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San Jose in the 1940s: What San Jose looked like During the World War II

As World War II began, the San Jose economy shifted from agriculture to industrial manufacturing when the United States War Department contracted the Food Machinery Corporation to build 1,000 Landing Vehicle Tracked. In 1943, IBM established its first West Coast branch in San Jose with a downtown punch card plant, and in 1952 opened an IBM Research facility.

San Jose experienced tumultuous times during the Great Depression and the Second World War. Several black, Mexican and Japanese Americans were affected by the racial tension in the neighborhood. Japanese Americans were put into internment during the war, while anti-Mexican violence erupted in 1943 after riots over zoot suits in Los Angeles.

Here are some historical photos that show San Jose, California, during the 1940s.

#1 Hotel De Anza, San Jose, 1949

Hotel De Anza, San Jose, 1949

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#2 San Jose, looking North, 1940

San Jose, looking North, 1940

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#3 Exterior of A.D.M. Cooper’s Egyptian-inspired studio, located near 21st and San Antonio Streets, San Jose, 1940

Exterior of A.D.M. Cooper's Egyptian-inspired studio, located near 21st and San Antonio Streets, San Jose, 1940

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#4 Montgomery Hotel at First and San Antonio Streets, San Jose, 1947.

Montgomery Hotel at First and San Antonio Streets, San Jose, 1947.

The Montgomery Hotel opened at the corner of First and Paseo de San Antonio in 1911. It was designed by San Jose architect and designer, William Binder. It was considered San Jose's first class downtown hotel and in the 1920s, a single room went for approximately $1.50 per night. A private bathroom cost an additional dollar. The Montgomery Hotel suffered damage from the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 and in January 2000, the building was relocated 186 feet south of its original location to First and San Carlos streets.

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#5 Old San Jose Public Library, formerly the post office, currently San Jose Museum of Art, 1944

Old San Jose Public Library, formerly the post office, currently San Jose Museum of Art, 1944

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#6 San Jose Civic Auditorium, 1949

San Jose Civic Auditorium, 1949

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#7 Aerial view of Willow Glen, San Jose, 1940

Aerial view of Willow Glen, San Jose, 1940

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#8 San Jose, looking southwest, 1940

San Jose, looking southwest, 1940

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#9 Modern Creamery at 855 North Thirteenth Street, San Jose, 1940

Modern Creamery at 855 North Thirteenth Street, San Jose, 1940

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#10 The San Jose Municipal Band often played Sunday concerts at Alum Rock Park, 1940

The San Jose Municipal Band often played Sunday concerts at Alum Rock Park, 1940

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#11 San Jose Police Department, Market Street Plaza, 1948

San Jose Police Department, Market Street Plaza, 1948

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#12 YWCA Building, San Jose, California, 1940

YWCA Building, San Jose, California, 1940

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#13 Large oak tree at Alum Rock Park, San Jose, 1940

Large oak tree at Alum Rock Park, San Jose, 1940

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#14 San Jose State College Quad, 1942

San Jose State College Quad, 1942

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#15 Home Economic Building, Dwight Bentel Hall, San Jose State, 1942

Home Economic Building, Dwight Bentel Hall, San Jose State, 1942

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#16 San Jose State Quad from above with students in area, 1947

San Jose State Quad from above with students in area, 1947

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#17 Looking south on First Street towards the Bank of America building, 1949

Looking south on First Street towards the Bank of America building, 1949

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#18 San Jose Civic Auditorium and Mission Taxicabs, 1947

San Jose Civic Auditorium and Mission Taxicabs, 1947

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#19 Former city hall location at West San Antonio and South Market Street, 1949

Former city hall location at West San Antonio and South Market Street, 1949

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#20 San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, 1947

San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, 1947

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#21 Victorian house at 795 Schiele Avenue, 1945

Victorian house at 795 Schiele Avenue, 1945

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#22 Lou’s Village Restaurant exterior, 1947

Lou's Village Restaurant exterior, 1947

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#23 San Jose Civic Auditorium, 1945

