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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

At the turn of the 20th Century, San Jose was a thriving city of 21,000 surrounded by orchards and fields. The valley’s agricultural industry was centered on finance, retail, manufacturing, and services. The Carnegie Building of the San Jose Public Library opened in 1903. Charles Herrold founded the first commercial radio station in San Jose in 1909.

The 1906 earthquake destroyed many buildings in San Jose. The city was still primarily rural, and its population was much smaller than that of San Francisco. Buildings on the peninsula were not as close together as they were on the peninsula, thus reducing the risk of major fires. Over 100 people were killed when the walls and roof of the all-brick Agnews Asylum (later Agnews State Hospital) collapsed. San Jose High School’s three-story stone and brick structure, which was8 years old, also collapsed, and many other buildings were severely damaged. Numerous other moderate earthquakes have been felt in San Jose without causing much damage. Most earthquake damage is quickly repaired, but some effects may still be visible, such as cracked sidewalks and raised curbs.

Here are some stunning historical photos that show San Jose in the 1900s.

#1 Photo from the Von Dorsten family album. Chinatown, San Jose, 1906

Photo from the Von Dorsten family album. Chinatown, San Jose, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#2 Japanese Cottage at Nippon Mura, on line of the S.J. & Los Gatos Interurban R.R., 1903

Japanese Cottage at Nippon Mura, on line of the S.J. & Los Gatos Interurban R.R., 1903

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#3 San Fernando & Second Street, San Jose, 1906

San Fernando & Second Street, San Jose, 1906

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#4 Annex to Russ House, San Jose, 1906

Annex to Russ House, San Jose, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#5 2nd Street, 1906

2nd Street, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#6 Trinity Episcopal Church, 1902

Trinity Episcopal Church, 1902

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#7 San Jose High School, 1903

San Jose High School, 1903

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#8 Unique Theatre, 1906

Unique Theatre, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#9 Saint James Hotel, San Jose, 1900

Saint James Hotel, San Jose, 1900

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#10 Church at San Jose, 1906

Church at San Jose, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#11 Santa Clara Street, San Jose, 1905

Santa Clara Street, San Jose, 1905

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#12 Horse drawn delivery trucks in front of San Jose Laundry Association Works, 1905

Horse drawn delivery trucks in front of San Jose Laundry Association Works, 1905

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#13 Photo from Von Dorsten family album. Company B leaving San Jose for Spanish American war, 1906

Photo from Von Dorsten family album. Company B leaving San Jose for Spanish American war, 1906

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#14 San Jose Parade with a float by Gas Light & Fuel Co, 1907

San Jose Parade with a float by Gas Light & Fuel Co, 1907

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#15 Street scene at T&D Theatre, San Jose, 1900s

Street scene at T&D Theatre, San Jose, 1900s

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#16 San Jose Rubber Works interior. Left to right Jack Bean, Herb Bean, Charlie Bean, 1905

San Jose Rubber Works interior. Left to right Jack Bean, Herb Bean, Charlie Bean, 1905

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#17 Eilers Music Co., with San Jose Transfer truck, 1900s

Eilers Music Co., with San Jose Transfer truck, 1900s

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#18 San Jose Laundry Association trucks in front of the laundry works about 1906. Corner of Tenth and Saint James Streets.

San Jose Laundry Association trucks in front of the laundry works about 1906. Corner of Tenth and Saint James Streets.

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#19 Oldest theater still in business in San Jose is the Jose, at 64 South Second Street built in 1904 for Monterey investor David Jacks.

Oldest theater still in business in San Jose is the Jose, at 64 South Second Street built in 1904 for Monterey investor David Jacks.

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#20 Downtown San Jose, 1908

Downtown San Jose, 1908

Woman crossing the street as Car #8 travels eastbound on Santa Clara Street at First Street. Wooden streetcars of this type were abandoned by San Jose railroads during the 1920s after the introduction of the Birneys.

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#21 Second San Jose State Normal School building, 1900

Second San Jose State Normal School building, 1900

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#22 The Post Office, from St. James Park, San Jose, 1907

The Post Office, from St. James Park, San Jose, 1907

On reverse: The Post Office, from St. James Park, San Jose, Cal. San Jose is a flourishing city of about 40,000 with unusually fine public buildings for a city of its size.

