Meetings 2017

Milpitas Historical Society meetings are held at 7 pm on the second Wednesday of each month (except July, August and December) at the Milpitas Community Library, Children’s Activity Room, 160 N. Main St., Milpitas, CA. Our meetings are free and all are welcome. Hope to see you there!

New Film – New Meeting Time!

Historic Photo of San Jose The Milpitas Historical Society’s next meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 14, but we will be meeting a half-hour earlier than usual, at 6:30 pm, (instead of 7:00 pm). We are starting a half an hour earlier this time so that we can enjoy a new film, “Changing Boundaries: a History of San Jose,” which runs an hour and 18 minutes, and also have time for our business meeting and to enjoy our usual chat and treats at the end of the meeting.

This film, made in 2015-16, tells the story of the working people, political leaders and dreamers who built the City of San Jose. Produced by Norman Kline and CreaTV San Jose, and directed by Tricia CreasonValencia, the film’s production includes a key collaboration with History San Jose, which provided archival photography and documents. Narrated by San Jose native and actor, Daniel P. Wilson, and featuring an original musical score by Grammy nominee Robert Berry, this first-of-its-kind feature-length documentary showcases interviews with key historical figures, from farmers to civic leaders, including Tom McEnery, Blanca Alvarado and Norm Mineta, and notable local historians Terry Christensen, Nannette Regua and Steven Millner.

Milpitas Historical Society Board Meeting: June 5

If you are interested, you are welcome to attend the Milpitas Historical Society Board meetings, which are usually held on the first Monday of the month (except July and August) at 2:00 pm in Group Study Room A in the Milpitas Library. The next meeting is Wednesday, June 5.

Large History in a Small Park: May 10

John Muir National Historic Site park signThe John Muir National Historic Site, in Martinez, is one of the smallest national parks in the country, yet it contains the life story of one of the most important figures in the history of our national parks.

The John Muir House in MartinezAt the Milpitas Historical Society’s next meeting, on Wednesday, May 10 at 7:00 pm, Jim MacDonald will tell us about the life and accomplishments of John Muir, as well as the story of his home (left) and farm.

John MuirJohn Muir, in response to America’s rapid progress in the early 1900s that was threatening to destroy wilderness places like Yosemite, demanded a system to protect our natural treasures. His tireless writing and campaigning created five national parks and an agency to care for them. Thanks to Muir, the “father of the National Park Service” and the founder of the Sierra Club, we can all enjoy our country’s scenic and historic wonders to this day.

This presentation also includes information about the Martinez Adobe (located on the western edge of John Muir’s historic orchard), which features exhibits about the 1775 Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.

The building (below) was built of adobe bricks around 1849 by Don Vincente Martinez, son of the commandante of the Presidio of San Francisco and a descendant of the De Anza party. John Muir used it for storage and some-times for his ranch foreman to live in.

The Martinez Adobe

Milpitas Historical Society Board Meetings

The next meeting, on Monday, May 1, at 2:00 pm, will be in Group Study Room A at the Milpitas Library. Members are always welcome.

April 12: Finding the Treasures of Santa Clara

The De Saisset Museum in Santa Clara
The De Saisset Museum in Santa Clara

Come learn about the museum treasures of the City of Santa Clara at the Milpitas Historical Society’s next meeting in the Children’s Activity Room of the Milpitas Library.

The program will tell you about the beautiful and interesting things you can find on display at such Santa Clara museums as the beautiful Headen-Inman House, the Beryessa Adobe, the Fire Museum, the Railroad Museum and the De Saisset Museum, a little-known gem located at Santa Clara University that is one of only three museums in Silicon Valley to hold accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums.

Mary Hanel
Mary Hanel

These museums will be introduced to you by our speaker Mary Hanel, History and Genealogy Librarian for Santa Clara County, who was also our docent when the Milpitas Historical Society took a tour of the Santa Clara Harris-Lass House last year.

Traveling History of Milpitas Exhibition

A second part of the program will be a preview of a traveling History of Milpitas exhibit that Kraig Bunnell, our Archives and Landmarks chair, is preparing to take to third grade classrooms in the Milpitas schools next year.