San Jose Civic Auditorium, 1945

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#24 San Jose Water Works softball team of 1940

San Jose Water Works softball team of 1940

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#25 Men’s Gymnasium, San Jose State College, 1942

Men's Gymnasium, San Jose State College, 1942

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#26 Dwight Bentel Hall, San Jose State, 1942

Dwight Bentel Hall, San Jose State, 1942

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#27 San Jose State College Tower and Bentel Hall, 1940s

San Jose State College Tower and Bentel Hall, 1940s

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#28 Polhemus St. Overpass, San Jose, 1940

Polhemus St. Overpass, San Jose, 1940

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#29 Arches in front of tower at Dwight Bentel Hall, San Jose State, 1940s

Arches in front of tower at Dwight Bentel Hall, San Jose State, 1940s

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#30 Looking north on First street at San Carlos Street Museum, 1940

Looking north on First street at San Carlos Street Museum, 1940

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#31 Santa Clara Street, looking east, 1940

Santa Clara Street, looking east, 1940

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#32 Window display featuring Cohama fabrics and McCalls patterns at Norris’, 268 South First Street, San Jose, 1948

Window display featuring Cohama fabrics and McCalls patterns at Norris', 268 South First Street, San Jose, 1948

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#33 San Jose State College Tower and Bentel Hall, 1940s

San Jose State College Tower and Bentel Hall, 1940s

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#34 U. S. Post Office, North First Street and St. John, 1944

U. S. Post Office, North First Street and St. John, 1944

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#35 Aerial view of San Jose, looking south from First Street and Julian Street, 1940

Aerial view of San Jose, looking south from First Street and Julian Street, 1940

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#36 Santa Clara County Hall of Records, 1949

Santa Clara County Hall of Records, 1949

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#37 Santa Clara Library & Assessors Feb, 1949

Santa Clara Library & Assessors Feb, 1949

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#38 Willow Glen Grammar School, Spring, 1948

Willow Glen Grammar School, Spring, 1948

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#39 Bedroom at De Anza Hotel, 1947

Bedroom at De Anza Hotel, 1947

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#40 San Jose State College Tower Hall, 1944

San Jose State College Tower Hall, 1944

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#41 Residence, woman walking on sidewalk, San Jose, 1947

Residence, woman walking on sidewalk, San Jose, 1947

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#42 San Jose Airport dedication in 1949

San Jose Airport dedication in 1949

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#43 San Jose hard ball team of 1940 The Missions Jack Davis team, 1940

San Jose hard ball team of 1940 The Missions Jack Davis team, 1940

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#44 A diner restaurant in San Jose, California, 1940

A diner restaurant in San Jose, California, 1940

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#45 5 men sitting on Harley-Davidson motorcycles in front of courthouse, San Jose, 1940

5 men sitting on Harley-Davidson motorcycles in front of courthouse, San Jose, 1940

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#46 City Hall and Library, San Jose, 1940

City Hall and Library, San Jose, 1940

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#47 Sun sweet Campbell Co-operative drier, 1945

Sun sweet Campbell Co-operative drier, 1945

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#48 City Hall Plaza, 1940s

City Hall Plaza, 1940s

Looking down at the old City Hall in Market Street Plaza (now Plaza de Cesar Chavez), with St. Joseph's Cathedral in the far background, the old library (now San Jose Museum of Art) in the center background. Automobiles line the street. The Standard Garage and Trocadero Club can be seen in the lower foreground.

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#49 South First Street, looking north from San Carlos, 1944

South First Street, looking north from San Carlos, 1944

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#50 First Street, Looking North, San Jose, 1944

First Street, Looking North, San Jose, 1944

Looking north on First Street, with Bank of America building and American Trust Company sign visible in the distance. Automobiles are parked along the center and side of the road.

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#51 San Jose skyline, 1940

San Jose skyline, 1940

The Bank of America building, Old Post Office, and St. James Cathedral are visible in the center, with palm trees in the foreground.

