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History of Santa Clara

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Santa Clara, CA history, history of Silicon Valley, missions history, Santa Clara, City of Santa Clara history
Santa Clara's History Spans Farming and Technology

The history of Santa Clara before California existed as a state is rich and diverse. Santa Clara was founded in 1777 as Mission Santa Clara de Asis, one of California's 21 Spanish missions. The city was consequently named after the famous Mission. The original mission still stands today and is located on the beautiful grounds of Santa Clara University

A Growing City

José Francisco Ortega arrived in the valley in 1769 and was the area's first European visitor. At the time Native Americans, called "Costanos" ("coast people") by the Spanish, were the original inhabitants of the area. They later came to be known as the Ohlone. Many Ohlone were converted to Christianity by the Spanish and lived and worked in the Missions. 

One of the oldest adobe structures, Berryessa Adobe, in Northern California is in Santa Clara and is preserved as a registered historical landmark. Berryessa Adobe was built in the 1840s and is a simple adobe home located a mile west of Mission Santa Clara. It was occupied by generations of families who immigrated to Santa Clara to labor in the fields and factories. 

In 1846 California became part of the United States with Santa Clara officially becoming incorporated in 1852 as part of Santa Clara County and state.

A Center for Education

Santa Clara and its neighboring cities have a history of being an educational center, attracting students from across the country. Santa Clara College was founded in 1851 by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Santa Clara College eventually became Santa Clara University which is a leading higher education institution in the area today.

From Family Farms to Semiconductors

The economy of Santa Clara centered around family-owned farms in the early days. Orchards and vegetables flourished in the area's fertile soil and in its heyday the Santa Clara Valley was the fruit bowl of the country. Santa Clara continued to grow as a city and in the 20th century its population reached 5,000. Santa Clara maintained that population through the early 1960s when the semiconductor industry became the first step towards creating Santa Clara's famed Silicon Valley.

High Tech Evolution

The semiconductor industry gave rise to other high-tech industries and as the population grew, triggered the boom of the construction industry in the area. The city's first medical hospital was built in 1963. New infrastructure in the form of roads and highways connected Santa Clara and helped make it a great place to visit or live in. Today, the city is a thriving center of culture, innovation and technology and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

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The Computer History Museum
The Computer History Museum
1401 N Shoreline Blvd. Mountain View, CA 94043
The Computer History Museum offers a wide variety of information, exhibits, research and a rich library of multimedia content garnered from some...
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de Saisset Museum
de Saisset Museum
500 El Camino Real Santa Clara, CA 95053
The museum's permanent collection includes American, European, African, and Oriental art. The California History Collection displays artifacts of...
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Harris - Lass House Museum
Harris - Lass House Museum
1889 Market Street Santa Clara, CA 95050
Santa Clara's last farmstead includes a restored house, barn, summer kitchen, and tankhouse. Operated by the Historic Preservation Society.
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Mission Santa Clara de Asis
Mission Santa Clara de Asis
500 El Camino Real Santa Clara, CA 95053
The eighth of 21 missions built in California, founded in 1777 by the Spanish Franciscans. (California Historical Landmark No. 338) Located on the...
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The Lace Museum
The Lace Museum
552 S Murphy Ave Sunnyvale, CA 94086
The Lace Museum is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1981. It is one of two museums devoted solely to lace in the western part of the...
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The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium
The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium
1664 Park Ave San Jose, CA 95191
The Egyptian Museum at Rosicrucian Park has been a fixture of San Josť life for so long that it is difficult to conceive of a time without it...
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Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph
Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph
80 South Market Street San Jose, CA 95113
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph is a large Roman Catholic church located in Downtown San Jose. The minor basilica is the cathedral for the...
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Portuguese Historical Museum
Portuguese Historical Museum
1650 Senter Road San Jose, CA 95112
The Portuguese Historical Museum opened on June 7, 1997, just a few days before Portugal Day, which is commemorated on June 10 annually. The...
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Mexican Heritage Plaza
Mexican Heritage Plaza
1700 Alum Rock Ave San Jose, CA 95116
The Mexican Heritage Plaza is a museum and cultural center in San Josť, California, USA that opened in 1999. It is operated by the City of San...
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Cantor Arts Center
Cantor Arts Center
328 Lomita Drive Stanford, CA 94035
The Cantor Arts Center's diverse collections span continents, cultures, and 4,000 years of art history and include the largest gathering of Rodin...
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San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
560 South First Street San Jose, CA 95113
The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is an energetic art space located in downtown San Jose dedicated to making contemporary art...
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Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies and Museum
Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies and Museum
1 Washington Square San Jose, CA 95192
The Center for Beethoven Studies finds its home on the campus of San Jose State University. If you are an aficionado of classical music...
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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
150 E. San Fernando St. San Jose, CA 95112
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library is a 136 foot tall public library in Downtown San Jose, California, United States that opened on August 1...
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Triton Museum Of Art
1505 Warburton Ave Santa Clara, CA 95050
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