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San Jose Signs Index 

221 Jackson St.
Wall Sign, Dimensional Letter

Around 1950, a charismatic entrepreneur by the name of Bill Dair opened up a restaurant called Bill’s Shanghai at 221 E. Jackson Street. The restaurant’s building was a modern box constructed with glass, concrete, and steel. It symbolized a new era for Japantown—a time of prosperity and new beginnings. Dair’s business occupied the 2nd floor. The house specialty was Chinese food but Japanese Sukiyaki was also on the menu. For several decades, Bill’s Shanghai was a popular venue for the valley’s movers and shakers. Dair was extremely well connected and the restaurant functioned as an establishment for both dining and networking. Bill Dair passed away in 1969. His namesake restaurant closed just a few years later, but its beautiful neon sign remains today.

--Heather David

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