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#52 Airport Committee Ground Breaking, 1948

Airport Committee Ground Breaking, 1948

Renzel and the rest of the Airport Committee stand in a field looking at heavy equipment during the ground breaking for the San Jose Municipal Airport.

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#53 Hotel De Anza, San Jose, California, 1949

Hotel De Anza, San Jose, California, 1949

During the 1930s and 1940s the De Anza Hotel was one of the two leading hotels in San Jose. Shown in this 1949 picture is the exterior on West Santa Clara Street between Notre Dame and Santa Teresa Streets.

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#54 Breaking Ground – Municipal Airport, 1948

Breaking Ground - Municipal Airport, 1948

Depicts the Airport Commission viewing heavy equipment at the site of the San Jose Municipal Airport.

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#55 Stevens Creek Boulevard looking east, 1945

Stevens Creek Boulevard looking east, 1945

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#56 Looking east from 2nd floor Willow Street, San Jose, 1949

Looking east from 2nd floor Willow Street, San Jose, 1949

View east from Moore home at 1329 Willow Street towards foothills dusted with snow. A housing subdivision appears to be in the foreground.

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#57 Nectarine Tree in Bloom Spring, San Jose, 1949

Nectarine Tree in Bloom Spring, San Jose, 1949

Building on the right is the Waterman Building, 52 South First Street

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#58 L. W. Prouse & Co. Poultry and Dairy Feeds building, car parked in front, at 1290 East Santa Clara Street, San Jose, May 18, 1947.

L. W. Prouse & Co. Poultry and Dairy Feeds building, car parked in front, at 1290 East Santa Clara Street, San Jose, May 18, 1947.

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#59 8 mile house in Coyote CA, was 8 miles from downtown San Jose; and was a stopping point for carriages and wagons, 1940

8 mile house in Coyote CA, was 8 miles from downtown San Jose; and was a stopping point for carriages and wagons, 1940

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#60 Grace Evelyn Hodges Wahrer the Wahrer home pictured was at 1086 Hazelwood Ave. San Jose, 1940s

Grace Evelyn Hodges Wahrer the Wahrer home pictured was at 1086 Hazelwood Ave. San Jose, 1940s

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#61 Sodality Meat Market (596 Auzerais Avenue), 1946

Sodality Meat Market (596 Auzerais Avenue), 1946

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#62 USO House, San Jose, 1943

USO House, San Jose, 1943

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#63 Entrance to Food Machinery and Chemical Corporation building, San Jose,1940

Entrance to Food Machinery and Chemical Corporation building, San Jose,1940

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#64 The Statehouse Replica at Market Street Plaza, San Jose., 1949

The Statehouse Replica at Market Street Plaza, San Jose., 1949

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#65 Spring Time, Municipal Rose Garden, San Jose, 1940s

Spring Time, Municipal Rose Garden, San Jose, 1940s

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#66 Robinson and Sons Co., 500-510 South First Street, San Jose, 1942

Robinson and Sons Co., 500-510 South First Street, San Jose, 1942

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#67 Dr. Reverand Clarence Sands, First Baptist Church in San Jose in front of a group of people sitting on park benches, 1945

Dr. Reverand Clarence Sands, First Baptist Church in San Jose in front of a group of people sitting on park benches, 1945

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#68 Statue of President McKinley in St. James Park, San Jose, 1940

Statue of President McKinley in St. James Park, San Jose, 1940

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#69 National Food Market, 598 S. 1st St, San Jose, interior showing the employees behind the counter, 1947

National Food Market, 598 S. 1st St, San Jose, interior showing the employees behind the counter, 1947

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#70 Church located at 60 North Third. George D. Lannin Company real estate and insurance is next to it at 34 North Third, 1949

Church located at 60 North Third. George D. Lannin Company real estate and insurance is next to it at 34 North Third, 1949

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#71 Peter Lassen Monument, 1940

