Santa Clara County History

History of Santa Clara County


County Government and Good Roads--The Transportation Facilities of the Early Days--History of Various Important Road and Railway Enterprises--The Rise and Fall of Toll Roads--Early Modes of Transportation--First Telegraph Line.

There is no better index of the character of a people than the nature of the laws and the manner in which they are administered. As a rule the California codes closely follow the codes of New York. but in matters of state, and especially of county government there are many vital differences. An intelligent examination will show that all the best experience of the older states has been embodied in the California legislative laws, for hither came, in the early days, some of the brightest minds in the legal profession at a time when the laws were ready to be made on the most approved plans. It is hard hard to budge an established system of government, even when its defects are apparent. California, therefore, having few laws and no prejudices in early days, was ready to profit by all that had been learned in the older communities.

Down to 1879, the state had moved along under the constitution of 1863, but the growing power of certain strong corporations and the large influx of Chinese brought about a revolution in politics. The working classes asserted themselves and in 1879 a new constitution was adopted that radically changed not only many of the vital principles of the laws, but at the same time provided great changes in the legislative branches of the government. Some of these changes went into effect by the terms of the constitution (such as the abolition of District, County and Probate courts and the establishment in their place of the Superior Court), but others, particularly those governing county and municipay [sic] legislative bodies, required action by the Legislature. Such action was soon taken, but working under the new constitution was an experimental business, and the acts passed for those purposes were declared by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional. It was not until 1883 that a law providing for a uniform system of county government was passed that stood the test of the courts. Since then, several amendments, relating principally to county officers and their emuneration, have been passed, but the general system of government has not been impaired.

As the constitution iequires that all laws shall be uniform in their operation, and as special legislation of all kinds is prohibited, a general system of county government is provided; but as some counties are more densely populated than others, and as there-fore there had to be a variation in the number of county officers, the counties were divided into classes, according to population, the only material difference in the laws for the various classes being the number of officers provided for, the law for the administration of the county affairs in all the counties being the same. This plan greatly simplified matters in many ways, especially in the determination by the higher courts of vexatious problems that occasionally arise. Nearly every problem of consequence has already been determined, so that now the business of all the counties proceeds on established lines.

The judicial branch of the county government is the Superior Court. Santa Clara County, according to class, is provided with three judges. They divide the work between themselves, handling probate, civil and criminal cases. The officers of the Superior Court are the county clerk, sheriff and district attorney. These, of course, and especially the clerk, have multifarious duties apart from those appertaining to the court. Santa Clara County is Republican in politics, but in county elections politics cuts small figure, so that the offices are divided between the Republicans and the Democrats. In 1920 the Republicans held the sheriff's, the surveyor's, the treasurer's, the superintendent of schools' and the coroner's offices, while the Democrats held the offices of clerk, tax collector, assessor, district attorney and auditor. All the officers hold four years, except the judges, who hold six years.

The board of supervisors takes care of the finances of the county schools. The county superintendent is Miss Agnes E. Howe and the following are the members of the county, board of education: Francis Gallimore, Santa Clara; J. E. Hancock (president), San Jose; Robert Loosemore, Los Gatos; W. P. Cramsie, San Jose; Agnes E. Howe (secretary), San Jose. There are ninety-one schools and 350 teachers in the county, exclusive of San Jose. The school houses are handsome, well-built and commodious structures, with up-to-date appointments.

At the head of the administrative department of the county government stands the board of supervisors. The county is divided into five districts on the basis of population. Hence it follows that some districts are much larger in area than others; some are wholly in the valley; others partly in the mountains; some include the cities of the county, which have separate governments of their own and manage their own roads, schools and taxes, while others have to be adjusted and managed in the most skillful and intelligent manner so that common justice is done and a uniformity of public interest preserved. The system, therefore, is far more complicated than the uninformed are aware of.

