Thanks to Baer Wright for sharing these fantastic photos of his family’s commercial lot at 656 Willow Street. My favorite part is that the two pics show the evolution of the lot, which unfortunately meant the destruction of the classic gas station that was there. Just last week I was in Truckee when I spotted a gorgeous retro gas station which has been preserved and is now home to a real estate company. Wish we had just ONE of these shops in Willow Glen!
Vivian James “VJ” Lawrence, opened the pharmacy and store in 1928. It operated out of 1383 Lincoln Ave. for two years before moving a couple doors down to 1395 Lincoln Ave. It was a mainstay on the avenue from 1928 until 1993, when owners Don and Ann Emerson retired after years of neighborhood service.
According to somebody who knows this kind of stuff: “The Willow Glen Basket Factory was in downtown San Jose, somewhere on Vine. The owner lived on Malone and had a large property. At one time, the property was covered in Willows that he used for his baskets.”
Did you know that until the Great Depression, electric streetcars used to run down Lincoln Avenue? Contrary to the caption in this picture, the streetcars apparently did not end in 1930. Charmer Jean did some research (sources below) which indicates the SJ railroad streetcar ran to Willow Glen until July 25, 1935 and the Alameda line was last to close on April 10, 1938. The streetcars were operated by two different independent companies, and both of them were hammered by the economic realities of the great depression.
Interesting to note that the stairs used to come off the front porch at the diagonal, but now they are straight toward the street.