Events 2015

The Milpitas Historical Society sponsors events that are open to members and the general public. Please see the list below.

The Milpitas Monster Returns

The-Milpitas-Monster291x250A special director’s cut of The Milpitas Monster, a cult horror film made in 1972-76 in Milpitas by our own Bob Burrill, and starring local high school students, public officials, and public safety officers, will be shown at the Century Theaters in the Great Mall on Friday, October 30, at 7 pm.

Pre-sale tickets are $10 and can be bought at Huntford Printing (408-957-5000 / or through the Milpitas Chamber of Commerce, 828 N. Hillview Dr. / 408-262-2613. Proceeds will benefit Milpitas High School. Get your tickets while they last!

Milpitas Veterans Classic Car Show

class_car_149x200On Saturday, October 17, from 10 am to 4 pm, the Milpitas Veteran’s Commission will be holding a classic car show (antique, muscle, hot rod, vintage, and more) at the Milpitas Civic Center Plaza. This celebration will feature raffles, food and drinks, awards, and music. This is always a fun event worth a visit. Come on by!

Movie Honors Filipino-American Heritage

Filipino-movie-FLYERIn honor of the 50th anniversary of the grape strike led by farm labor organizer Larry Itliong, the forgotten hero of the United Farm Workers Movement, the “Delano Manongs” documentary will be shown at the Milpitas Community Center, 457 E Calaveras Blvd., on Saturday, October 10, 2-5 pm, followed by music, dances, songs and more from 6 to 8 pm.

This film tells the story of farm labor organizer Larry Itliong and a group of Filipino farm workers who instigated one of the American farm labor movement’s finest hours – The Delano Grape Strike of 1965 that brought about the creation of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). While the movement is known for Cesar Chavez’s leadership and considered a Chicano movement, Filipinos played a pivotal role. Filipino labor organizer Larry Itliong organized a group of 1500 Filipinos to strike against the grape growers of Delano, California, beginning a long collaboration between Filipinos, Chicanos and other ethnic workers.

Beyond Bollywood: An Exhibition About Indian Americans

From the builders of some of America’s earliest railroads and farms to Civil Rights pioneers and digital technology entrepreneurs, Indian Americans have long been an inextricable part of American life. Through a vibrant collection of photographs, artifacts, art and interactive learning stations, visitors will experience the Indian American story and explore the many dynamic roles Indian Americans have played in shaping America.

Created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation” details the history of Indian Americans and their contributions to the United States from the 1700s to the present. The West Coast premiere exhibition from the Smithsonian will be on view at Olive Hyde Art Gallery, 123 Washington Blvd., Fremont, from August 1 through October 10.

Photos of Our Agricultural Heritage: “The Valley of Heart’s Delight

Beautiful photos of the farming areas, past and present, of the Milpitas area by photographer and MHS member Gabriel Ibarra are currently on display in the Auditorium of the Milpitas Library until
November 14
. Be sure to take a look when you come to our meeting or any other time you are in the library. And don’t miss Gabriel’s heartfelt poem about our changing valley.

Field Trip on Saturday, September 19: The Fremont Higuera Adobe and Fremont’s Washington Township Museum of Local History

National Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept 15-October 15. Join us at the Fremont Higuera Adobe to celebrate our Hispanic Heritage.

Fremont-Higuera-Adobe-We will be offering a field trip to the Fremont Washington Township Museum of Local History, located in the Mission San Jose area near Ohlone College. on Saturday, September 19, which will coincide with a special Open House celebration for Fremont’s Higuera Adobe that we will visit afterwards. There will be a tour of the park grounds and the adobe and, refreshments too.

Fremont-Washington-Township-Museum-of-Local-HistoryThe Higuera Adobe is located in Rancho Higuera Historical Park at the foot of Mission Peak in the Warm Springs area of Fremont. It is the last of seven adobes built between 1830-1840, on Fulgencio Higuera’s ranch. The structure consists of a large main room and two small bedrooms with dirt floors, and a stable. The Adobe has been restored and furnished with handcrafted redwood furniture.

  • You can sign up for this field trip at the September 9th meeting.
  • We will meet at Big 5 Sporting Goods, 757 E. Calaveras Blvd at 9:30 am to car pool to the museum.
  • Show up at the Fremont Museum of Local History, 190 Anza St, Fremont at 10 am. Museum entrance fee is $2.
  • Bring a picnic lunch so we can all eat together at the Higuera Adobe, where we will go after our visit to the museum.
  • We will return around 2:30 pm.

Annual Summer Picnic in August: Cancelled

We are very sorry to say that due to various members’ health issues and conflicting plans, the Milpitas Historical Society will not be able to have its annual summer picnic in August this year.

Milpitas Community Tour: June 20

The Milpitas Historical Society’s annual community tour will be held on Saturday, June 20, this year.

Jose Higuera Adobe
Jose Higuera Adobe

The tour starts with docents recalling life on Main Street, Milpitas’s historic downtown area, then jumps to visit the Silva Apricot Ranch on Piedmont Road where we learn how apricots at this last remaining apricot orchard in our city are processed (with an opportunity to buy fresh local apricots at their peak), and it finishes up with a tour of the Higuera Adobe and Park, where you can stay for your own picnic lunch if you like and chat with fellow Milpitas residents and visitors.

The itinerary of the tour’s locations and meeting times for each place will be sent out in a bulletin to Society members in mid-June and will be available to everyone else through an announcement in the Milpitas Post. The tour is free and open to all.