Peter Lassen Monument, 1940

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#72 Church located at 60 North Third. George D. Lannin Company real estate and insurance is next to it at 34 North Third, 1949

Church located at 60 North Third. George D. Lannin Company real estate and insurance is next to it at 34 North Third, 1949

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#73 San Tomas School, Campbell, 1949

San Tomas School, Campbell, 1949

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#74 Saratoga Saloon at San Carlos Street and Meridian Avenue, 1940s

Saratoga Saloon at San Carlos Street and Meridian Avenue, 1940s

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#75 Murphy Sabatino’s Grocery, Red and White Food Store at 705 North Thirteenth Street, San Jose, 1940s

Murphy Sabatino's Grocery, Red and White Food Store at 705 North Thirteenth Street, San Jose, 1940s

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#76 First St., looking south from Santa Clara, 1940

First St., looking south from Santa Clara, 1940

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#77 First Street businesses, 1941

First Street businesses, 1941

Looking down First Street, with the Bank of America (Bank of Italy) building in the background on the right-hand side and the American Trust Company on the left. Automobiles are parked along the street. The State Theatre is in the foreground on the left, showing "Virginia" (released 1941). The Mission Theatre is in the right center.

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#78 San Jose Street Department workers during California’s Admission Day parade, 1949

San Jose Street Department workers during California's Admission Day parade, 1949

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#79 San Jose Looking south with Cahill railroad station, 1940

San Jose Looking south with Cahill railroad station, 1940

View of San Jose looking south with Southern Pacific's Cahill railroad station centered in the frame. To the right of the large Cahill complex, the small frieght depot of the Western Pacific Railroad can be viewed. In 1922 to break the railroad monopoly held by SP in Santa Clara Valley, the WP built a branch line into San Jose terminating at this small freight depot on Santa Clara Street. Also in the photo, left, are natural gas storage tanks. museum has 3 copies

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#80 Santa Clara County Vegetable Growers Association Display, 1945

Santa Clara County Vegetable Growers Association Display, 1945

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#81 Stanford Art Gallery & Memorial Hall, 1943

Stanford Art Gallery & Memorial Hall, 1943

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#82 The Student Union at Stanford University, 1943

The Student Union at Stanford University, 1943

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#83 Eberhardt Tannery Building in Santa Clara, 1947.

Eberhardt Tannery Building in Santa Clara, 1947.

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#84 Neighborhood War Garden, 1943

Neighborhood War Garden, 1943

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#85 Hotel De Anza Tap Room, 1947

Hotel De Anza Tap Room, 1947

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#86 Funeral for Juan in San Jose, 1940s

Funeral for Juan in San Jose, 1940s

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#87 Hall of Justice, North Market Street and St. James, 1944

Hall of Justice, North Market Street and St. James, 1944

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#88 Bonn’s Candy Factory, 1949

Bonn's Candy Factory, 1949

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#89 Polhemus House being moved, 1945

Polhemus House being moved, 1945

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#90 University Library and Hoover Library, 1943

University Library and Hoover Library, 1943

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#91 O’Connor Sanitarium, 1946

O'Connor Sanitarium, 1946

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#92 Alum Rock Pagoda, 1945

Alum Rock Pagoda, 1945

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#93 Back view of wooden house, 1940

Back view of wooden house, 1940

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#94 Polhemus house and Neighborhood War Garden, 1940s

Polhemus house and Neighborhood War Garden, 1940s

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#95 Horses coming around the last bend at Sheriff’s Posse Grounds, 1947

Horses coming around the last bend at Sheriff's Posse Grounds, 1947

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#96 Front of Edwin Markham House, 1942

Front of Edwin Markham House, 1942

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#97 Side view of wooden house, 1940

Side view of wooden house, 1940

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#98 Santa Clara County Courthouse, 1944

Santa Clara County Courthouse, 1944

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#99 The Merry Mart interior, 1731 Park Avenue, 1947

The Merry Mart interior, 1731 Park Avenue, 1947

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#100 Economy Cleaners in the Tyler Beech Building, Second and Santa Clara Streets, 1940s

