San Jose was hit hard by the economic collapse of the 1930s. Many businesses failed, workers lost their jobs, and families became poor. Social messiahs offered alluring panaceas promising relief and recovery when the political response to the depression was often confused and ineffective.
The non-contracted workers went on the offensive. Farmers and farm owners engaged in yet another round of total engagement. Thousands of investors and depositors lost everything when businesses and banks throughout the state closed their doors in the 1930s. The number of building permits in 1933 was one-ninth of what it had been eight years earlier. Many landowners lost their farms and their homes. By 1932, unemployment in California reached 28 percent, and one in five Californians was on public assistance.
Series of four photographs from the Grower's Wholesale Market located near the corner of East Taylor Street and North Seventh Street, San Jose. The Mobilgas sign is visible in the bottom right of the first image; the service station was located right next to the market. San Jose Berry & Produce can be seen in the last image.
Students mingle on the quadrangle among the lawns and trees of San Jose State College. On the left is Tower Hall. To the right of Tower Hall is Morris Dailey Auditorium. The tower, auditorium and colonnaded arcade were built of reinforced concrete in 1910. The arcade has since been demolished but the tower and auditorium still survive.
Post Office building under construction on St. James Park, with automobiles parked in front, and Hotel St. James in the background. The street railroad lines can be seen in the middle of the street. The old Post Office building was a Works Progress Administration project designed by Ralph Wyckoff, and this image was likely taken by him.
Businesses of the northeast corner of Second Street and Santa Clara Street include Economy Cleaners, Haig's Jewelry Store, Harold H. Shanley Insurance, Gordon Hatters and Artana Drugs. Most of these establishments were housed on the lower level of the Beach Building. Cars are parked on the streets. The Beach Building was built in 1889 by Tyler Beach and was remodeled in 1913.
The Porter Building stands at the northeast corner of Second and Santa Clara Streets. Several pedestrians are crossing the street while two streetcars meet at the intersection. The Porter Building was demolished in the 1960s and the Pacific Telephone building constructed in its place.
The Ng Shing Gung building was used as a multi-purpose community place for worship, community meeting room, Chinese school, and hostel for visitors without family in Heinlenville. This image is part of the Heinlenville Chinatown Exhibit and shows the temple with guardian effigies during Da Jui, "Feast of the Hungry Ghosts." The huge figures made of paper mache were burned at the last evening of the festival to satisfy the spirits. A reconstruction of the original Ng Shing Gung now houses the Chinese American Historical Museum at History Park.