San Jose's Historic Downtown
San Jose is the "Capital of the Silicon Valley," the high-rise, economic engine of advanced technology. Yet it was once a verdant valley, inhabited by wildlife, waterfowl, and the native Ohlone people. The Spanish who founded California's first civilian settlement here in 1777 named it for Saint Joseph, the patron saint of the Spanish Expedition. Their farms fed the soldiers at the Monterey and San Francisco presidios, beginning an agricultural industry that thrived for nearly 200 years. Although serving briefly as California's first state capital, for many decades downtown was the somewhat sleepy commercial center of the Santa Clara Valley. A housing and population expansion that began in the 1950s exploded with San Jose's rebirth as a technological mecca.
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