Meetings 2013

November 13 Meeting: Silent Film Pioneers

The next meeting of the Milpitas Historical Society will be held on Wednesday, November 13, 2013, at 7:00 pm in the Community Room (auditorium) of the Milpitas Library, 160 N. Main Street.

The Niles Essany Film MuseumMonday, the first of April in the year 1912, the town of Niles, population 1400, was invaded by a small army. The fifty-two members of the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company had arrived by train. By 1912, the moving picture profession was transforming the nation and the world with a universal language printed on film. The people of Niles were well aware of this new medium. Charles Ellestyne, manager of the local circuit for the Edison Moving Picture Company, put on a movie show every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night at Conners Hall on Front Street (called Niles Boulevard today).

Essenay Film Factory 1913
Essenay Film Factory 1913

David Keihn, the president of the Niles Film Museum will tell us about what came next and how the these film pioneers, with the help of the soon-to-be-famous Charlie Chaplin, changed a town and the culture of a whole country with the development of moving pictures.

 

Old San Jose: October 9, 2013

Time Tripping: San Jose's First City Hall, built in 1887
Time Tripping: San Jose’s First City Hall, built in 1887

The upcoming meeting of the Milpitas Historical Society will be held on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, at 7:00 pm in the Community Room (auditorium) of the Milpitas Library, 160 N. Main Street.

The California Pioneers of Santa Clara County will be presenting a movie, “Changing San Jose,” highlighting clips from their Pioneers Film Archive. The Archive was founded in 2009, and has since grown into the single largest repository of the Santa Clara Valley’s motion picture history. The program will feature film clips from 1896 to the modern day, focusing on home movies, newsreels, promotional films, and documentaries showing the changing and growing community, from its days as the “Valley of Heart’s Delight” to the rise of “Silicon Valley.” Film Archive Director Bill Foley calls it “the next best thing to a time machine.” Jim Zetterquist, Rick Helin, and other Pioneers will be on hand to talk about the Pioneers Film Archive’s free program to digitize home movies in the community and archive them for posterity.
October 2, 2013 by mhs

Murphy Family Film: The Forgotten Journey: September 11, 2013

The next meeting of the Milpitas Historical Society will be held on Wednesday, September 11, at 7:00 pm in the Community Room (auditorium) of the Milpitas Library, 160 N. Main Street.

Our presenter will be Jim Reynolds, the current president of the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum and Historical Society. He will show and talk about a beautifully crafted film about the Murphy family called The Forgotten Journey, made by a team from PBS.

Martin Murphy Jr. came to California with his father and other family members as part of the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy Party in 1844, before the Donner party. In fact, he was a member of the group that helped to rescue the Donner party.

Around 1850, Murphy bought a piece of Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas, established a wheat farm and ranch, and later had the first wood frame house, which he had shipped in pieces around Cape Horn from New England, built in Santa Clara County, in what would later become Sunnyvale.

In fact, when Sunnyvale first established its own post office, in 1901, it assumed that the name of the town was going to be “Murphy.” However, the postal system ruled that this name could not be used—there was already a community called Murphys with a post office, established in 1851, in Calaveras County. Ironically this other town was established by two of Martin Murphy Jr.’s brothers, John and Daniel.

Martin Murphy Jr.’s house was demolished in 1961, (after a serious fire) but was reconstructed in 2008 as the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum

James Murphy
James Murphy

Another brother of Martin Murphy Jr. was James Murphy, who was the first bank commissioner in California, served in the California legislature and owned considerable property in the Milpitas area. He built a large beautiful home on his property called Ringwood, located on the old Milpitas Road. This house was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. The Murphy Ranch road and shopping center in Milpitas were named for him. We will learn a great deal more about this interesting family story at the meeting.