June 6 Field Trip to See Indian Artifacts in Alviso

Date: June 6, 2015
Time: 10 AM to 11:30 AM
Place: Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Address: 1751 Grand Avenue, Alviso

Ohlone Arrowheads
Ohlone Arrowheads

Description of Tour: Docent Laura Mello give a tour and talk about the exhibit of Ohlone Indian relics and reconstructions of Ohlone dwellings and boats that are displayed in the auditorium of the Nature Center. After the refuge tour, there will be a short walk through the refuge gardens and out to the floating dock. The trip is about 1/4 to 1/2 a mile on paths and is flat.
Items to Bring: Hat(s) and water
Carpool Information:
Please meet at 9:30 AM at the Big 5 Sporting Goods store on Calaveras Blvd near the old Mervyns Department Store. The driving distance is only about 7 miles from the Big 5 store to the Nature Center in Alviso, and I think adequate parking is available.
Carpool Reservations:
Call by Thursday, June 4, to see if there are openings in other vehicles, it will be assumed that we are all proceeding on our own.
Driving Directions:
The best way to get there is take the Zanker Rd. exit off 237 and go right (north-ish) and drive all the way past the Water Pollution Plant and the dump. Stay on Zanker, cross over the railroad track and look for the first, hard right turn onto Grand Avenue. Continue on Grand as it curves through the refuge and ends in a LARGE parking lot.
–Note: The sign directing people to the refuge on Zanker Rd was stolen. A good landmark once you get down to the turnoff is the huge brown Environmental Education building on a slight hill to the northeast.
–Note: Folks should keep a weather eye out for trucks on Zanker exiting the dump. (it is that unmarked sharp switchback at the end of the red line onto the green line that is tricky; the road simply gently curves from the red line onto the blue line, so it is easy to miss the sharp switchback if you are traveling on Zanker and Los Esteros Rds).
Meeting Place: Make a hard left into the car parking lot and meet under the flagpole at the top of the ramp at the front entrance of the Environmental Education Center (the big brown building).
Note: there is a smaller parking strip just before the gate, but do not stop there).

Milpitas International BBQ & Festival: May 30

MHS Vice President Catherine Pelizzari and President Roger Skuse in costume with Frontier Days Rolling Jail
MHS Vice President Catherine Pelizzari and President Roger Skuse in costume with Frontier Days Rolling Jail

The barbecue and festival sponsored by the Milpitas Chamber of Commerce will be back again this year on May 30 and 31. On Saturday, May 30, the Milpitas Historical Society will again have a table of interesting historical items from Milpitas and other local sites as well as the Frontier Days rolling jail. And this time, the BBQ providers have promised not to run out of meat!

May 2 Field Trip to Levine Home

On Saturday, May 2, Milpitas Historical Society members have a special opportunity to visit the beautiful home of Mort and Elaine Levine, founding members of the Milpitas Historical Society, as well as founders and longtime owners of the Milpitas Post, first published in 1955. Mort will lead a tour of the house and Elaine

Summer house built by Fremont Older, 1914
Summer house built by Fremont Older, 1914

Their historic house, surrounded by beautiful gardens, was built as a summer home in 1914 by Fremont Older, a crusading San Francisco newspaperman and his wife Cora, an author and historian. They named it “Woodhills,” and enjoyed it until the end of their lives. Designed by architect Frank Delos Wolfe, who was also the architect of the Milpitas Grammar School, now part of the Milpitas Community Library, and of the DeVries house across the street from the library, “Wood-hills” was different from the usual Victorian designs of the era and was thought to be quite unusual for its time. Fremont Older died in 1935 at the age of 81 and his wife Cora died in 1968 at 93. In 1975, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District purchased the property and scheduled the abandoned house for demolition. But Mort and Elaine Levine wanted to see the journalistic legacy of Fremont Older and “Woodhills” preserved. The District Board voted and approved a long-term lease to the Levines, who absorbed the cost of the home’s restoration and completed its renovation in 1979. If you did not sign up for this tour at the April meeting and would like to come, please call Harriett McGuire at (408) 262-7979. You need to be registered to participate. We will meet to car pool at the Big 5 Sporting Goods Store at 12:30 pm, so we can leave by 12:45 pm.

Love History?

History Park, located at the corner of Senter Road and Phelan Avenue in San Jose, contains History San Jose’s extensive collections, beautiful grounds and 27 historic buildings, which makes it a great place to visit. You can explore exhibits detailing the many cultures contributing to the original Santa Clara Valley towns that make up the Silicon Valley that we now inhabit. The relocated Pacific Hotel, shown below, houses the offices of History San Jose, a lovely gift shop, and is also a great place for lunch and ice cream at O’Brien’s Candy Store.

Pacific Hotel
Pacific Hotel

Upcoming events at History Park include:

  • Sunday, March 15, 2015, 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm
    Lunar New Year Celebration
  • Saturday, April 11, 2015, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
    21st Annual Spring Garden Market
  • Saturday, April 18, 2015, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
    Bay Area Printers’ Fair & Slugs, Dingbats, & Tramp Printers! Printing in Santa Clara Valley Exhibit
  • Sunday, April 19, 2015 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
    Golden Gate Chapter Vintage Volkswagen Club of America 31st Annual VW Spring Meet


Movie about Historic San Jose

History San Jose, and CresTV are working withTricia Creason-
Valencia and Norman Klein on a documentary film about San Jose called “Changing Boundaries: The History of San Jose.” The film will show San Jose’s shifting geographic boundaries and illustrate the stories of people who changed social, business and political boundaries in the city. The movie will debut Thursday, January 22, 2015 at the California Theatre in downtown San Jose.