The board is composed of five members, one from each district, the districts electing their own members. These elections are so regulated that at least two of the members on any elected board shall already have been in office two years, thus securing a constant quantity of experience. This is a very important feature. A board composed entirely of new members might easily get into trouble through mistakes. The duties of the board are intricate. It must establish school districts, fix boundaries and provide money; it must take care of the roads, fix the tax rate, care for and maintain the county buildings, almshouse and infirmary; provide for the inspection of orchards, for the care of the county sick, infirm and poor; make provision for every need of the county, fill vacancies in county offices, declare the result of county elections. make appropriations for various humanitarian and other purposes, sit as a board of equalization, and perform such other duties as befit the guardian of the county's welfare. The maintenance and establishment of good roads is one of the most important of the board's duties, and it may be said without fear of contradiction that in no county of the state has this work been more satisfactorily carried out. The preliminaries for road work are entrusted to the county surveyor. During the incumbency of Surveyor Irving Ryder (seven years) ninety-eight miles of paved roads have been completed and in 1922 contracts were let for sixteen additional miles. Before his time the county had but twenty-two miles of completed paved roads. This does not include the state highway of about seventy-five miles, which runs from Palo Alto on the northwest side of the bay to San Jose and on to the southern end of the county at Sargent's Station; and from a short distance beyond Milpitas on the north to San Jose and on to Los Gatos. The beginning of the good roads movement came with the advent of the automobile. At first the supervisors made experiments in road paving, but all proved failures until the present concrete system was tried. Nearly all the roads in the county are paved with concrete. Other material, oil macadam, is used on some of the orchard roads and excellently answers all purposes. During the fiscal year 1919-1920 the road and bridge improvements of the county cost $582,000.

The history of road building in Santa Clara County shows that the matter of furnishing easy and convenient means of communication between the different sections of the county has been an important question before the county government since its organization. The demand for good roads has been met, almost before it was expressed, and the result of this policy, long continued with a liberal spirit, is seen in the broad, smooth, well-kept paved highways reaching to every part of the valley, winding through the orchards, among the foothills and extending over the mountains. These roads are watered during the summer months, making them always comfortable for travel.

Before the Americans came into possession in Santa Clara County, there were practically no roads. Travel was chiefly performed on horseback, and for this a narrow trail was sufficient. Where the ox-carts ran there were tracks, a little wider, but they had no legal existence as roads. There being no fences and the country being used mainly for grazing, there was no necessity for the warning to "keep off the grass," and in going from one point to the other, the route was generally an air-line, except where intervening water courses compelled the traveler to seek an easy ford or crossing, or where opposing hills required a circuit to be made. Even when wagons first came into use, this system was kept up, and in the winter time, when the ground was wet and soft, the wagon tracks ran parallel to each other to such an extent that it was a common saying that the road from San Jose to San Francisco was three miles wide. With the Americans came a different system. About the first order made by the county government after its organization was in reference to public roads. The order is of interest, as it established the first highways in the county. It was made by the Court of Sessions on July 6, 1850, and is as follows:

"It is ordered by the court that the following roads be, and they are hereby declared, public highways within and for the County of Santa Clara, to-wit:

"First--A road commencing at the City of San Jose and running where the present road now runs, by James Murphy's, and from thence to the right of Lucencia Higuera's ranch through the Mission of San Jose to the county line, where the road crosses the Arroyo Delmaya at Sunol's ranch.

"Second--Also a road commencing at the City of San Jose, at First or Monterey Street, and running where the road now runs to San Juan, until it reaches the county line.

"Third--Also a road commencing at the City of San Jose, at Santa Clara Street, and running where the present road now runs, to the Mission of Santa Clara, and from thence, I)v the left-hand road, to the old Indian village, thence by Busard's to S. Robles', and from thence to where the present road runs to the county line.

"Fourth--Also a road commencing at the City of San Jose, at Santa Clara Street, and to run where the present road now runs, to Santa Cruz, through Fernandez' ranch, by Jones' mill to the county line." The Jones' mill referred to is the present town of Los Gatos.