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#23 Market and San Fernando On margins Post Office, San Jose, 1908

Market and San Fernando On margins Post Office, San Jose, 1908

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#24 Grauman’s Unique Theater, San Jose, 1904

Grauman's Unique Theater, San Jose, 1904

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#25 San Jose showing adobe structures and Fallon House, 1900

San Jose showing adobe structures and Fallon House, 1900

Fallon House in centre of picture taken from the roof of the courthouse building, looking west There are at least 6 adobe building in view.

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#26 Men in front of Grauman’s Unique Theatre, 1904

Men in front of Grauman's Unique Theatre, 1904

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#27 San Jose Normal School quadrangle, 1905

San Jose Normal School quadrangle, 1905

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#28 San Jose Hospital ground-breaking, 1900s

San Jose Hospital ground-breaking, 1900s

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#29 Lowell Grammar School First Grade, 1900s

Lowell Grammar School First Grade, 1900s

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#30 Market Street Station, San Jose, 1907

Market Street Station, San Jose, 1907

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#31 The Italia Hotel, San Jose, 1900

The Italia Hotel, San Jose, 1900

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#32 Knapp Plow Company offices located in downtown San Jose, 1900s

Knapp Plow Company offices located in downtown San Jose, 1900s

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#33 City Hall, San Jose, 1901

City Hall, San Jose, 1901

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#34 Hotel Vendome, San Jose, 1900s

Hotel Vendome, San Jose, 1900s

Opened in 1889, hotel was located on 1st street near Empire. Three-story building, built of redwood, including three towers.

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#35 Letcher Garage on North First Street, San Jose, California, 1905

Letcher Garage on North First Street, San Jose, California, 1905

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#36 House on North San Pedro Street, 1900s

House on North San Pedro Street, 1900s

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#37 Ruins of Agnews Insane Asylum, San Jose, 1906

Ruins of Agnews Insane Asylum, San Jose, 1906

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#38 Enterprise Grocery and Theodore Lenzen Offices, 1906

Enterprise Grocery and Theodore Lenzen Offices, 1906

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#39 Hotel St. James, San Jose, California, 1904

Hotel St. James, San Jose, California, 1904

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#40 Market Street, San Jose, 1907

Market Street, San Jose, 1907

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#41 Lyndon Block-Eaton and Eaton Printing Company 173 West Santa Clara Street San Jose, 1908

Lyndon Block-Eaton and Eaton Printing Company 173 West Santa Clara Street San Jose, 1908

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#42 Parade, South First Street, July 4, 1907

Parade, South First Street, July 4, 1907

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#43 Horse-drawn cart outside Bennett, Patterson & Co. furniture store, 1900

Horse-drawn cart outside Bennett, Patterson & Co. furniture store, 1900

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#44 F. M. Jones Bicycle Store, San Jose, 1906

F. M. Jones Bicycle Store, San Jose, 1906

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#45 President McKinley in St. James Park, 1901

President McKinley in St. James Park, 1901

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#46 Schuetzen Inn, Monterey Road, 1908

Schuetzen Inn, Monterey Road, 1908

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#47 Police Court, San Jose, 1905

Police Court, San Jose, 1905

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#48 Scottish Rite Temple – Cornerstone Ceremony, San Jose, 1909

Scottish Rite Temple - Cornerstone Ceremony, San Jose, 1909

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#49 Berryessa School group posed in front of school building, 1906

Berryessa School group posed in front of school building, 1906

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#50 One of the Mercury News downtown locations, or one of its predecessor newspapers, 1900s

One of the Mercury News downtown locations, or one of its predecessor newspapers, 1900s

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#51 West Hall, University of the Pacific, San Jose, 1908

West Hall, University of the Pacific, San Jose, 1908

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#52 O’Brien’s Candy Factory, Wholesale and Retail, located at 30 South First Street, 1900s

O'Brien's Candy Factory, Wholesale and Retail, located at 30 South First Street, 1900s

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#53 Pasetta family home, San Jose, 1905

Pasetta family home, San Jose, 1905

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#54 O’Connell Brothers Meat Market & Grocery, San Jose, 1908

O'Connell Brothers Meat Market & Grocery, San Jose, 1908

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#55 Two cars of Alum Rock Steam Railroad at Alum Rock Park, San Jose, 1900s

Two cars of Alum Rock Steam Railroad at Alum Rock Park, San Jose, 1900s

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#56 The original Oak Grove School was located on Downer Avenue near Snell. Downer is now Blossom Hill Road in San Jose, 1908

The original Oak Grove School was located on Downer Avenue near Snell. Downer is now Blossom Hill Road in San Jose, 1908

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#57 Court House and Hall of Records, San Jose, 1903

Court House and Hall of Records, San Jose, 1903

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#58 San Francisco From Fairmont Hotel, 1908

San Francisco From Fairmont Hotel, 1908

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#59 First Street, San Jose, 1907

First Street, San Jose, 1907

Union Pacific and Royal Shaving Parlor are shown on right, with horse-drawn carriages and early automobiles on the street.

