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«COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA HISTORIC CONTEXT STATEMENT County of Santa Clara Department of Planning and Development Planning Office ARCHIVES & ...»

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County of Santa Clara

Department of Planning and Development

Planning Office


December 2004

(Revised February 2012)

Page 2 Historic Context Statement

County of Santa Clara

The Valley of Heart’s Delight

The Santa Clara Valley is To those who hold it dear A veritable paradise Each season of the year One loves it best in April When the fruit trees are in bloom And a mass of snowy blossoms Yields a subtle sweet perfume.

When orchard after orchard Is spread before the eyes With the whitest of white blossoms ‘Neath the bluest of blue skies.

No brush can paint the picture No pen describe the sight that one can find in April In the Valley of Heart’s Delight.

—Clara Louise Lawrence Photo Credit (previous page): Mrs. Alice Iola Hare, #639 Cherry Orchard in the Willows, circa 1905, Alice Hare Photo Collection, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley


Heritage Resource Inventory Update Page 3 County of Santa Clara



This report was prepared using the following guidelines and publications:

Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation, Guidelines for Local Surveys: A Basis for Preservation Planning (National Register of Historic Places Bulletin #24), Instructions for Recording Historical Resources (California Office of Historic Preservation)


County of Sant

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INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………………………………....7 HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY…………………………………………….19 GEOGRAPHICAL DEVELOPMENT……………………………………………………………………..49 SUMMARY OF HISTORIC THEMES…………………………………………………………………….82 SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS……………………………………………………………...145 CONTACT INFORMATION……………………………………………………………………………..148 SOURCES CITED AND CONSULTED…………………………………………………………………150

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1.0 INTRODUCTION The County of Santa Clara is one of 27 original county jurisdictions created in 1850 when California became a state. Within its boundaries was the seat of California’s first capital city, San José. The first legislative sessions occurred in the town of San José in 1849 through 1851.

During its early years, Santa Clara County gained a worldwide reputation as an important agricultural region, known as the “Valley of Heart’s Delight.” As the County entered its second century following the Second World War, it continued to be a preferred destination of American westward migration and also began to draw new immigrants from around the world.

As a result of an explosion in urban growth to accommodate this rapid influx of new population, the region lost much of its pastoral setting. This emerging megalopolis, fueled by industrial development, helped to create the new “Silicon Valley” as we know it today.

The present urban and rural landscape of Santa Clara County is diverse, a complex social and economic setting that overlays a rich historic, multi-cultural and natural environment. Beyond the environs of the cities that constitute the urban topology of the county, much of the rural character that was once known as the “Valley of Heart’s Delight” exists today. Contemporary development pressures continue to reduce this rural agricultural economy, and the physical remnants of this historic era of our past may soon be gone.

This historic context statement and related inventory update supplements the documentation of historic resources that have been identified by the County of Santa Clara within other previous survey efforts. The context statement also serves as a tool to better understand the potential for resources that have not yet been listed on the Santa Clara County Heritage Resource Inventory. Further detailed investigations into historic themes and development will append this document over time. Diverse influences, including the multitude of ethnic groups that continue to shape the built environment of Santa Clara County, are yet to be fully understood. Future updates of this context statement will make it more inclusive.

As the region continues to grow, significant physical aspects of our past might be preserved when feasible within the context of community development. Sensitive new development that preserves important historic sites, buildings, objects, and districts provides a social and educational benefit that sustains long-term community identity.

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1.1 PLANNING BACKGROUND Historic resource surveys and historic context statements are technical documents developed by communities throughout the United States to provide a comprehensive planning tool for the identification, registration, and protection of historic properties. Preservation of the nation’s heritage has long been part of the national purpose, and the Federal government has been an active partner in historic preservation since the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1966, Congress called upon the Secretary of the Interior to give maximum encouragement to state governments to development statewide historic preservation programs in passing the National Historic Preservation Act. The National Park Service (NPS) has since provided leadership in enabling this directive, by developing methodologies for survey planning and preservation programs that are outlined in a number of published guidelines, their origins within the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation.

Surveys and their resulting resource inventories provide a basis for sensitive and effective planning decisions that affect the preservation and celebration of the culture of our communities. The quality of resource inventories depend on intensive research into the background of historical patterns of development, understanding and identification of diverse community values associated with the built environment, and comprehensive evaluations that assess the significance of potential resources within the context of their evolution and their continued ability to convey their associations to our past.

The methods for conduct for surveys are specified in National Register Bulletin 24, Guidelines for Local Surveys: A Basis for Preservation Planning. The Secretary of the Interior, through the NPS, has developed the National Register program, and prepared a number of associated bulletins that address the study and registration of the full range of historic resources that community planners may encounter.

