in

What San Jose, California Looked like in the 1860s Through Rare Historical Photos

San Jose has a long history spanning more than 200 years. The Spanish founded it in 1777 to provide food for the military settlements in San Francisco and Monterey. The settlers were attracted to the area because of the nearby supply of drinking water and because the water provided connections to nearby cities planned by the Spanish government. Historically, much of the region’s residents were fed from agriculture and farming. Spanish government scaled back plans for more people to settle in the San Jose area as the area grew slowly. Americans arrived in the early 1840s and were intrigued by the land’s possibilities. As word spread that the land was fertile and available, the area increased. San Jose was named the first capital of California in 1849 as a result of the area’s rapid growth over the years. Sacramento later became the state’s 48th capital. Through the years, San Jose has experienced an up-beat economy with products that have evolved from farming and agriculture to materials used in space and high-performance electronics.

During the first half of the 19th century, San Jose was a small town surrounded by ranches raising cattle and horses. San Jose was chartered in 1850, and it became a vital goldfield trading center east of Sacramento. The arrival of the San Francisco railroad in 1864 improved trade connections in San Jose and made it easier for farm products to be shipped to San Francisco. The Santa Clara Valley then became known for its orchards and fruit processing.

#1 Aerial view of San Jose taken from the roof of Hensley House, 1868

Aerial view of San Jose taken from the roof of Hensley House, 1868

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#2 Rancho Santa Teresa south San Jose, Bernal grant, 1860

Rancho Santa Teresa south San Jose, Bernal grant, 1860

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#3 San Jose to Santa Clara. The Alameda Road, 1865

San Jose to Santa Clara. The Alameda Road, 1865

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#4 San Jose, 1868

San Jose, 1868

The central building is the San Jose Institute and Business College. First Street runs from centre to left.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#5 College of Notre Dame, 1863

College of Notre Dame, 1863

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#6 Businesses on Market Street, 1860

Businesses on Market Street, 1860

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#7 San Jose Depot and San Jose Railroads, 1864

San Jose Depot and San Jose Railroads, 1864

depot, shown with a tall chimney, was replaced by another structure in the 1870s. The flat top construction of the railroad cars date the image to be between 1864, when the railroad opened, and 1870. The building on the far left is the freight house, which ironically stood at the site until the 1960s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#8 The Bank of San Jose on the northeast corner of Santa Clara and First streets, 1866

The Bank of San Jose on the northeast corner of Santa Clara and First streets, 1866

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#9 Looking N. E. From Court House, San Jose, 1866

Looking N. E. From Court House, San Jose, 1866

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#10 City Market and Livery Stable, South First Street, 1860

City Market and Livery Stable, South First Street, 1860

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#11 Auzerais House, San Jose California 1866. Santa Clara Street near First Street.

Auzerais House, San Jose California 1866. Santa Clara Street near First Street.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#12 T. Ellard Beans home, San Jose, 1867

T. Ellard Beans home, San Jose, 1867

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#13 Santa Clara County Courthouse, 1869

Santa Clara County Courthouse, 1869

It was designed by local architect Levi Goodrich, at a cost of $200,000. The courthouse was originally built with one great courtroom directly below the 135-foot wide dome. A small residence, with a water tower and windmill, stands next to the courthouse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#14 Loading wagon with people, 1860s

Loading wagon with people, 1860s

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#15 Possibly a parade, young men pulling hose, Lodge building, 1860

Possibly a parade, young men pulling hose, Lodge building, 1860

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#16 San Jose, Beaty’s Hotel, 1860

San Jose, Beaty's Hotel, 1860

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#17 Fonda Mexicana, one of the out-buildings of Mission San Jose de Guadalupe, 1867

Fonda Mexicana, one of the out-buildings of Mission San Jose de Guadalupe, 1867

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#18 San Jose Mission – Alameda County, 1860s

San Jose Mission - Alameda County, 1860s

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#19 San Jose railyard of the SF & SJ RR, 1860s

San Jose railyard of the SF & SJ RR, 1860s

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#20 First Street, San Jose, CA. unpaved and muddy, 1868

First Street, San Jose, CA. unpaved and muddy, 1868

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#21 San Jose Hotel, 1865

San Jose Hotel, 1865

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#22 Market Street Chinatown, towers of McKenzie Iron Foundry, San Jose Brewery and San Jose waterworks are visible in background, 1866

Market Street Chinatown, towers of McKenzie Iron Foundry, San Jose Brewery and San Jose waterworks are visible in background, 1866

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#23 Fallon House in distance, San Jose, 1868

Fallon House in distance, San Jose, 1868

In the center is the home of Captain Thomas Fallon, who raised the American flag over San Jose in 1846. To the left is the Peralta Adobe, the only pre-1800 structure still remaining in the city. The Louis Pellier home and City Gardens Nursery can be seen to the right, the site of today's Pellier Park.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#24 St. James Park and surroundings, San Jose, 1866

St. James Park and surroundings, San Jose, 1866

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#25 Mariposa Store, 1861

Mariposa Store, 1861

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#26 San Jose Institute and Commercial College, 1869

San Jose Institute and Commercial College, 1869

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#27 San Francisco & San Jose railroad depot, 1864