Jose Maria Alviso Adobe, circa 1890s

This program will include sections about the Native Americans who first inhabited this area, then the Spanish settlers, including the Alviso family who built the Jose Maria Alviso Adobe (pictured here as it was in the 1890s), the American pioneers who came starting in the 1840s, and the turn-of-the-century Portuguese-speaking settlers who arrived after that to join what became the vibrant community of Milpitas.

What happened to our scheduled speaker for March?

With deep apologies, our scheduled speaker let us know that he was unable to come to the March 8 meeting, but his talk about the industrial and social history of Campbell has been rescheduled for the meeting on Wednesday, September 13, 2017.

Answer to the Mystery in Milpitas History Revealed

In case you were not at our meeting to hear about the mystery building in the photo shown in the March Milpitas Muse, it was the last Southern Pacific Railroad Station in Milpitas. The station was located a few hundred feet south of Sinnott Lane (branching east from Main Street opposite the old St. John the Baptist Church) on the west side of the railroad tracks. In those days, some will remember the Kinney Shoe store on South Main Street with the station hidden behind it. The photo was taken in July 1967 by renowned local railroad photographer Wesley L. Hammond. Was the current street Hammond Way (running alongside the east side of the tracks from Curtis) named after the photographer? Probably, but this is something that we are trying to confirm for historical accuracy.

Milpitas Historical Society Board Meetings

The next meeting, on Monday, April 3, at 2:00 pm, will be in Group Study Room A at the Milpitas Library. Members are always welcome.

March 8: Milpitas Mystery Building

Milpitas Mystery BuildingThere will be a short presentation about the identification and story on the subject of this photo-graph – do you recognize this building or know where in Milpitas it stood? This Milpitas history mystery will be solved as part of our Treasurer Joseph Ehardt’s show-and-tell.

February 16 Installation Dinner (Members Only)

Not a Member? Please see the Products page for Membership Information

Instead of meeting on the second Wednesday of February, the Milpitas Historical Society will hold its annual Installation Dinner at the Summitpointe Golf Course Restaurant on the third Thursday, February 16, at 6:30 pm. Members will be receiving their official invitation to this event (with price information) at the beginning of next month.

The historical presentation at the dinner will be “Brave Local Pioneer Women” presented by Rose Marie Beebe, Professor of Spanish at Santa Clara University and author of several books about early California history.

Our new Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran will administer the oath of office for the new Officers and Board of Directors.

January 11 Meeting: History of Palo Alto and
Election of Officers and Directors

The Milpitas Historical Society’s first meeting will be a presentation about the history of the city of Palo Alto. Please note that this meeting will take place in the Children’s Activity Room.

Steve Staiger
Steve Staiger

Our speaker will be historian Steve Staiger, who has dedicated his time to preserving the history of Palo Alto through his work as the city’s Historian at the Guy Miller Archives, as well as through his work at the Palo Alto Historical Association, Palo Alto Stanford (PAST) Heritage Association, the Palo Alto History Museum, and in teaching this history to Palo Alto’s youth.

Palo Alto” (Tall Tree)
The centuries-old “Palo Alto”
(Tall Tree), for which Palo Alto was named, is still standing at the north end of Palo Alto.

From the Portola expedition in 1769-1770, which camped for a week at “El Palo Alto” (see photo), through the earliest settlers, such as Rafael Soto and his family who sold goods to travelers in 1827, to the present day upscale high-tech educa-tional hub that is Palo Alto, Steve Staiger will take us on a lively historical journey.

The election of Officers and Directors for 2017 will also be held at the regular meeting on January 11.

Please join us for this informative presentation and the Election.
Afterwards stay for treats and conversation.

Milpitas Historical Society Board Meeting: January 4

The next meeting, on Wednesday, January 4 at 1:30 pm, will be in Group Study Room A at the Milpitas Library. Subsequent meetings will be held at a location to be decided at this meeting and announced in the newsletter for each month. Members are always welcome.