The California Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) is responsible for administration of federally and state mandated historic preservation programs in California in partnership with the State Historical Resources Commission, governmental agencies throughout the state such as the County of Santa Clara, and the people of California. Its mission is to preserve and enhance California’s irreplaceable historic heritage as a matter of public interest so that its vital

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legacy of cultural, education, recreational, aesthetic, economic, social, and environmental benefits will be maintained and enriched for present and future generations.

1.1.1 Past Survey Efforts in Santa Clara County The first historic resource survey conducted for the County of Santa Clara occurred in April 1962 and encompassed the greater Santa Clara Valley. The County of Santa Clara Planning Department published the “Preliminary Inventory of Historical Landmarks in Santa Clara County.” This report, the first document of its type in the region, identified 123 buildings and sites of significance in the county. It presented a case for historic preservation consistent with the County’s basic General Plan objectives of community identity and conservation of resources, and it proposed a planning program that would include a County landmarks commission (modeled after previously established commissions in the cities of San José and Santa Clara), an ongoing process of identification and evaluation, and incorporation of a specific plan for historic preservation within the County General Plan, which was to be called “Plan for the Preservation of Historical Landmarks.” The document also identified policy directives such as (1) “public acquisition” which later was institutionalized within the County Parks Charter Fund, (2) use of federal and state funds for park acquisition to include historic sites, (3) “urban renewal” as a means of protection and restoration, (4) promotion of “adaptive reuse” and “relocation” as a means of preservation, including grouping relocated buildings into museum settings (proposed for the fairgrounds and later established on Senter Road) and rural museums such as New Almaden and Henry Coe State Park.

Following the establishment of the County of Santa Clara Historical Heritage Commission in 1972, the County published an official inventory in 1975 called the Heritage Resource Inventory (hereafter called the Inventory) and updated this document in 1979. In 1993, local historical consultant Mardi Bennett conducted the Burbank Historic Home Survey for the Historical Heritage Commission under the management of the office of Board Supervisor Rod Diridon (District 4). Significant properties identified in the Burbank survey were subsequently incorporated into the Inventory. A later update to the Heritage Resource Inventory, led by former Historical Heritage Commissioner Beth Wyman, was published in 1999 and limited Inventory inclusion to properties located within the unincorporated areas of the County.

The survey that constitutes this report and recordation forms (DPR523 series) for individual properties was conducted as a comprehensive update to the 1999 Inventory. The work was

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accomplished in two phases; Phase One updated the documentation to properties in South County that are listed on the Inventory, and included a focused context statement for that region. Phase Two, of which this report concludes the effort, updates the documentation in the remainder of properties in the county that are listed in the Inventory, and includes a countywide statement of historical context, integrating the focused work from the first phase.

1.1.2 Scope of Project – Heritage Resource Inventory Update and Historic Context Statement (2002-2004) Phase One of the inventory update, the South County Survey (South County), consisted of the resurvey of 57 properties listed in the Inventory, and was completed by the firm of Dill Design Group in early 2003. Phase Two consisted of the resurvey of approximately 118 properties in the remainder of the County that were also listed in the Inventory. The preparation of Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) 523 series forms for these listed properties included an intensive investigation into their history, a description of their architectural characteristics and character defining features of the extant buildings and structures located on the properties, and an evaluation of the potential historical and/or architectural significance using the criteria for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Resources.

DPR523 series forms are the standardized historic resource documentation forms developed by the California Office of Historic Preservation, and are the state-recommended forms for recording historical information. The DPR523 series forms are similar to nomination forms for the National Register of Historic Places that have been in use for a number of decades, and include an evaluation of National Register significance criteria as a part of their format.

The type of resources that merit recordation and the level of documentation required are established within a set of guidelines prepared by the Office of Historic Preservation, called Instructions for Recording Historical Resources.

The update includes the preparation of a context statement (this document) that summarizes the history of Santa Clara County within the framework of its built environment. The context statement defines historic periods and themes that are relevant to understanding the history of the region after 1769, when Euro-Americans first entered the area with the intent of establishing permanent settlement.

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Occupation of the region by indigenous peoples began many thousands of years ago, but is not the subject of this report. Development planning that involves archaeological resources must conform to a separate set of methodologies for investigation, identification, recordation, and treatment of prehistoric resources. Therefore, the context statement contains only a brief overview of Santa Clara County’s prehistoric past.

This context statement will serve as the foundation for future landmark designations under the County of Santa Clara’s historic preservation ordinance, and will be used as a planning tool within the development review process of the County Planning Office.

1.1.3 Boundaries of Survey Area The study area consists of the physical land within the jurisdictional boundaries of Santa Clara County, California, exclusive of the fifteen incorporated cities and towns located within its limits. The Geographic Context section provides a detailed visual description of the county in its topographic setting, and the Historical Origins section provides an historical overview of the boundaries as established by the California State Legislature.

Figure 1 Topographic view of boundaries of Santa Clara County

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