The history of the Reed name

What are the origins of this San Jose street name?

A map of old San Jose in 1869 with Martha St., Reed St., and 1st-3rd St. labeled.

This is a visualization of where the San Jose streets were in 1869.

Photo via City of San José

Did you knowReed Street in Downtown is named after James Frazier Reed. Yes, the one in the Donner-Reed partyremember learning that in grade school?

Following the fateful journey out West in 1846, James and his family arrived in San Jose. He quickly became an early civic leader within the city, and by 1849, he owned the area between Reed Street and First Street.

The other streets were named after his family members: Margaret, Virginia, Martha, and Keyes.

James believed San Jose could be California’s new capital, and invested money into 115 town lots and five squares to build what now encompasses St. James Square and Washington Squarewhich is the core of San Jose State University’s campus today.

He died in San Jose in 1874, and is buried next to his wife, Margaret Reed, at Oak Hill Memorial Park.

Did you enjoy this history? What other San Jose placenames should we explore next?

More from SJtoday