History Park at Kelley Park, San Jose

by Joe Thompson

Click on thumbnails to view larger photos. Use back arrow to return. All photos by Joe Thompson unless otherwise credited. All rights reserved.


History Park sign The sign at the entrance. July, 2014.

We had a rare Saturday with no family responsibilities, so we took a drive down to San Jose to visit the History Park at Kelley Park. It was very hot out and there were not many visitors. We were happy to learn that some of the buildings are climate controlled.

Birney 143 Fresno Traction Company Birney Safety Car 143, lettered for San Jose Railroads. July, 2014.

We rode Fresno Traction Company Birney Safety Car 143, built in 1922 by the Saint Louis Car Company. It follows a horse-shoe route from the gate up the main street, around to the other street, passes under the light tower, and ends neat the Bank of Italy.

Birney 143/motorman The motorman operates 143 up the main street. July, 2014.

Birney 143/outer terminal Car 143 passes under the light tower towards the outer terminal. The Bank of Italy is on the right. July, 2014.

Central Railroad 7 Central Railroad 7. July, 2014.

We visited the Trolley Barn and saw Central Railroad 7, an 1863 San Francisco horse car built in New York by John Stephenson and shipped around the Horn. I had a nice chat with the docent about its operation. They used to borrow Tucker and Jiggs from Ardenwood, but now a man from Placerville brings down two Clydesdales.

Central Railroad 7/platform Central Railroad 7. The rear platform. July, 2014.

Central Railroad 7/detail Central Railroad 7. A detail of the curved roof and door. July, 2014.

SJRR 124 San Jose Railroads 124, built by the American Car Company in 1912. July, 2014.

The Trolley Barn is operated by the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation. It has a collection of streetcars, autos and trucks.

SJRR 168 San Jose Railroads 168 was built in Portugal using a Brill design in 1934. July, 2014.

I forgot to look for California Street Cable Railroad car 23, which is in need of restoration.

Birney 143/inner terminal When we came out of the Trolley Barn, 143's motorman was waiting hopefully for someone to take a ride. The Pasetta House is in the background. July, 2014.

Birney 143/herald The San Jose Railroad's logo on 143. July, 2014.

The gallery in the Pasetta House had an exhibit of photos by Shirlie Montgomery, a San Jose photographer who worked as a stringer for the Mercury News and the Examiner, and took many wrestling photos.

Detroit Electric A 1916 Detroit Electric Touring Car also lives in the Trolley Barn. July, 2014.

traction engine The 16 horsepower 1921 Port Huron Traction Engine. July, 2014.

Associated This Associated Oil Service Station was built in 1927 at Market and Julian Streets. It closed in 1971 because of the oil crisis and was moved to Kelley Park in 1978. July, 2014.

We visited the Portuguese History Museum, which had many interesting items. I did not know that most of the Portuguese in California came from the Azores or Madeira.

Light tower The Electric Light Tower is a scale model of a tower built in 1881. Many cities tried to implement outdoor lighting with arc lights on top of towers. The powerful light caused problems with chickens and roosters and people who were trying to sleep.

Empire firehouse The Empire firehouse is a reconstruction of a firehouse built in 1869. July, 2014.

Empire firehouse side view The Empire firehouse. July, 2014.

Empire firehouse plaque This plaque tells the history of the Empire firehouse. July, 2014.

Empire firehouse name The name above the doors of the Empire firehouse. July, 2014.

Empire firehouse detail Plaster details above the doors of the Empire firehouse. July, 2014.

The main street Looking down the main street towards the gate and car 143. July, 2014.

Pacific Hotel The Bank of Italy and a replica of the Pacific Hotel are on the cross street. July, 2014.

Birney 143/curve 143 finally got some riders. July, 2014.

Birney 143/cabins 143 approaches a cluster of migrant worker cabins on the side street. July, 2014.

Birney 143/passing cabins 143 passes the migrant worker cabins on the side street. July, 2014.

Birney 143/light tower 143 visible under the Electric Light Tower. July, 2014.

Birney 143/changing ends The motorman changes ends at the outer terminal. July, 2014.

Banca d'Italia detail AP Giannini founded the Banca d'Italia in San Francisco in 1904. This is a replica first branch outside of San Francisco, created when Bank of Italy took over the Commercial and Savings Bank in San Jose in 1909. July, 2014.

Birney 143/outer terminal The motorman gives a safety talk at the outer terminal. July, 2014.

Birney 143/light tower 143 passes under the Electric Light Tower just after leaving the outer terminal. July, 2014.

O'Brien's Candy Factory The Pacific Hotel houses O’Briens Candy Store & Ice Cream Parlor, which recreates a famous San Jose institution. July, 2014.

We went to the Pacific Hotel and had ice cream and sodas at O'Brien's Ice Cream Parlor. I explained about the operation of the Electric Light Tower.

Birney 143/inbound 143 heads down the main street towards the inner terminal. July, 2014.

Lefebvre Velocipede The Lefebvre Velocipede. July, 2014.

Then we went to see a new exhibit which opened the night before, "Silicon Valley Bikes! Passion, Innovation & Politics Since 1880." Exhibits include the Lefebvre Velocipede, built around 1842 by French immigrant Alexandre Lefebvre. It is considered to be one of the first bicycles with pedals. He brought it to San Francisco in 1861, and his family donated it to History San Jose about 60 years ago. Exhibits go all the way up to the present.

Trolley Barn On our way to the parking lot, I stopped to take a photo of the Trolley Barn. July, 2014.

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Copyright 2013 by Joe Thompson. All rights reserved.

Last updated 31-October-2013