College of Notre Dame

The sisters of Notre Dame de Namur founded their college on this site in 1851. The facility began modestly but eventually expanded to occupy the entire north side of Santa Clara Street from Almaden Avenue to Santa Theresa Street. A boarding school for young ladies, the College of Notre Dame was known for its high academic standards. In 1868, it became California's first chartered women's college. Encroaching commercial development began, in the 1920's, to threaten the college's bucolic isolation; the campus was moved to Belmont in 1923.


San Jose Academy

The San Jose Academy was founded on this site in 1850, as Edward Bannister's English and Classical School, and held its first graduation ceremony-the earliest in the state-in December, 1851. A private, non-sectarian preparatory school teaching English and the classics, the Academy, while not under the direct control of the Methodist Church, was distinctly Methodist in tone. Its principal, Reverend Edward Bannister, later became president of the University of the Pacific. The San Jose Academy can therefore be considered a forerunner of California's oldest chartered college.

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