San Jose City Hall, 1889-1958

Demolished in 1958, San Jose City Hall served the city's seat of government after its construction in 1889.

Following a special election in 1887, voters approved plans for a new city hall budgeted at $150,000. The city hired architect Theodore Lenzen, who also designed a new jail, police department, and library. The huge new building served as the city hall from 1889 until 1958, when the city constructed a new city hall on First Street. The final design for the new city hall was a brick and terracotta structure modeled after Victorian sensibilities.

Images

San Jose's Old City Hall Before Demolition, ca. 1955

San Jose's Old City Hall Before Demolition, ca. 1955

Color photograph of San Jose's Old City Hall before demolition. It stood in Plaza de Cesar Chavez where the children's fountain now bubbles. Old City Hall was vacated in 1956 when the new City Hall in the Civic Center was completed. It was demolished in June 1958. | Source: Silicon Valley History Online | Creator: Unknown View File Details Page

View of the Old San Jose City Hall Building Partly Demolished

View of the Old San Jose City Hall Building Partly Demolished

View of the old San Jose, California, City Hall in the initial phase of demolition. In this image, the building's roof has already been torn down. | Source: Arnold Del Carlo Photograph Collection, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History | Creator: Del Carlo, Arnold View File Details Page

Aerial View of the Demolished Old San Jose City Hall Building

Aerial View of the Demolished Old San Jose City Hall Building

Aerial view of the almost completed demolition of the old San Jose, California, City Hall building. The image shows parts of the building are still standing, filled with rubble, and surrounded by demolition equipment. | Source: Arnold Del Carlo Photograph Collection, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History | Creator: Del Carlo, Arnold View File Details Page

Aerial View of the Demolished Old San Jose City Hall Building

Aerial View of the Demolished Old San Jose City Hall Building

Aerial view of the almost completed demolition of the old San Jose, California, City Hall building. The image shows parts of the building are still standing, filled with rubble, and surrounded by demolition equipment. | Source: Arnold Del Carlo Photograph Collection, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History | Creator: Del Carlo, Arnold View File Details Page

View of the Old San Jose City Hall Council Chambers

View of the Old San Jose City Hall Council Chambers

View of the City Council Chambers inside the Old City Hall building in San Jose, California, shortly before its demolition. | Source: Arnold Del Carlo Photograph Collection, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History | Creator: Del Carlo, Arnold View File Details Page

View of the Old San Jose City Hall Building Partly Demolished

View of the Old San Jose City Hall Building Partly Demolished

View of the old San Jose, California, City Hall building in the first phase of demolition. | Source: Arnold Del Carlo Photograph Collection, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History | Creator: Del Carlo, Arnold View File Details Page

View of the Old San Jose City Hall Building Partially Demolished

View of the Old San Jose City Hall Building Partially Demolished

View of the old San Jose, California, City Hall building during demolition. The image shows the building is more than halfway demolished. | Source: Arnold Del Carlo Photograph Collection, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History | Creator: Del Carlo, Arnold View File Details Page

View of Workers Demolishing the Old San Jose City Hall Building

View of Workers Demolishing the Old San Jose City Hall Building

Image showing workers in the process of demolishing the old San Jose, California City Hall building, loading rubble onto trucks. | Source: Arnold Del Carlo Photograph Collection, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History | Creator: Del Carlo, Arnold View File Details Page

Aerial View of Downtown San Jose, California with Old City Hall Building

Aerial View of Downtown San Jose, California with Old City Hall Building

Image showing an aerial view of downtown San Jose, California. The image, facing East, was taken sometime before 1958 as the old City Hall building, demolished in 1958, is visible in the center of the image. | Source: Arnold Del Carlo Photograph Collection, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History | Creator: Del Carlo, Arnold View File Details Page

View of the Old San Jose City Hall Building

View of the Old San Jose City Hall Building

View of the old San Jose, California, City Hall building, taken shortly before its demolition. | Source: Arnold Del Carlo Photograph Collection, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History | Creator: Del Carlo, Arnold View File Details Page

San Jose City Hall Postcard

San Jose City Hall Postcard

View of San Jose City Hall shortly after construction was completed in 1889. The city hall stands in the center of Plaza Park, now known as Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The main entrance to City Hall is in the center of the building up the stairs. The view is looking south down Market Street toward San Carlos Street. Several horse drawn vehicles are visible in the street. The gold vehicle immediately to the left of city hall is a steam powered pump used in firefighting. This city hall was demolished in 1958. The site is now occupied by a large fountain. | Source: San Jose State University King Library Special Collections | Creator: Weidner, Charles View File Details Page

View from San Jose City Hall looking north up Market Street

View from San Jose City Hall looking north up Market Street

View from the upper floors of San Jose City Hall looking north up Market Street. The city hall was located in the middle of Plaza Park, now known as Plaza de Cesar Chavez. On the right the tan sandstone building with the clock tower is the San Jose Post Office. Beyond the post office is St. Joseph's Cathedral with its dome and twin spires. Further down Market Street is the Electric Light Tower which stood at the corner of Market and Santa Clara Streets. There are a number of carriages, horses, and pedestrians in the street. | Source: San Jose State University King Library Special Collections View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Jason Heppler, “San Jose City Hall, 1889-1958,” Silicon Valley Historical, accessed August 16, 2018, http://svhistorical.org/items/show/2.

Share this Story