The third specification in the order above set forth refers to the road to San Francisco. S. Robles' ranch being the present town of Mountain View. The road includes the Alameda, famous in song and story. This avenue was laid out by the Fathers of the Mission of Santa Clara. The trees were planted by Father Catala, the work being performed by the Indians under his instruction. There were originally three rows of trees, one on each side and one in the center. The ground was moist and full of adobe, which, when yet, made traveling troublesome. Ditches were made for the purpose of drainage, but they but imperfectly accomplished their object. The shade of the trees excluded the sunshine and prevented evaporation. While during the summer months the Alameda was a most charming drive, for four or five months in the year it was almost impassable for vehicles. Travelers passing between Santa Clara and San Jose were compelled to seek the side of the road and often make a circuit of four or five miles. After dark it was not unusual for people to lose their way and be compelled to pass the night in the open air.

To meet this trouble the county government opened another road by way of what is note known as Union Avenue, back of the Fair Grounds, now Hanchett Park. This did not entirely obviate the difficulties, and in 1862 a franchise was granted to a company called "The Alameda Turnpike Company," granting it the privilege of collecting toll on the Alameda, the company to keep the road in good condition for travel. This company erected gates, but owing to the nature of the soil could never make the road good in all its parts at all seasons. Many complaints were made and finally, in 1868, the county purchased the franchise of the company and declared the road free. The price paid by the county was $17,737.50. In 1870 the report went abroad that the road occupied more ground than belonged to it, and that several feet on the south side was government land and subject to preemption. One night a gang of squatters carried lumber out on the road and enclosed strips of land on the south side, and in the morning many of the residents found themselves shut off from the highway. The squatters, however, had nothing but their labor for their pains, as they were compelled to abandon their claims unconditionally. To prevent a recurrence of this dispute an Act of Congress was procured in 1871 granting the county a right-of-way for the road, 115 feet wide and defining its location. Accurate official surveys were made and granite monuments placed so that the exact lines should always be preserved. The final location was made in 1873. After this date extraordinary efforts were made to keep the road in repair and maintain its beauty. These efforts were measurably successful. One of the greatest obstacles in the way of improvement was the shade cast by the center row of trees, and propositions for their removal were made from time to time. But each proposition was met by a remonstrance from the people, who looked upon the gnarled willows as a link connecting the past with the present, and although many of the trees had died and others were in advanced stages of decay, they were retained. Finally, in 1887, a proposition was made to construct an electric railroad along the center of the highway. In view of this improvement the people consented to part with the trees, and in the same year they were removed. Since then the avenue from San Jose to Santa Clara has been paved with concrete, thus forming a link in the long concrete-paved road from San Jose to San Francisco.

Santa Clara Avenue, or Alum Rock Avenue, as it is generally called, is the beautiful avenue from San Jose to the Alum Rock Springs in the canyon of the Penetencia, east of town. The original road was established by the board of supervisors in June, 1866. In 1872 an act was passed by the Legislature authorizing the city of San Jose to survey and improve a road to be known as "Santa Clara Avenue," running from the eastern limits of the city to the city reservation in the eastern foothills. The act provided for a board of commissioners to be appointed by the governor, with power to superintend the work of construction and select a tract of 400 acres in the canyon for a public park. To construct and improve the road and park, a tax was provided for all property in the city and all property lying within three-quarters of a mile on each side of the proposed avenue. This tax was to be ten cents on the hundred dollars for the first year and five cents per year for the next three years, to be levied by the city and county as other taxes are levied and collected. With this money the road was constructed and trees planted. At the end of four years, when the special tax expired, the road was kept up from the road fund of the road districts, in which the avenue was situated until 1878, when an act was passed by the Legislature authorizing the board of supervisors to pay these expenses from the current expense fund. Today all the roads leading to the park entrance are maintained by the county, while the roads inside the park are kept up by the city, which also pays for the improvement and maintenance of the park.

