The Endangered 8: 2023
San José's Most Threatened Architectural and Cultural Landmarks
Levi Strauss Factory
115 Terraine Street
William D. Lotz
From its opening in 1949 to its closure in 1984, this former Levi Strauss factory likely produced more 501® blue jeans than anywhere else in the nation. While the world is celebrating the 150th anniversary of this icon of American fashion in 2023, San Jose’s central role in this legacy has largely been forgotten. The factory, which once employed more than 200 skilled women workers and produced more than 1000 pairs of 501s® a day, could be demolished and replaced with a surface parking lot under a current proposal by the Swenson Company. Centrally located across the street from lively San Pedro Square, the building could instead be adaptively reused as a market hall, live-work studios, gallery and museum space, or myriad other alternatives to this short-sighted and wasteful demolition plan.