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#60 Postcard of the Driveway of the Garden City Sanitarium, San Jose, 1900s

Postcard of the Driveway of the Garden City Sanitarium, San Jose, 1900s

Postcard of the Garden City Sanitarium showing the driveway leading to the facility with sanitarium buildings on the right. Individuals are standing at the front of the closest building as well as occupying the balcony.

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#61 Hotel Vendome, San Jose Calif, 1900

Hotel Vendome, San Jose Calif, 1900

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#62 St. James Hotel, Park & McKinley Monument, San Jose, 1909

St. James Hotel, Park & McKinley Monument, San Jose, 1909

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#63 Rose Carnival 1901, Florence Cunningham San Jose State Normal School Float (ca) Market & Santa Clara Streets, 1901

Rose Carnival 1901, Florence Cunningham San Jose State Normal School Float (ca) Market & Santa Clara Streets, 1901

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#64 New Cars of the San Jose and Los Gatos Interurban R. R., 1900s

New Cars of the San Jose and Los Gatos Interurban R. R., 1900s

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#65 Branding Claves near San Jose and Los Gatos Interurban R. R., 1905

Branding Claves near San Jose and Los Gatos Interurban R. R., 1905

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#66 Phelan Building, 1906

Phelan Building, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#67 Lick Stables, 1900

Lick Stables, 1900

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#68 People on the Street After the Devastation, 1906

People on the Street After the Devastation, 1906

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#69 Native Sons Hall, 1906

Native Sons Hall, 1906

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#70 Lord & Westlake’s Stables, 1900

Lord & Westlake's Stables, 1900

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#71 Rail Tracks Cleared, 1906

Rail Tracks Cleared, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#72 Toward State Normal School, 1900

Toward State Normal School, 1900

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#73 Old City Hall, Cogswell monument, 1906

Old City Hall, Cogswell monument, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#74 Stanford Campus, 1906

Stanford Campus, 1906

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#75 Horace Mann School, 1909

Horace Mann School, 1909

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#76 Two story building with cupola, possibly a school, 1905

Two story building with cupola, possibly a school, 1905

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#77 Southern Pacific Railroad depot in Santa Clara, 1900

Southern Pacific Railroad depot in Santa Clara, 1900

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#78 Adults and children at Campbell Union High School event, 1900s

Adults and children at Campbell Union High School event, 1900s

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#79 4th of July Parade, 1909

4th of July Parade, 1909

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#80 Woodrow Undertaking Co, 1900s

Woodrow Undertaking Co, 1900s

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#81 Lick Observatory buildings on top of Mount Hamilton, 1900

Lick Observatory buildings on top of Mount Hamilton, 1900

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#82 West Hall, University of Pacific (Emory Street near Elm), 1902

West Hall, University of Pacific (Emory Street near Elm), 1902

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#83 Asa Adam’s House, San Jose, 1902

Asa Adam's House, San Jose, 1902

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#84 Santa Clara Municipal Gas Works, 1905

Santa Clara Municipal Gas Works, 1905

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#85 Bicycle Race, Agricultural Park, 1905

Bicycle Race, Agricultural Park, 1905

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#86 David Umbarger House, 1909

David Umbarger House, 1909

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#87 Regal Shoes, 1900s

Regal Shoes, 1900s

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#88 View of Los Gatos, 1904

View of Los Gatos, 1904

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#89 Large family in front of house, 1900s

Large family in front of house, 1900s

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#90 Old Glory and Some of Its Children, 1900s

Old Glory and Some of Its Children, 1900s

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#91 Charles Doerr Home at 226 South Second Street, 1909

Charles Doerr Home at 226 South Second Street, 1909

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#92 Second Street, Eilers Music Co. and Lyric Theater, 1900s

Second Street, Eilers Music Co. and Lyric Theater, 1900s

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#93 Hall of Justice, 1906

Hall of Justice, 1906

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#94 Presbyterian Church, 1906

Presbyterian Church, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#95 Power House, Stanford University, 1906

Power House, Stanford University, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#96 Broadway Store on the southeast corner of Broadway and Coe Avenue, 1903

Broadway Store on the southeast corner of Broadway and Coe Avenue, 1903

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#97 Man walking in front of grand house, 1900s