Saratoga Avenue was created at the same session of the Legislature, and in the same manner as Santa Clara Avenue, except that the act provided that the road should be 100 feet wide and that the special tax should be levied and collected by the trustees of the town of Santa Clara. The commissioners began work, laid out and opened the road, but some of the outside property owners protested against paying the tax. The objection was that it was an unconstitutional assessment, inasmuch as it was to be levied and collected by officers not elected for the purpose. The courts decided the objection to be valid and the road went into the hands of the county government as a public highway, and all improvements were paid for from the road fund of the district. In spite of the fact that there was no special revenue, the highway has been thoroughly improved and now it is one of the finest paved roads in the county.

In early days there seemed to be an impression that the best way to improve the county roads was to grant franchises for toll companies, who were to keep the roads in repair in consideration of the privilege of collecting tolls. The argument used was that the people who used the roads ought to pay the expense of maintaining them. Acting on this proposition, many such franchises were granted, some by the board of supervisors and some by the Legislature. The tollgate on the Alameda was the outgrowth of this idea.

In 1861 the San Jose and Alviso Turnpike Company secured a franchise to erect gates and collect tolls on the road from San Jose to Alviso. In 1863 the franchise was purchased by the county for $5,000 and the road declared a public highway. In 1867 the Saratoga and Pescadero Turnpike Company received a franchise for a toll road over the mountains from Saratoga. In 1880 the franchise was purchased by the county for $5,000 and the name changed to the "Congress Springs" road. The Gilroy and Watsonville road was a toll road in early days, but was declared a public highway in 1874.

The Santa Cruz road from Los Gatos over the mountains was a toll road under a franchise from the state up to 1878, when it was declared a public highway by the board of supervisors. The company resisted the action of the board and attempted to maintain its gates. This caused considerable excitement and threatened serious trouble. The teamsters went in a body and tore the gate down. The company fought the matter in the courts and lost. The purchase of the Pacheco Pass road wiped out the last toll road in the county.

The most prominent, if not the most popular, highway in the county is the Mount Hamilton road, or Lick Avenue. It has a worldwide fame for the reason that it leads to the great Lick Observatory and because it is one of the best mountain roads in the world. In September, 1875, James Lick addressed the board of supervisors, saying that he would locate his observatory on Mount Hamilton if the county would construct a first-class road to the summit, and if the county had not sufficient funds on hand to accomplish the task he would advance the money and take the county's bonds for the same. The proposition was accepted and on October 4, 1875, a preliminary survey was ordered. The committee on survey reported that the construction of the road, including bridges, would costs $43,385. Mr. Lick then deposited $25,000 in the Commercial & Savings Bank as a guaranty that he would stand by his proposition. A. T. Herrmann was appointed engineer for the work and on Februarv 8, 1876, the contract for construction was let to E. L. Derby. Up to this time the work had gone on with great expedition, but now, the people having had time to talk the matter over, considerable doubt was expressed as to the advisability of the enterprise. It was argued that the county might go to great expense in building the road and that in the end Mr. Lick might change his mind in regard to the location of the observatory. In that event the county would have a very expensive road that would be of very little practical use. The majority of the board had very little doubt of Mr. Lick's good faith, but in order to satisfy the popular demand they arranged matters so that Mr. Lick deposited a further sum of $25,000, subject to warrants drawn for the construction of the road, and agreed to take county bonds therefor, payable when the observatory was completed on the mountain.

