San Jose Real Estate
Prior to European settlement, the area was inhabited by several groups of Ohlone Native Americans. The first lasting European presence began with a series of Franciscan missions established from 1769 by Father Junípero Serra. On orders from Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa, Spanish Viceroy of New Spain, San Jose was founded by Lieutenant José Joaquín Moraga as Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe (in honor of Saint Joseph) on November 29, 1777, to establish a farming community. The town was the first civil settlement in Alta California.
In 1797, the pueblo was moved from its original location, near the present-day intersection of Guadalupe Parkway and Taylor Street, to a location in what is now Downtown San Jose. San Jose came under Mexican rule in 1825 after Mexico broke with the Spanish crown. It then became part of the United States, after it capitulated without bloodshed in 1846 and California was annexed. Soon afterwards, on March 27, 1850, San Jose became the second incorporated city in the state (after Sacramento), with Josiah Belden its first mayor. The town was the state's first capital, as well as host of the first and second sessions (1850-1851) of the California Legislature. Today the Circle of Palms Plaza in downtown is the historical marker for the first state capital.
Though not impacted as severely as San Francisco, San Jose suffered damage from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Over 100 people died at the Agnews Asylum (later Agnews State Hospital) after its walls and roof collapsed, and the San Jose High School's three-story stone-and-brick building was also destroyed. During World War II many Japanese were sent to internment camps and, following the Los Angeles zoot suit riots, anti-Mexican violence took place in the summer of 1943.
As World War II started, the city's economy shifted from agriculture (the Del Monte cannery was the largest employer) to industrial manufacturing with the contracting of the Food Machinery Corporation (FMC) by the United States War Department to build 1000 Landing Vehicle Tracked. After World War II, FMC (later United Defense, and currently BAE Systems) continued as a defense contractor, with the San Jose facilities designing and manufacturing military platforms such as the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and various subsystems of the M1 Abrams. IBM established its West Coast headquarters in San Jose in 1943 and opened a downtown research and development facility in 1952. Both would prove to be harbingers for the economy of San Jose, as Reynold Johnson and his team would later invent RAMAC, as well as the Hard disk drive, and the technological side of San Jose's economy grew.
Downtown San Jose looking over the Tech Museum toward Mount Hamilton; hills in the background show their winter green color.
During the 1950s and 1960s, city manager Dutch Hamann led the city in a major growth campaign. The city annexed adjacent areas, such as Alviso and Cambrian Park, providing large areas for suburbs. An anti-growth reaction to the effects of rapid development emerged in the 1970s championed by mayors Norman Mineta and Janet Gray Hayes. Despite establishing an urban growth boundary, development fees, and incorporations of Campbell and Cupertino, development was not slowed, but rather directed into already incorporated areas. San Jose's position in Silicon Valley triggered more economic and population growth, which led to the highest housing costs increase in the nation, 936% between 1976 and 2001. Efforts to increase density continued into 1990s when an update of the 1974 urban plan kept the urban growth boundaries intact and voters rejected a ballot measure to ease development restrictions in the foothills. Sixty percent of the housing built in San Jose since 1980 and over three-quarters of the housing built since 2000 have been multifamily structures, reflecting a political propensity toward Smart Growth planning principles.