Economy Cleaners in the Tyler Beech Building, Second and Santa Clara Streets, 1940s

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#101 California Packing Corporation, Plant No. 35, 1940

California Packing Corporation, Plant No. 35, 1940

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#102 Dr. Benjamin Cory House, 435 South Second Street, 1947

Dr. Benjamin Cory House, 435 South Second Street, 1947

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#103 Normandin’s sold DeSoto and Plymouth cars and trucks, 1947

Normandin's sold DeSoto and Plymouth cars and trucks, 1947

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#104 Alum Rock Park Picnic Participants, 1940s

Alum Rock Park Picnic Participants, 1940s

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#105 Bank of America building, South First Street, 1944

Bank of America building, South First Street, 1944

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#106 Abandoned Trolley Car 105., 1940s

Abandoned Trolley Car 105., 1940s

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#107 F.H. Dutra Farm Equipment Company at 21 South River Street, 1940s

F.H. Dutra Farm Equipment Company at 21 South River Street, 1940s

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#108 First and Santa Clara Streets, 1940s

First and Santa Clara Streets, 1940s

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#109 John Bean Manufacturing Co. building. Fleet of trucks parked along street, 1940s

John Bean Manufacturing Co. building. Fleet of trucks parked along street, 1940s

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#110 Murphy Avenue, Sunnyvale, 1945

Murphy Avenue, Sunnyvale, 1945

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#111 West Santa Clara Street USO building, 1940s

West Santa Clara Street USO building, 1940s

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#112 Guadalupe Mines, Mine Head and Hoist, 1940

Guadalupe Mines, Mine Head and Hoist, 1940

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#113 Normandins DeSoto/Plymouth dealer 405 West Santa Clara Street, 1945

Normandins DeSoto/Plymouth dealer 405 West Santa Clara Street, 1945

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#114 Trays of Drying Prunes, 1946

Trays of Drying Prunes, 1946

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#115 Guadalupe Mine, Miner’s Cabin, 1940

Guadalupe Mine, Miner's Cabin, 1940

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#116 Whisman Elementary (Stierling Road and Charleston Road), 1948

Whisman Elementary (Stierling Road and Charleston Road), 1948

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#117 St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church 1941

St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church 1941

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#118 Normandin’s sold DeSoto and Plymouth cars and trucks, 1940s

Normandin's sold DeSoto and Plymouth cars and trucks, 1940s

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#119 Hayes Mansion front entrance with automobile parked in front, 1940s

Hayes Mansion front entrance with automobile parked in front, 1940s

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#120 Mounted Unit in Admission Day Parade, 1949

Mounted Unit in Admission Day Parade, 1949

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#121 Cleaning the library clock tower, 1944

Cleaning the library clock tower, 1944

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#122 Children and adult prune pickers posing with full buckets, 1940

Children and adult prune pickers posing with full buckets, 1940

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#123 Anglo California Bank, Market and Santa Clara Streets, San Jose, 1949

Anglo California Bank, Market and Santa Clara Streets, San Jose, 1949

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#124 View of San Jose from North First Street Looking South, 1940

View of San Jose from North First Street Looking South, 1940

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#125 The Edwin Markham House, 1947

The Edwin Markham House, 1947

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#126 Masonic Temple, Feb 1949

Masonic Temple, Feb 1949

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#127 Bank of San Jose / Beans Building, 1946

Bank of San Jose / Beans Building, 1946

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#128 Lincoln at Minnesota Spring 1949

Lincoln at Minnesota Spring 1949

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#129 Looking north on First Street, 1949

Looking north on First Street, 1949

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#130 Campbell Bros. Sunland service station, 1940s

Campbell Bros. Sunland service station, 1940s

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#131 3rd & San Fernando Street, July 1949

3rd & San Fernando Street, July 1949

Corner of Third Street and San Fernando. The Parker House (98 South Third) is on the corner. Gordon's Sport Shop is in the background (121 East San Fernando).

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