When this point was settled an oppositon was developed from another source. W. N. Furlong, as chairman of the board, refused to sign the contract with Derby, but finally consented under protest. The protest claimed that there was no authority of law for building the road in this manner, as the statute required all money levied in any road district to be expended in the district paying the same; that there was no law compelling the county at large to pay for a road, and that the county had no authority to enter into a contract with Mr. Lick to advance the money. The board, to satisfy the former objection, passed a resolution that the Legislature would be asked to pass an act authorizing the county to issue bonds to the amount of $120,000, of which $50,000 should be applied to the indebtedness of the several road districts in the county, and the balance used to pay the warrants drawn for the construction of the proposed road. Thus this difficulty was disposed of. There were numerous minor obstacles to contend with which caused much trouble and vexation to the promoters of the enterprise, but they were finally disposed of. Up to May 22, 1876, the sum of $45,115.34 had been paid on Derby's contract. In the meantime there was great dissatisfaction with Derby's operations, and he had been compelled to assign his contract to his bondsmen, who had established a trust for their protection, drawing the money on the contract and paying the contractor's verified bills. This dissatisfaction caused the board to appoint a committee to investigate the work. The report showed grave misconduct by the contractor. In September the contract was declared forfeited and on October 5, 1876, the board authorized its committee to go on with the work. This the committee did, employing Messrs. Drinkwater and Swall as superintendents. On January 9, 1877, the Lick board of trustees and the supervisors made an official inspection of the road, and afterwards the trustees declared officially that the work had been done in a satisfactory manner and that the road met all of Mr. Lick's requirements. The inspection was a general holiday throughout the county, there being about 5,000 visitors to the summit of the mountain on that day. On January 13, 1877, the road was declared to be fully completed, the total cost being $73,458.88. Of this amount $27,339,87 was in outstanding warrants against the general road fund. An act was passed in the Legislature of 1878 authorizing the board of supervisors to issue bonds to pay these warrants and accrued interest, the bonds to bear no interest, and to be payable when the observatory was practically completed. The gentlemen composing the board of supervisors during the time the Mount Hamilton road was in course of construction were: 1875--W. N. Furlong, chairman; J. M. Battee, J. W. Boulware, A. Chew, Abram King, H. M. Leonard, William Paul. 1876--H. M. Leonard, chairman; S. F. Ayer, J. M. Battee, A. Chew, W. N. Furlong, Abram King, W. H. Rogers. 1877-78--Same as in 1876, with the exception that J. M. Battee was chairman.

Under Mexican rule the transportation of passengers was almost exclusively on horseback. Women and children would occasionally take passage for short distances in the rude carts of that time, but journeys generally, whether long or short, were performed in the saddle. As the foreigners came in they adopted the same custom, for the reason there was no other means of conveyance. When affairs became settled after the Mexican war and the country began to be settled by immigrants from the states, other methods of transportation for passengers and freight were looked for. Boats to ply between San Francisco and Alviso were secured and connection with them from San Jose was made with wagons. The cost for each passenger for this trip was thirty-five dollars.

In April, 1850, Messrs. Ackley and AIorrison put on a line of stages to run through to San Francisco, and in the same spring John W. Whisman put on a line to run to San Jose. Trips were made tri-weekly by each line, thus giving a daily stage each way. The fare was thirty-two dollars and the schedule time was nine hours. In September of that year Hall & Crandall purchased Whisman's route. The roads became so bad in the winter that the stages were withdrawn and travel to San Francisco went by way of Alviso.

Two steamboats, the Wm. Robinson and New Star, furnished the water transportation. This was a great improvement over the old mustang route, but was not quite satisfactory to the people of the pueblo. Early in January, 1851, a meeting was called for the purpose of taking steps toward building a railroad to San Francisco. The meeting was largely attended and very enthusiastic. At this time the road to Santa Clara along the Alameda was impassable, and to reach that town from San Jose a circuit of about six miles was required, while passengers to San Francisco were compelled to work their passage for about half the distance. Under these circumstances it is not surprising that the meeting should unanimously declare in favor of the railroad. Resolutions to this effect were adopted and books opened for subscriptions to the capital stock. Some subscriptions were made and W. J. Lewis was appointed to make the survey and estimate of cost. The survey was completed in December and the estimate presented. The total cost to put the road into operation amounted to $1,539,126.17. These figures seemed to have a depressing effect on the railroad enthusiasm of the people, for no more was heard of the matter for several years.

