Can you imagine San Jose being California’s capital today? | Photo via History San José
Okay, we know that Sacramento is California’s official state capital, but what would our city look like if San Jose had remained our state’s capital?
That’s right, about174 years ago, the California Supreme Court issued a decision that our great 408 would be the legal state capital. How did that happen? How did we get here? Let’s learn how San Jose was the state capital... that wasn’t.
✊ An early leader
This story begins with a pioneer named James Reed — remember him? Following his fateful journey out west in 1846 with the Donner-Reed Party, he landed in the North Bay.
However, it wasn’t long until he realized that Santa Clara Valley was where he needed to be. Having come from a farming background in Illinois, James knew fertile land when he saw it, and quickly envisioned the thriving city that San Jose could be.
📜 The push for center stage
As James became involved in early San Jose politics, he set off to campaign for it to be California’s capital prior to the Constitutional Convention in 1849.
Other cities like San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Benicia were also contenders — but James drove it home at the convention by promising a capitol building to be built by December 1849, to housethe first Legislature.
The bold move convinced the convention, who officially declared San Jose the state capital.
James had triumphed, and the first Legislature convened in a two-story adobe hotel — where the Signia by Hilton Hotelnow sits.
🏛️ A short stay
Unfortunately, legislators were not looking at the San Jose that we see today.
Dissatisfied with the town’s lack of development, legislators looked to General Mariano Vallejo who offered 150+ acres and $300,000 in cash to house state offices ~70 miles north. In the fall of 1851, San Jose was de-throned and Vallejo officially became the next state capital in January 1852.
Our reign as the Golden State’s capital may have only lasted ~3 years, but we still shine as the Capital of Silicon Valley.
Harker Concert Series: Cantus “Alone Together” | Friday, Feb. 3 | 6 p.m. | Harker School - Rothschild Performing Arts Center, Patil Theater, 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose | $15-$25 | Acclaimed vocal ensemble Cantus, widely known for its trademark warmth and blend, brings its unique programming to the 2022-23 Harker Concert Series.*
Kevin Nealon | Friday, Feb. 3 | Times vary | San Jose Improv, 62 S. Second St., San Jose | Laugh along with this comedian best known for his nine-year stint as a cast member of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
First Friday | Friday, Feb. 3 | 6-9 p.m. | San Jose Museum of Art, 110 South Market St., San Jose | Free | A lounge-like atmosphere with music, drinks, and open galleries.
Saturday, Feb. 4
Miner Park Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony | Saturday, Feb. 4 | 11 a.m.-12 p.m. | Miner Park, Lean Avenue & Copco Lane, San Jose | Free | Celebrate the park’s upgraded amenities, including a new walking pathway and three fitness equipment areas.
Winter Wonderland in February | Saturday, Feb. 4 | 3 p.m. | E. Campbell Ave and N. First St., Campbell | Free | A family-friendly celebration of “Carol of Lights” with music, craft tables, a petting zoo, and more.
Experiments in Sound | Saturday, Feb. 4 | 5-8 p.m. | Sonic Runway, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose | Free | Enjoy a light and sound experience as a DJ plugs electronic music into the art installment’s speakers.
Sunday, Feb. 5
Galentine’s Day Party | Sunday, Feb. 5 | 12-4 p.m. | Devine Cheese & Wine, 27 Devine St., Ste. 30, San Jose | Free | A mini market featuring local female and LGBTQ makers.
San Jose City Council recently approved a $16.48 million loan for an 81-unit affordable housing project on Parkmoor Avenue and a 64-unit low-income apartment project on Bascom Avenue. The Parkmoor project will mainly serve foster youth and include a center for community youth organizations. 🏘️ (San José Spotlight)
Google is making more moves. In preparation for its new transit village, Google has taken ownership of several downtown parcels that were once owned by prominent San Joseans around 1865. One of the parcels was owned by Civil War Union General Henry Naglee — the namesake for the Naglee Park neighborhood. (The Mercury News)
This week, the Santa Clara VTA was awarded $375 million for its BART extension project into downtown San Jose + Santa Clara. The 6-mile, four station extension will include stops at 28th Street/Little Portugal, Downtown SJ Diridon Station, and Santa Clara. Construction is expected to begin early 2024. 💰
This news is sweet for the soul.Nirvana Soul co-founders Jeronica and Be’Anka announced they will open their third location at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library this summer. Their other two locations are in the SoFA District + Cupertino. ☕
Santa Clara County plans to close its mass COVID-19 vaccination sites at the county fairgrounds in San Jose by the end of this month. This comes after President Joe Biden’s announcement that COVID-related health emergency declarations would end May 11. Sites in San Martin and Mountain View will also follow suit. 💉 (Silicon Valley Business Journal)
Say goodbye to Jimmy G. In a recent press conference, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan suggested that Jimmy Garoppolowill not be returning to the Niners next season. Coach Shanahan expressed confidence in already having two starting quarterbacks — Brock Purdy + Trey Lance. 🏈 (KTVU Fox 2)
San Jose State‘s new president, Cynthia Teniente-Matson, was recently interviewed by NBC Bay Area, and talked about the significance of being the first Latina president of the university. She formerly served as president at Texas A&M University in San Antonio. 🍎 (NBC Bay Area)
In celebration of Lunar New Year, CBS News Bay Area dove into San Jose’s historic Market Street Chinatown, one of the five Chinatowns that existed in our city. Reporters talk to Connie Young Yu, a third-generation Chinese-American who has roots in San Jose. 🏮 (CBS News Bay Area)
National Wear Red Day. This initiative to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease is more than wearing a color. You can also set up a fundraising page and find volunteer options to make a difference in the lives of women across the country. 🫀
If cash back is king, this card is royalty. With a big sign-up bonus, up to 5% cash back, no annual fee, 0% APR until 2024 + more, it’s basically a no-brainer. 👀 *
Goal: Improve quality of life for unhoused residents 🏘️ Action: Scale up basic shelter capacity and transition facilities, identify more interim housing sites, and support Governor Gavin Newsom’s CARE Court system to improve access to mental health + addiction treatments.
Editor’s pick: Traditionally, New Year celebrations in Chinese culture last for 15 days after the year commences, so the end would be February 5. However, this weekend, I’ll be celebrating with my family by digging in to a full feast (made by my Paw Paw — Cantonese for grandma), and opening my red envelopes. Gong Hay Fat Choy to those who celebrate. 🧧
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