Map of San Jose in 1951

Check out this cool map of San Jose from 1951, published by Shell Oil back when gas stations were the best way to find your way around! I know that’s 60 years ago, but I was still surprised how small San Jose was back then!

Based on where tightly packed residential streets give way to wide open tracts of land, it looks like the developed “city” pretty much ended at Husted, and there wasn’t a heck of a lot of stuff built out beyond the Middle/High school campus. Also nothing between us and the cemetary/fairgrounds. Willow Glen was pretty much a southern peninsula that extended out from the main area of the city.

I’ve lived here long enough to remember the days before 85 and 87, but no 280/680? wow! Even more interesting, 17 wasn’t a proper freeway — it was just roads! Came in to town along “San Jose – Los Gatos Road” then jogged right on San Carlos for a bit, left on Race, then right on the Alameda continuing on Santa Clara through downtown!

The map is very high resolution so you can zoom in and explore — check it out and let us know what you find most interesting about the difference 60 years has made!

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Video Tour of Willow Glen Parks
The Hitmen at Music in the Glen

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