In July, 1851, the stage fare to San Francisco was reduced to ten dollars and to Monterey to twenty-five dollars. In March, 1852, Messrs. Reed and Kendall organized an express to run between San Jose and San Francisco by way of Alviso. On April 11, 1853, the boiler of the Jenny Lind, a steamer on the Alviso route, exploded with disastrous effect. She had left Alviso with 150 passengers, among them many prominent citizens of San Jose. When about opposite of what is now Redwood City the explosion occurred, killing many and wounding others. Among those killed were J. D. Hoppe, Charles White and Bernard Murphy of San Jose. This accident spread a gloom over the community. A public meeting was called in San Jose and resolutions expressing sympathy with the afflicted were adopted.

In October, 1853, the first telegraph line, connecting San Francisco with San Jose, was built. It was a great mystery to the native population, some of whom thought the Americans had all turned Catholics and were erecting innumerable crosses as a testimony of their faith. The establishment of telegraphic communication revived the desire for a railroad, but no effective steps were taken except an ordinance passed by the common council granting St. James Park for depot grounds. In 1856 an omnibus line was established between San Jose and Santa Clara by the Crandall brothers, and in 1857 a weekly express to Sonora was put on by W. H. Hoy. The growth of business in San Jose and the development of the surrounding country brought the railroad question again to the front in 1859. A meeting was held in February to discuss the question of building a short line to Alviso to connect with fast boats at that port. Estimates were made and books were opened, but before anything was done in a practical way another proposition was made and the work of promotion was suspended.

A company had been organized in San Francisco to build a railroad to San Jose via San Mateo and Redwood City. This company wanted Santa Clara County to take $200,000 worth of the stock of the enterprise. It was found impossible to raise this amount by individual subscriptions, and in 1861 an act was secured from the Legislature authorizing the county, through the board of supervisors, to subscribe for this amount of stock, provided that the people, at a regularly called election, should endorse the measure. The election resulted in a majority of 722 favorable to the project. No time was lost and on May 25 the supervisors made the subscription and ordered the issuance of bonds for the payment of the same. These bonds bore interest at the rate of seven per cent per annum and were payable in fifteen years. The work of building the road commenced immediately and on January 16, 1864, the road was completed and formally opened with a grand excursion from San Francisco and way towns to San Jose. There was great rejoicing when the first train arrived. Flags were hoisted and everybody took a holiday.

The county now had a railroad, but it also had an indebtedness of $200,000, on which it was paying a large interest. The question was soon mooted as to whether it would not be good policy to sell the railroad stock owned by the county and apply the proceeds toward paying this debt. As the stock was paying no dividends, an affirmative conclusion was soon reached. The Legislature was appealed to and in April, 1864, an act was passed authorizing the county to sell the stock and to apply the proceeds to the redemption of county bonds. In November, 1864, B. G. Lathrop offered to buy the stock and pay $200,000 in currency. As these were Civil War times, the currency would be equivalent to $170,000 in gold. The proposal, however, was accepted, but Lathrop neglected to make his offer good and that was an end of the transaction. In February, 1865, C. B. Polhemus, Peter Donahue and H. M. Newhall, directors of the railroad company, offered to buy the stock for $200,000, paying in either currency or in the bonds of the county issued to pay for the stock when the county had subscribed for it. An agreement was made, but having the default of Lathrop in mind, the supervisors exacted from the purchasers a bond for the fulfillment of the contract. As there was no compliance with the contract, the board lost patience and in 1867 suit was instituted. This brought offers of compromise and pending negotiations the suit was dropped. Nothing came of the negotiations and 1869 another suit was instituted. In the interval Polhemus had disposed of his interest in the railroad. Mayne, his successor, made another proposition--the company would pay $100,000 in money for the stock and would extend the line from San Jose to Gilroy. The proposition was accepted and its terms complied with. In 1869 the Gilroy road was built.