Henry M. Naglee, Civil War General and San Jose Land Developer:
June 12, 2013

General Henry M. Naglee
General Henry M. Naglee

The next meeting of the Milpitas Historical Society, at 7 pm on Wednesday, June 12, will feature a presentation on Henry M. Naglee, Civil War General and San Jose land developer, of whom there is a statue in San Jose’s St. James Park. But there’s more to his story than you might imagine, so come and hear distinguished San Jose writer and historian April Halberstadt present all the surprising details. Meetings are held in the Community Room (Auditorium) of the Milpitas Library, 160 North Main Street; free; all are welcome.
May 18, 2013 by mhs

Remember the Jenny Lind: May 8, 2013

The May meeting of the Milpitas Historical Society will feature a talk by two or three members of the unofficial “Jenny Lind Gang”, the dedicated three historians who worked, researched, pushed and persisted until they had produced enough of a case that the County of Santa Clara and its Parks Department agreed that a historic marker to commemorate the victims of the 1853 Jenny Lind disaster could be erected at the Alviso Marina County Park.

Pictured, above, left to right, are the “Jenny Lind Gang,” consisting of E Clampus Vitus (a historical group with roots going back to the Gold Rush Days) member Chris McKay, historian Claire Britton Warren, and South Bay Yacht Club Commodore and Historian Russ Robinson, at the dedication of the marker on Saturday, April 18. They will be presenting the full story of the explosion on the steamship Jenny Lind that took place on April 13, 1853, took many lives, and may have changed California history. The meeting will take place at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, May 8, in the Community Room (auditorium) of the Milpitas Library, 160 N. Main Street. The public is welcome, no charge.

Historic Liberty Ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien: April 10, 2013

For the April meeting of the Milpitas Historical Society, we have a historic treat: a presentation about the last authentic WWII Liberty Ship, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, now permanently berthed at Pier 54 at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco (pictured below passing beneath the Golden Gate Bridge). The Jeremiah O’Brien was launched in 1943 and made several war transport voyages before the end of World War II.

The last authentic WWII Liberty Ship, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien
The last authentic WWII Liberty Ship, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien

The meeting is Wednesday, April 10, at 7 pm, in the Auditorium (Community Room) of the Milpitas Library.

Our presenter will be Jo Lawrence, shown below shaking hands with President Clinton in 1994, after his tour of the ship. Ms. Lawrence is a native Californian who is retired from Civil Service (30 years with the Department of the Navy) and a veteran who served in the Navy Hospital Corps at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland. She has been volunteering on the O’Brien since 1980 and will have many interesting stories to tell us about this historic ship and its adventures.
April 3, 2013 by mhs

Jo Lawrence shaking hands with President Clinton in 1994
Jo Lawrence shaking hands with President Clinton in 1994

 

Treasure Hunters Headquarters: March 13, 2013

Jim and Carolyn McGee, owners of the new Treasure Hunters Headquarters store (in Olinger Plaza on Main Street in Milpitas), will give an interesting presentation about the hows and wheres of treasure hunting in California at the next meeting of the Milpitas Historical Society, on Wednesday, March 13, at 7:00 pm. The meeting will be in the library’s Community Room (Auditorium).
March 1, 2013 by mhs
 

Summit Pointe Restaurant Hosts 2013
Installation of Officers and Directors

On Thursday, February 21, the Society held its annual installation dinner at the Summit Pointe Restaurant.

Mayor Esteves Initiates Milpitas Historical Society Officers
Mayor Esteves Initiates Milpitas Historical Society Officers

Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves (far left in photo above) conducted the swearing-in ceremony for the 2013 Society Officers and Board of Directors shown above (left to right in photo): Steve Munzel, Archives and Landmarks and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Commission Liaison; Harriett McGuire, Historian; Lela Ehardt, Secretary; Ann Zeise, Publicity; Kraig Bunnell, Treasurer.

In photo at right: Joanne Souza, Hospitality; Catherine Pelizzari, Vice President and Publications; Thelma Bridges, Special Events, and Roger Skuse, President. Not present: Mabel Mattos, Membership.In the photo at right, Joanne Souza, Hospitality; Catherine Pelizzari, Vice President and Publications; Thelma Bridges, Special Events, and Roger Skuse, President. Not present: Mabel Mattos, Membership

After the ceremony, Paul Bernal, California Superior Court Judge and President of the Santa Clara Chapter of the California Pioneers, gave an illuminating and well- researched account of the tragic life of Zacarias Berreyesa, on whose property the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine was found and whose family ended up completely stripped of all claims and profits of the mine.