Man walking in front of grand house, 1900s

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#98 Man looking at photographer while standing on brick rubble, second story of brick, 1906

Man looking at photographer while standing on brick rubble, second story of brick, 1906

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#99 Floral Parade, 1900

Floral Parade, 1900

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#100 The Modern School of Business, 72-78 North Second Street; Roley S. Kooser, Plumbers and Tinners, 46 North Second Street, 1906

The Modern School of Business, 72-78 North Second Street; Roley S. Kooser, Plumbers and Tinners, 46 North Second Street, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#101 Sperry Flour Company Building.1900

Sperry Flour Company Building.1900

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#102 Cottage 16-West Side, Agnews Mental Hospital, 1906

Cottage 16-West Side, Agnews Mental Hospital, 1906

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#103 Sunnyvale Civil War Veterans, 1907

Sunnyvale Civil War Veterans, 1907

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#104 Lipe, R. M. Foundry, Caton’s Foundry, 1904

Lipe, R. M. Foundry, Caton's Foundry, 1904

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#105 Tillie’s Catch one day at Capitola, 1906

Tillie's Catch one day at Capitola, 1906

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#106 Train at Station Los Gatos, 1905

Train at Station Los Gatos, 1905

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#107 Auto race on Alum Rock Hill, 1906

Auto race on Alum Rock Hill, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#108 Cyclists with Trophy, 1905

Cyclists with Trophy, 1905

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#109 Rose Carnival Parade, 1901

Rose Carnival Parade, 1901

A horse drawn float, elaborately decorated with flowers, passes by crowds during the Rose Carnival Parade. Spectators can be seen standing on balconies and at second-story windows to watch the parade. The Rose Carnival was part of the festivities surrounding President McKinley's visit.

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#110 Market Street Depot, 1905

Market Street Depot, 1905

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#111 Armory-California National Guard, 240 North Second Street, 1900s

Armory-California National Guard, 240 North Second Street, 1900s

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#112 Elk’s Hall & Meyer Bros. Clothing, 1906

Elk's Hall & Meyer Bros. Clothing, 1906

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#113 Saint Claire Club on Saint James and Second Street, 1905

Saint Claire Club on Saint James and Second Street, 1905

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#114 Boys with drums, marching, 1904

Boys with drums, marching, 1904

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#115 Hotel Vendome and Grounds, 1905

Hotel Vendome and Grounds, 1905

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#116 State Normal School, 1900

State Normal School, 1900

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#117 Santa Clara County Almshouse, formerly O’Toole Farm, 1905

Santa Clara County Almshouse, formerly O'Toole Farm, 1905

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#118 Damage to Main Fire Station, 1906

Damage to Main Fire Station, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#119 Horse-drawn vehicles and employees outside the Kelley Laundry building, 1900s

Horse-drawn vehicles and employees outside the Kelley Laundry building, 1900s

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#120 Gymnasium, Stanford, 1906

Gymnasium, Stanford, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#121 Lick Observatory buildings on Mount Hamilton, 1901

Lick Observatory buildings on Mount Hamilton, 1901

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#122 The building that now houses the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, 1900s

The building that now houses the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, 1900s

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#123 Casino and Wharf at Lake Tahoe, 1908

Casino and Wharf at Lake Tahoe, 1908

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#124 California Nursery at Niles, 1900

California Nursery at Niles, 1900

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#125 Hare family home, 1075 Madison Street, 1907

Hare family home, 1075 Madison Street, 1907

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#126 Phelan Building, Hobson’s Store, San Jose, 1906

Phelan Building, Hobson's Store, San Jose, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#127 San Jose Normal School, 1900

San Jose Normal School, 1900

In the foreground is a curved dirt path leading to the main entrance. To the right is part of the school landscaping. This brick building was built in 1881 to replace an earlier building destroyed by fire. The building seen here was badly damaged in the 1906 earthquake and subsequently demolished.

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#128 San Jose High School, 1908

San Jose High School, 1908

San Jose High School was opened in 1908 to replace an earlier structure destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. The central building flanked by bell towers housed administrative offices and an auditorium. Separate wings on either side housed classrooms. The high school was demolished in the 1950s to make room for expansion of San Jose State College.

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#129 San Jose State Normal School, 1906

San Jose State Normal School, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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#130 First Presbyterian Church, North Second Street, 1906

First Presbyterian Church, North Second Street, 1906

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What San Jose, CA looked like at the Turn of the 20th Century

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