In 1863 the Western Pacific Company was constructing that portion of the transcontinental railroad lying between Sacramento and Oakland, and offered, if the county would subscribe $150,000 to its capital stock, to construct a branch from Niles to San Jose, thus placing the city on the through overland line. On April 14, 1863, an act was passed authorizing the county to make this subscription and the election in confirmation resulted in a favorable majority of 522 votes. The stock was sold to David Colton for $120,000 in February, 1872. The agents who negotiated the sale were paid $9,000, thus leaving a net loss to the county of $39,000. The Western Pacific afterwards became a part of the Southern Pacific system.

As the county to the north of San Jose began to develop fruit-culture, especially strawberries, blackberries, etc., a more convenient and rapid means of transportation to San Francisco was desired by the growers. The two railroads already constructed just skirted the border of this district, and shippers were compelled to haul their fruit to San Jose, Santa Clara or Milpitas to get it on the cars. Arrived in San Francisco it had to be hauled on trucks for a long distance from depot to market, and this bruised and injured the fruit to the great loss of the producer. This caused the matter of a narrow-gauge railroad to connect with fast boats at Alviso to be revived. In 1870 a meeting was held and subscription books opened. Strenuous efforts were made to get the stock taken. Chief among the promoters of the scheme were John G. Bray, S. A. Bishop and Cary Peebels. Pending the floating of the stock a fast boat was put on the line between Aiviso and San Francisco and the fruit growers hauled to the Alviso wharf in stead of shipping by rail. Little progress with the project was made. Finally, in 1876, a new company was formed, called "The South Pacific Coast Railroad Company," with A. E. Davis as its president. This company asked no favors. It had money for everything it needed, including the right-of-way. It built the road and in April, 1878. the first train came into San Jose, and in May the road opened for business. An extension of the line to Santa Cruz followed. It was completed after much time and labor spent in tunneling the mountains. The road did a prosperous business from the start. In 1887 it sold out to the Southern Pacific Company. In 1886 a narrow-gauge branch from Campbell to the New Almaden mine was constructed. Later it was taken over and standardized by the Southern Pacific. In the same year the Southern Pacific built a line to the same point, connecting with the trunk line at Hillsdale.

In 1885 a railroad to run from Murphy's on the Southern Pacific line to Saratoga was projected and several miles were constructed. No further progress has ever been made, partly on account of the lack of money and partly by the construction of other lines and by the electric system of railways which reaches every point of importance in the valley.

The Southern Pacific has greatly extended its lines since it took over the original railway from San Jose to San Francisco. It has extended the coast line to Los Angeles, where connection is made with the Eastern states, thus placing San Jose on two transcontinental lines. It has increased its orchard service by building a line from Mayfield to Los Altos and from Los Altos along the foothill region to Los Gatos via Monte Vista (near Cupertino), Quito Olive Farm and Wasona Junction. Therefore the orchardists of the valley have easy access to railway transportation.

The Western Pacific Railroad Company's branch from Niles to San Jose was completed in the spring of 1922. The main line extends from San Francisco to Salt Lake City and passes through Niles. The San Jose branch takes in Irvington, Warm Springs, Milpitas and the Berryessa district. Then it proceeds around the southerly limits of San Jose, cuts through the Willows district in a westerly direction and after curving toward the north ends in a main freight terminus at Bush and Wilson Streets on the Alameda. Construction of the San Jose branch was started in 1917, was halted by the European war and started again in 1920. The main passenger station is in East San Jose and yards for switching, storage, round house facilities, fuel and water supple stations, turntable, track scales and repair tracks are located on William Street. There are several spurs built for the benefit of orchardists. The coming of this railroad induced the Remillard Brick Company to reopen its works in East San Jose.

Source: Sawyers, Eugene T. History of Santa Clara County, Los Angeles, Calif; Historic Record Company, 1922.

Return to Santa Clara County History
Return to Santa Clara County Genealogy
© Copyright  2006  Ron Filion and Pamela Storm.  All rights reserved.