Back in 1980, Milpitas’ Parks and Recreation Director Bob McGuire recalled that, “Elaine Levine, co-publisher of the Milpitas Post, asked myself, school superintendent Leo Murphy and Librarian Ed Cavallini to join her for lunch, and before we left she had us convinced that Milpitas should form a historical society to maintain our heritage.” Seventy-nine residents comprised its first year’s membership.
Two local historians who were instrumental in preserving the history of this region are Velma Valencia and Mabel Mattos. Both had lived in Milpitas most of their lives and both had kept alive an oral history rich in facts and accounts of the city’s Portuguese immigrant heritage. Their collection of Milpitas memorabilia are extensive and their spirit of and reflections on the past are an important part of Milpitas as it evolves into a modern city as part of high-tech Silicon Valley.
For people new to this region and whose children who are being raised now, the Society’s commissioned book, Milpitas: The Century of ‘Little Cornfields” 1852-1952, by author Pat Loomis, offers answers to the questions they may ask. Does the past really matter? Do I know where I’ve been? Is there anyone to honor? And how could all of this have been? Do you have some stories that I can get to know? We really need some stories to know which way to go.
The Milpitas Historical Society is focused on preserving our past to protect our future.