Victorian San Jose,CA

Thomas Fallon House

This house was built by Thomas Fallon in 1854. A handsome, charismatic figure, Fallon was one of the early San Jose's most prominent citizens: he captained the volunteer company that seized San Jose from the Mexicans, served in the California Battalion of John C. Fremont and, in 1859, was elected mayor. His house, surrounded by an extensive pear orchard and magnificent gardens, was one of San Jose's most impressive residences. The building was enlarged at the turn of the century and adapted for commercial use.

Electric Light Tower

The 237 foot electric light tower that once spanned the intersection of Market and Santa Clara Streets was, when it was completed in 1881, the largest single source of electric light in the country. The brainchild of J.J. Owen, founder of the San Jose Mercury, it was designed to illuminate the entire downtown. While the scheme received tremendous national and international publicity, local reactions were mixed. Nonetheless, the tower at Market and Santa Clara remained in operation until it blew over in a storm in 1915.

Lyndon

Building

John W. Lyndon, a leading Los Gatos businessman, built this structure in 1882. It became the headquarters of the San Jose Mercury (then known as the Times-Mercury) in 1885, when publisher Charles Shortridge moved into offices especially designed for newspaper operation. The vast, loft-like upper floor, which once housed the presses, has since accommodated the Balconades Ballroom and, more recently, the Pacific Fish Company Restaurant.

San Jose Mercury News

The San Jose Mercury News was first published, on this site, on June 20, 1851. Known as the San Jose Weekly Visitor, it was the city's first permanent newspaper. The paper changed owners and mastheads several times before becoming the San Jose Weekly Mercury in 1861. In 1901, J.O. and E. A. Hayes (Hayes Family.html) bought the paper, merging it with the San Jose Herald. Brothers whose vast wealth derived from their Ashland iron mine, they saw the press as a vehicle for political reform. The Hayes family controlled the paper until 1952, when it was purchased by Ridder Publications. In 1974, Knight Newspapers merged with Ridder to form a new company, Knight-Ridder.

Knox-Goodrich Building

This charming commercial structure was built in 1889 by Sarah Knox-Goodrich on property left to her first husband, Dr. William Knox, using sandstone from the quarry owned by her second husband, Levi Goodrich. Both men were important San Jose citizens: Knox with his brother-in-law T. Ellard Beans, established San Jose's first bank; Goodrich was the architect of the Santa Clara County Courthouse. Sarah Knox-Goodrich, a strong advocate of women's rights, organized San Jose's first Women Suffrage Association in 1869. She died in 1903 and was buried between her two husbands in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Lettica Building

This commercial building was named for Letitia Burnett Ryland, daughter of the first American civil governor of California, Peter Hardeman Burnett, and his wife of San Jose councilman C.T. Ryland. Some have speculated that Peter Burnett's election was ensured, in what was then a predominantly bachelor state, by the existence of his three beautiful daughters. Letitia remained in San Jose for the most of her life, long after her father had resigned the governorship. The building that bears her name was designed by Jacob Lenzen and was constructed in 1890.

New Century Block

This splendid structure was built in 1880 by Adolf Pfister, a prominent San Jose businessman who served three times as the city's mayor. The building was added to twice in later years. A fine example of 19th century commercial architecture, it has undergone several interior remodelings and was substantially renovated in 1984-5.

Sainte Claire Club

The Sainte Claire Club was organized in 1888 by a group of distinguished local citizens, including James Phelan-banker, U.S. senator and former mayor of San Francisco. San Jose's oldest men's club has occupied this handsome structure since its construction in 1893. Designed by A. Page Brown, the building has unusual ornamental brick detailing. It was damaged in the 1906 earthquake and restored in 1907.

TOM BLACKMAN'S WALKING TOUR