1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/San José

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SAN JOSÉ, a city and the county-seat of Santa Clara county, California, U.S.A., situated in the coast ranges, about 46 m. S.E. of San Francisco and 8 m. S.E. of the southern end of San Francisco Bay, in the heart of the beautiful Santa Clara Valley. Pop. (1890) 18,060; (1900) 21,500, of whom 4577 were foreign-born; (1910 census) 28,946; land area (1906), about 6 sq. m. It is served by the Southern Pacific railway, which has car shops and terminal yards here. The city lies mainly on a gently rising plateau (altitude, 90 to 125 ft.) between the Coyote and Guadalupe rivers. It is a popular health resort.

Besides St James and City Hall parks in the city, San José has Alum Rock Canyon Park, a tract of 1000 acres, with sixteen mineral springs, in Penitencia Canyon, 7 m. east. This park is connected by electric railway with the city. San José is the seat of the University of the Pacific (Methodist Episcopal), which was founded at Santa Clara in 1851, removed to its present site just outside the city in 1871, and had 358 students in all departments in 1909-1910; of the College of Notre Dame (1851; Roman Catholic), and of a State Normal School. Among charitable institutions are a Home of Benevolence (1878) for orphans and abandoned children, the Notre Dame Institute (for orphans) under the Sisters of Notre Dame, and the O'Connor Sanatorium. The Lick Observatory, opened in 1888 on the top of Mount Hamilton (4209 ft.) with a legacy of $700,000 left by James Lick (1796-1876) of San Francisco, is 26 m. distant by road, and the New Almaden quicksilver mine (the greatest producer in California and long among the greatest in the world) is about 14 m. south. The Santa Clara Valley has many vegetable and flower-seed farms; it is one of the most fertile of the fruit regions of California, prunes, grapes, peaches and apricots being produced in especial abundance. More than half the prune crop of California comes from Santa Clara county. In 1905 the total value of the factory product of San José was $6,388,445 (94.1% more than in 1900); nearly one-half ($3,039,803) was the value of canned and preserved fruits and vegetables, $619,532 of planing-mill products, and $518,728 of malt liquors—much barley is grown in the Santa Clara Valley.

San José de Guadalupe (after 1836 for a time “de Alvarado” in honour of Governor J. B. Alvarado) was founded in November 1777, and was the first Spanish pueblo of California. The mission of Santa Clara was founded in the vicinity in January 1777, and the mission of San José, about 12 m. north-east, in 1797. Near the original site of the former, in the town of Santa Clara (pop. 1900, 3650), a suburb of San José, now stands Santa Clara College (Jesuit; founded 1851, chartered 1855). Throughout the Spanish-Mexican period San José was a place of considerable importance. In 1840 its population was about 750. In the last years of Mexican dominion it was the most prominent of the northern settlements in which the Hispano-Californian element predominated over the new American element. The town was occupied by the forces of the United States in July 1846; and a skirmish with the natives occurred in its vicinity in January 1847. San José was the first capital of the state of California (1849-1851) and in 1850 was chartered as a city.