Roger Skuse with Judge Bernal and Mayor EstevesThe photo (at left) shows Roger Skuse
with Judge Bernal and Mayor Esteves at the dinner.
February 21, 2013 by mhs
 
February Installation Dinner: February 21, 2013

Instead of a regular meeting in February, the Society will hold its Installation Dinner at Summit Pointe Golf Course Restaurant on Thursday, February 21, 2013.

Judge Paul Bernal, President of the California Pioneers of Santa Clara County, will be the keynote speaker, and Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves will administer the oath of office.
January 6, 2013 by mhs

Election at January Meeting: January 9, 2013

The election of Officers and Directors will be held at the January meeting, Wednesday, January 9, 2013, at 7 PM. The presentation will be by Milpitas City Manager Tom Williams and Project Manager Michael Boitnott on the work being done and changes to come at the Alviso Adobe and its outbuildings and surrounding lands.

This month our meeting will not be held in the Community Room (Auditorium) of the Milpitas Library, Milpitas, CA, but in the Library’s cozy Children’s Activity Room in the children’s wing. We will set up signs to show you the way.

At the November meeting, the Nominating Committee announced the following slate of candidates for Officers and Directors for 2013:

Officers
President: Roger Skuse
Vice President: Catherine Pelizzari
Secretary: Lela Ehardt
Treasurer: Kraig Bunnell

Directors
Archives and Landmarks: Steve Munzel
Historian: Harriett McGuire
Hospitality: Joanne Souza
Membership: Mabel Mattos
Publicity: Ann Zeise
Special Events: Thelma Bridges
Newsletter: Catherine Pelizzari
Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Commission Liaison: Steve Munzel
January 6, 2013 by mhs
 

What’s Happening with the Alviso Adobe? January 9, 2013

If you’ve been wondering, you’ll be able to satisfy your curiosity at the January meeting of the Milpitas Historical Society, on Wednesday, January 9, 7:00 pm.

City Manager Tom Williams and Project Manager Michael Boitnott will give a PowerPoint presentation describing the steps that have been taken and the improvements that have been made in the surrounding park as well as to the outbuildings and the main house.

Alviso Adobe History

Alviso Adobe undergoing renovations.
Alviso Adobe undergoing renovations last fall
The first story of the Alviso Adobe, which is located near the intersection of Piedmont Road and Calaveras Road, was built some time before 1841 by José Maria de Jesus Alviso, who had been granted title to the land on which it stands by the governor of Alta California, José Castro, on September 23, 1835.

Alviso raised cattle on the extensive land and also grew crops. Near the time when Alviso died, in 1853, the second story we still see was built. Later, in 1858, Juana Galindo Alviso, widow of José Maria, married José Urridias, who as manager of the rancho, gradually sold off acreage as needed for cash. Their daughter, Maria de Los Angeles Alviso Sepulveda, inherited the adobe and the land immediately surrounding it.

She and her husband, Bartolo Sepulveda, sold more of the land and eventually the property was acquired by the Cuciz family about 1922. The Cuciz family planted orchards of fruit trees, built a water tank house, a barn (partly constructed of timbers salvaged from three now-vanished adobes that once stood south of the main house), a carriage shed, a drying shed, a power generator, and other improvements. The Cuciz family sold the property to the Calvary Assembly of God Church in the early 1980s. The adobe remained inhabited from the time it was built until it became city property – perhaps the oldest continuously inhabited adobe home in California. The City of Milpitas acquired the adobe in 1996. The house is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

This month our meeting will not be held in the Community Room (Auditorium) of the Milpitas Library, Milpitas, CA,  but in the Library’s cozy Children’s Activity Room in the children’s wing. We will set up signs to show you the way.
January 6, 2013 by mhs