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  • Pellier Historical ParkPellier Historical Park San Jose, California
    Louis Pellier brought his native prune plant to this country in 1849, after leaving France for the warm Santa Clara Valley, where this unusual plant would become the dominating agricultural feature for almost a century. Louis came here during the gold rush days and headed for the northern mines up by Redding. He and his partner, Giacomo Yocco, tried to strike it rich, like all the other prosecutors trying to find the rich veins or grounds where the dust could be scooped up like dirt and make them millionaires. Before they were completely broke, they quit the mining business and headed back to San Francisco, where they found apples selling for a dollar a piece. They soon realized that perhaps agriculture was a better chance for developing a thriving and profitable business, so Pellier moved to San Diego and began a nursery at the property that is where San Pedro and St. James Streets meet today. Pellier knew about the success of French prunes, so he sent his younger brother, Pierre, back to France to get Louis' fiancée and collect various prunings of peach, apple, prune, plum, cherry and pear cuttings back to the new territory. The special cuttings would be placed inside two large trunks to make the long journey and the 500 pound shipment arrived safely in San Francisco in 1856, then shipped in a steam paddle wheel boat and finally in a wagon to San Jose. The cuttings were then planted and soon flourished with over a 100,000 acres of the plentiful valley covered in the fruit trees in their heyday, with 52,000 acres in prune trees alone. A small park would be raised in his honor and his important role in the creation of the city in 1977, and although it is located there, it never opened because a constant lack of funding kept it from happening; although it is presently being refurbished by developer Barry Swenson, who is building a project next to it and will eventually open after waiting for 30 years.  However, at this writing, the small park is barren with only a few unhealthy looking prune trees, and some faded plaques. The heavy iron gate is rusted shut, and it has become the most barren place in the city. There is a sign next to it that reads "Site of City Gardens Nursery of Louis Pellier, native of France and founder of California's prune industry, came to California in 1849. In October 1850, he established a nursery called "City Gardens" on this site. Here, aided by his brothers Pierre and Jean, he introduced the French prune, "La Petite D'Agen," during the winter of 1856 and 1857." The small park was dedicated on November 29, 1977, the bicentennial of the city.

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  • History Museum of San JoseHistory Museum of San Jose, California
    Celebrating the centennial of the gold rush and statehood, the city of San Jose built a replica of the building where the first legislature assembled in 1850 and then moved to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. Historical collecting started under the leadership of Clyde Arbuckle, an unpaid city historian, and in 1971, 12 acres were dedicated to a museum of history in the city biggest park; and the museum would be part of a reproduced Victorian village. During the following two and a half decades, 26 historical and replicated structures would be relocated to the site, called the San Jose Historical Museum. Soon it had the biggest regional historical collection in the state, and during that decade, an association was formed to raise money to support the museum. By 1996, that association was running another historical site, completely separate from the historical museum, which instigated the city into evolving the association into a full operating organization that would be called the Historical Museums of San Jose (HMSJ). In one of their current exhibits, they are showing Everyday San Jose: Paintings by Wayne Jiang. In their collections they have the Perham Collection of Early Electronics, a Research Library, Artifact Collection, Research Collection and historic and reconstructed buildings.

January 11, 2011