San Jose decades: The 1970s

Let’s go back in time to the era of bell-bottoms and disco in the great 408.

An ad urging residents to vote for Mayor Norman Mineta.

Former Mayor Norman Mineta made a legacy in San Jose.

Photo via History San José

We’re traveling back in time again, San Jose.

Since our founding in 1777, San Jose has changed quite a bit. And with each year in our city’s history, comes the entry of cool inventions, major pop culture moments, or large developments.

So far in our ongoing series we’ve explored the roaring 1920s and the sweet 1960s, and now we’re taking a glimpse into the great 408 during the groovy 1970s. 🕺

📈 Population: 445,779
🗳️ Mayors: Ron James (1967-1971), Norman Mineta (1971-1975), Janet Gray Hayes (1975-1983)

1970 — The San Jose Public Library moves from the corner of Market and San Fernando Streets to West San Carlos Street. The natatorium at Alum Rock Park closes.

An old picture of Eastridge Mall during the 1970s.

At the time, the Eastridge Mall was the largest mall to the west of the Mississippi.

Photo via History San José

1971 — The Eastridge and Oakridge Malls open. Santa Clara Valley gets coined “Silicon Valley” by journalist Don Hoefler. Norman Mineta makes history as the first Asian American to become mayor of a major US city.

1972 — The Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is created. Downtown’s Center for the Performing Arts opens as “San Jose Community Theater.” 🎭

1973 — The California Theater closes. San Jose Taiko is established.

1974 — Former Mayor Norman Mineta is elected to Congress to represent San Jose, and secures funding for then-San José Airport and the Santa Clara County public transit system. ✈️

1975 — The Tropicaire Twin-Vue Drive-In on Alum Rock Avenue closes. Janet Gray Hayes makes history as the first woman to be elected mayor of a large city.

An aerial view of Great America in black and white.

Can you spot the iconic carousel in the background?

Photo via History San José

1976California’s Great America opens as Marriott’s Great America, the first-ever Happi House opens in Japantown, and Vallco Fashion Park opens in Cupertino. 🛍️

1977 — The first Chuck E. Cheese opens and the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles is established.

1978Joseph D. Grant County Park opens to the public. Pink Elephant Bakery in East San Jose is established. 🍰

1979Hicklebee’s Bookstore is established in April. The last resident of the Bay Area’s only ghost town, Drawbridge, is said to have left.

What other time periods would you like us to explore in San Jose’s history? Let us know. 🕰️

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