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.
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.
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.
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.
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