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What San Jose, CA looked like in the 1870s Through Stunning Historical Photos

In the early 1870s, the population of San Jose was around ten thousand. The city had many large manufacturing plants, but it is also home to many canneries and food-processing centers that feed the nation. The California State Normal School and the University of the Pacific relocated to San Jose in the 1870s.

Below are some stunning historical photos showing San Jose, California, in the 1870s.

#1 First St., looking north from El Dorado (Post), 1875

First St., looking north from El Dorado (Post), 1875

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#2 Oldest view of Mission San Jose de Guadalupe in San Jose, 1876

Oldest view of Mission San Jose de Guadalupe in San Jose, 1876

A long low building is adjacent to the dirt road in the foreground. The taller church building with tiled roof is to the right. Other buildings are visible behind the long low building. Mountains rise to the left.

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#3 San Antonio Street, San Jose, 1876

San Antonio Street, San Jose, 1876

San Antonio Street, looking east from Second Street to the State Normal School building, in 1876. The First Baptist Tabernacle is at the left with Temple Bikur Cholim, a Jewish synagogue, beyond. At the right of the photograph is the First Congregational Church. In the center is the original Normal School building, destroyed by fire on February 10, 1880.

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#4 State Normal School, San Jose, California, 1875

State Normal School, San Jose, California, 1875

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#5 Santa Clara Street between First and Market, 1871

Santa Clara Street between First and Market, 1871

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#6 Auzerais House, looking East, San Jose, 1870

Auzerais House, looking East, San Jose, 1870

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#7 Market Street Chinatown, San Jose, 1872

Market Street Chinatown, San Jose, 1872

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#8 Continental Hotel, San Jose, 1870

Continental Hotel, San Jose, 1870

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#9 Santa Clara Street San Jose, looking west from First, 1875

Santa Clara Street San Jose, looking west from First, 1875

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#10 Men standing in the middle of the dirt Alameda, with a trolley in the distance, 1870s

Men standing in the middle of the dirt Alameda, with a trolley in the distance, 1870s

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#11 St. Joseph’s Church, 1870

St. Joseph's Church, 1870

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#12 Central Pacific Railroad, Niles Canyon, 1875

Central Pacific Railroad, Niles Canyon, 1875

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#13 West Hall, University of the Pacific, 1875

West Hall, University of the Pacific, 1875

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#14 Niles Canyon railroad, 1870s

Niles Canyon railroad, 1870s

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#15 Santa Clara County Almshouse, formerly O’Toole Farm, 1876

Santa Clara County Almshouse, formerly O'Toole Farm, 1876

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#16 The battle of Mt. Hamiton, 1876

The battle of Mt. Hamiton, 1876

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#17 New Almaden, 1879

New Almaden, 1879

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#18 Horse-drawn wagon being loaded in front of brick building, 1870s

Horse-drawn wagon being loaded in front of brick building, 1870s

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#19 Niles Depot of the Central Pacific Railroad, 1870s

Niles Depot of the Central Pacific Railroad, 1870s

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#20 Event in front of Old Court House, 1870s

Event in front of Old Court House, 1870s

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#21 The Farmers Union in the A. Pfister & Co. Building, 1874

The Farmers Union in the A. Pfister & Co. Building, 1874

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#22 Lick Mill office, 1871

Lick Mill office, 1871

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#23 Santa Clara County court house, 1875

Santa Clara County court house, 1875

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#24 Several men and women play croquet on the lawn of the Vendome Hotel, 1871

Several men and women play croquet on the lawn of the Vendome Hotel, 1871

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#25 South First Street, San Jose, 1875

South First Street, San Jose, 1875

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#26 Samuel A. Bishop home, 1870

Samuel A. Bishop home, 1870

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#27 Oliver Chilled Plows, 1870s

Oliver Chilled Plows, 1870s

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#28 San Jose Adobe Building, 1875

San Jose Adobe Building, 1875

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#29 Crew Building Mount Hamilton Road. Headquarters Smith Creek, 1870s

Crew Building Mount Hamilton Road. Headquarters Smith Creek, 1870s

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#30 Bray Family at Roseland, Scott Lane, 1872

Bray Family at Roseland, Scott Lane, 1872

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#31 Highland School Students and Teacher, 1876

Highland School Students and Teacher, 1876

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#32 Exterior view of the St. James Hotel on First street opposite of St. James Park, 1873

Exterior view of the St. James Hotel on First street opposite of St. James Park, 1873

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#33 Saint James Hotel, 1873

Saint James Hotel, 1873

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#34 Fredericksburg Brewery, 1871

Fredericksburg Brewery, 1871

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#35 Fourth Ward School, 1874

Fourth Ward School, 1874

Exterior view of the Fourth Ward school built in 1874 on the southeast corner of Auzerais Avenue and Orchard Street (now Almaden Boulevard). It was renamed Lincoln School in 1892.

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#36 Exterior view of the Mission San Jose de Guadalupe (St. Joseph of Guadalupe), 1870

Exterior view of the Mission San Jose de Guadalupe (St. Joseph of Guadalupe), 1870

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#37 Old City Hall, San Jose, 1870

Old City Hall, San Jose, 1870

Designed by Levi Goodrich, this City Hall was constructed in 1855 at what later became 35 North Market Street. It was a two-story brick structure with council chambers on the ground floor and two small rooms and an assembly hall upstairs. The county leased the second floor as a courtroom for a short time but the lease was not renewed in 1862 because the city needed the space. In the 1890s the building was converted to a fire station and the castellations were removed. The building was demolished in 1951

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#38 View to the west, 1870

View to the west, 1870

In the center is the home of Captain Thomas Fallon, who raised the American flag over San José 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.

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#39 View from City Hall looking northeast, 1870

View from City Hall looking northeast, 1870

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#40 San Antonio Street, 1876

San Antonio Street, 1876

San Antonio Street, looking east from Second Street to the State Normal School building in 1876. The First Baptist Tabernacle is at the left with Temple Bikur Cholim, a Jewish synagogue, beyond. At the right of the photograph is the First Congregational Church.

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#41 Horse Car Number 7 in operation at History Park, 1870

Horse Car Number 7 in operation at History Park, 1870

Incorporated in 1862, the Central Railroad (CRR) was one of San Francisco's earliest horse-drawn streetcar systems, and Car Number 7 is one of the oldest operating examples of a historic street railway vehicle in the West. Retired in the 1890s, Horse Car Number 7 was purchased without running gear, and used as a garden shed by the owner over the next seven decades. In the 1960s, the car was moved to a location near Hyde Street Pier, and eventually relocated to the Society for the

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#42 San Jose Savings Bank, located on West Santa Clara between First and Market Streets, 1874

San Jose Savings Bank, located on West Santa Clara between First and Market Streets, 1874

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#43 San Antonio Street, 1876

San Antonio Street, 1876

San Antonio Street, looking east from Second Street to the State Normal School building in 1876. The First Baptist Tabernacle is at the left with Temple Bikur Cholim, a Jewish synagogue, beyond. At the right of the photograph is the First Congregational Church.

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#44 San Jose Savings Bank, located on West Santa Clara between First and Market Streets, 1874

San Jose Savings Bank, located on West Santa Clara between First and Market Streets, 1874

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#45 View of the Plaza and St. Joseph’s Church towers, 1870

View of the Plaza and St. Joseph's Church towers, 1870

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#46 Churches bordering St. James Park, 1870

Churches bordering St. James Park, 1870

Left to right are the First Presbyterian, Trinity Episcopal, and First Methodist churches, along the south side of St. James Park.

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#47 Church of San Jose, 1875

Church of San Jose, 1875

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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.

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