San Francisco & San Jose railroad depot, 1864

Construction of a overhead arcade structure above the tracks of San Francisco & San Jose Railroads. This structure was built west of San Pedro Street and adjacent to the railroad's freight house. Passengers complained about the muddy mess of boarding trains in the wintertime. This is the only known image of this structure which was short-lived and does not appear in 1870 maps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#28 San Jose, 1868

San Jose, 1868

Picture taken from the dome of the courthouse. The centeral building is the San Jose Institute and Business College. First Street runs from center to left.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#29 San Jose Militia on Market Street, 1860

San Jose Militia on Market Street, 1860

San Jose Militia in formation on Market Street include a flag bearer and drum player. Also seen are several uniformed men and a horse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#30 San Jose, 1868

San Jose, 1868

Fallon House from the Santa Clara County Courthouse, also shown are the nursery of Louis Pellier, the Peralta Adobe, San Pedro Street and Chaboya Alley.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#31 San Jose, 1868

San Jose, 1868

A photograph of Notre Dame Academy on West Santa Clara Street before construction of the dining hall and connecting bridge built after the 1868 earthquake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#32 South Market Street, San Jose, 1868

South Market Street, San Jose, 1868

View of Market Street looking south from Santa Clara Street shows businesses, Saint Joseph's church, a windmill and rolling, open land beyond it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

One Comment

View More Comments

#33 San Jose, Adolf Pfister’s General Store, 1867

San Jose, Adolf Pfister's General Store, 1867

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#34 Adams residence, San Jose, 1860

Adams residence, San Jose, 1860

A half a dozen men tending to some small trees in front of a two-story farmhouse. A woman stands near the front porch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#35 Grandmother Bray’s living room, 1860

Grandmother Bray's living room, 1860

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#36 Mine Office on the Hill, 1865

Mine Office on the Hill, 1865

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#37 New Almaden scene. Workers excavating a hillside, 1860

New Almaden scene. Workers excavating a hillside, 1860

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#38 New Almaden scene. Large two-story building, 1860

New Almaden scene. Large two-story building, 1860

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#39 Santa Clara County Courthouse, 1869

Santa Clara County Courthouse, 1869

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#40 Mission San Jose, 1867

Mission San Jose, 1867

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#41 San Jose, Bergmann’s Wagon Manufactory, 1867

San Jose, Bergmann's Wagon Manufactory, 1867

Nicholas Bergmann's Wagon Manufactory, Mission San Jose. Corner sign reads, "Eureka Saloon." A man stands on the second-floor balcony of the building. Carriages are parked in front of the building. Several men stand in the street.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#42 The Alameda, 1860

The Alameda, 1860

This is an early photograph of The Alameda, the main road between the cities of San Jose and Santa Clara. Several men and a girl stand in the road, along with a horse and carriage. The road is lined with willows which provided shade for travelers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#43 Main entrance to City Hall, 1860s

Main entrance to City Hall, 1860s

Women walk toward City Hall. This was San Jose's Old City Hall built in before 1849 demolition in 1958. It stood in Plaza Park, now known as Plaza de César Chávez, where the children's fountain is located. The building housed city offices and the police department used the basement. In use since 1889, the building was demolished in June 1958. Statue in foreground is of Dr. Henry D. Cogswell, a prohibitionist. It stood atop the drinking fountain he donated to the city.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#44 Santa Clara County court house, 1868

Santa Clara County court house, 1868

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#45 Pfister’s General Store, 1860

Pfister's General Store, 1860

Pfister's General Store, located on the southeast corner of First Street and Santa Clara Street. It was built in 1858 by Adolf Pfister. Pfister's Store sold hardware and general merchandise. People, horse drawn wagons, and buggies can be seen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#46 Intersection of First Street and El Dorado Street, 1862

Intersection of First Street and El Dorado Street, 1862

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#47 Exterior view of the Mission San Jose de Guadalupe (St. Joseph of Guadalupe), 1865

Exterior view of the Mission San Jose de Guadalupe (St. Joseph of Guadalupe), 1865

The two-story adobe of the mission stands pictured at center, its main entrance visible on the broad left side and a smaller, unarched single door on its front narrow side. A cross is affixed to the peak of the roof. A post-and-rail fence demarcates the property. A shorter, more modern looking building is partially visible to the right, next to a flagpole. The road in front is unpaved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#48 Washington Hotel, Mission San Jose, 1860

Washington Hotel, Mission San Jose, 1860

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#49 Auzerais House, San Jose, 1865

Auzerais House, San Jose, 1865

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#50 The Town on the Hill, New Almaden, 1860s

The Town on the Hill, New Almaden, 1860s

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#51 San Jose from Convent Notre Dame, 1867

San Jose from Convent Notre Dame, 1867

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#52 Vendome carriage in front of houses, 1860s

Vendome carriage in front of houses, 1860s

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#53 Auzerais House, San Jose, Santa Clara County, 1868

Auzerais House, San Jose, Santa Clara County, 1868

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#54 South Market Street, San Jose, 1864

South Market Street, San Jose, 1864

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#55 Market Street, 1862

Market Street, 1862

Looking south along Market Street. Photograph taken from the top of Hensley House on Market Street and Santa Clara Street. The windmill is at the corner of Market and El Dorado. In the center, are the black towers of Saint Joseph's Church, which burned in 1875.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#56 San Jose Turnpike Toll House, 1860

San Jose Turnpike Toll House, 1860

-1 Points
Upvote Downvote

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.