Look Up, San Jose! A Walking Tour of San Jose, California
by Doug Gelbert
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a downloadable walking tour is ready to explore when you are.
Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.
America’s tenth-largest city got under way on November 29, 1777 as El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, the first civilian town in the Spanish colony of Nueva California. After California was granted statehood and following intense lobbying at the Constitutional Convention, the first town also became the first capital. Town leaders hastily purchased a two-story hotel under construction to accommodate the state legislature but an unusually wet winter delayed progress on the building. After holding senate sessions in private houses and slogging through knee-deep muddy streets the disgruntled legislators voted to move the capital from San Jose before the third session convened. California’s first capitol building was left vacant and was destroyed by fire in 1853.
There were efforts to bring the capital back to San Jose over the years but for the most part the town settled in as a farming community supporting the agriculture industry that was exploding in the surrounding Santa Clara Valley. When World II ended the valley was the last vast undeveloped land surrounding San Francisco Bay; the population of San Jose was less than 100,000 in 1950.
The City opened its arms to growth, annexed some areas to provide room for suburbs and the population would grow ten-fold before the 20th century ended. The town would come to encompass almost 180 square miles. The economic engine for the boom came from technology as the San Jose area became home to the largest concentration of highly-educated expertise in the world - more than 6,600 technology companies employ over 250,000 people in the region today.
Despite some of the most amazing growth in United State history, however, the heart of the city has never strayed far from the original assemblage of adobe brick structures in the Pueblo of San Jose and that is where our walking tour of the Capital of Silicon Valley will explore...
- Doug Gelbert, August 2012
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