History Park

Pacific Hotel Building, 1650 Senter Rd, San Jose, CA 95112, United States

By Ben Loomis – DSC_9441.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73875056

History Park at Kelley Park in San Jose , California, USA is designed as an indoor / outdoor museum, arranged to appear as a small US town in the early 1900s (decade). Since its inauguration in 1971, 32 historic buildings and other landmarks have either been moved from their original locations in San Jose or are represented by replicas.

History Park in Kelley Park is run by History San José, which also has its headquarters in History Park. History San José (HSJ) is a 501(c)(3 ) non-profit organization formed by the San José Historical Museum.

History San Jose  traces its origins back to 1945, when local volunteer Clyde Arbuckle was appointed to the honorary position of San José City Historian; Arbuckle had no formal training, but was well known for his keen interest in local history. In 1949, a temporary replica of the first State House was built in San Jose Civic Plaza to celebrate the centennial of the first California Legislature. Arbuckle curated a well-received exhibition of local history with a replica of the State House. The replica was moved to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in 1950 and became the State House Museum, where Arbuckle was the first curator to collect local historic artifacts. So much material was donated that an annex, built in 1958 to house additional items, was full by 1962.

The Historical Museum of San José, run by the City of San Jose, was founded in 1949 at the same time as the State House of Centennial Activities.[1] In 1965, Theron Fox persuaded the City of San Jose to set aside 16 acres (6.5 hectares) at the south end of Kelley Park to house the San José Historical Museum, intended as a historic reconstruction of a small town,[2] which opened on 18 June 1971.

 The San Jose Historical Museum Association was also founded in 1971 to manage the activities of the Historical Museum.The architectural firm of Churchill & Zlatunich was retained to develop a master plan for the site by 1 July 1972.By February 1972, the museum had an average of over 1,000 visitors per month; admission prices were modest, at a maximum of $0.25 per adult ($1 per annual pass).

On 24 February 1977, the half-scale replica of the Electric Light Tower was erected and, later that year, on 25 September, the first major buildings were erected on the site, including the replica of the Pacific Hotel and the historic Umbarger House. By 1980, the Historical Museum had housed the Associated Oil Company Gas Station, Chiechi House, Coyote Post Office, Dashaway Stables, Doctor’s Office, Empire Fire House, Print Shop, and Steven’s Ranch Fruit Barn, although not all of them were open to the public; admission prices had risen modestly to $0.50 per adult.

The San José Historical Museum was spun off as a non-profit history of San José in 1998. HSJ manages the Kelley Park History Park from the top floor of the Pacific Hotel in History Park, a replica of the historic hotel that was originally located in downtown San Jose. HSJ is also responsible for the operation of the Peralta Adobe — Fallon House Historic Site and the Collection Center / Research Library & Archives in downtown San Jose and Kelley Park.

This amazing historical landmark is just one of the many must-see landmarks you don’t want to miss in San Jose, California:

  • Peralta Adobe-Fallon House Historic Site
  • Luis Maria Peralta Adobe
  • César Chávez Family Home 
  • James Lick Mansion
  • Winchester Mystery House
  • St. James Park – San Jose History Walk Marker #23
  • Southern Pacific Railroad Steam Locomotive #1215 
  • Olympic Black Power Statue  

All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location located at 3880 South Bascom Avenue in San Jose, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!