.  Smokey didn't say that, but PACSJ may need a fire prevention mascot of it's own soon.  Help prevent the loss of even more historic structures to fire and vandalism by helping the City enforce its Vacant Building Ordinance.  File an online complaint on the City's website. 

Start here:

On the left side under "Online Services" click on "Submit an Online Blight Complaint." From there fill out the appropriate information. If enough people file complaints maybe the City will pay attention and work harder to protect these historic resources.

San Jose Public Library Foundation presents SCAN JOSE - Grab your smartphone to learn about the history of San Jose!

Explore historical downtown San Jose  - One smartphone = 3 walking tours! SJPL has created three walking tours of downtown San Jose that you can take using your smartphone and your feet! Go to to see images from the California Room Collection while standing at the locations that the photographs were taken. Think of it as a time machine in the palm of your hand!

There are three tours to choose from:
A Walk Around the Plaza - takes you on a loop around Plaza de Cesar Chavez
Tragedies and Calamities - a no holds barred look at some of the tragic events in San Jose history
Old Santa Clara Street - highlights some of the great architecture that has sprung up and come down over the years.

PAC-SJ is looking for a few qualified applicants to be considered for openings on our Board. Help us pursue our mission of preserving the architectural heritage of San Jose and help educate homeowners, developers, and decision-makers about the importance of historic preservation