What are historic resource surveys?

We break down the significance of San Jose, CA’s historic resource surveys and its overall contribution to historic preservation in the great 408.

A picture of a man in a small sail boat with a large steamboat in the background.

This photograph of a small sailboat and an Alviso steamer is believed to have been taken around 1890-1910.

Photo via History San José

Table of Contents

Have you ever wondered how our city keeps up with the historic preservation of San Jose’s quite extensive history?

Enter: Historic resource surveys.

These surveys are a call to the community (that’s you) to identify and contribute any information about older buildings + neighborhoods that tell stories of historic people, communities, groups, or San Jose as a whole.

Why do we need them?

The goal is to gather information that could help the city reconsider new developments that may be planned for sites with historical significance, or designate certain places as historic destinations.

How can I help?

Gather all the family photos and stories. Whether they’re about a person, location, building, or event, be prepared to explain their historical significance — and bonus points for artifacts + evidence. There are three active surveys that you can contribute to:

🔎 Alviso

  • Goal: Gather information about the workers and residents who lived near the Port of Alviso Historic District after shipping activity ceased.
  • Time frame: Mid-1800s to mid-1900s

🔎 Martha Gardens

  • Goal: Identify historic buildings across ~180 parcels that would be deemed historically significant and therefore untouchable to future planned developments.
  • Time frame: 1900 to 1980

🔎 Five Wounds (Information must be submitted by Thursday, June 8)

  • Goal: Protect historic and culturally significant buildings and areas from being redeveloped as part of the Five Wounds Urban Village Plan.
  • Time Frame: 1900 to 1980

Any questions about these surveys can be emailed to the city’s Historic Preservation Officer Dana Peak.

More from SJtoday