West San Jose

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The West San Jose area of San Jose was an industrial area dominated by dried fruit packing and cannery businesses. The district had excellent transportation access. By road, West San Carlos Street (Stevens Creek Road) entering the area from the west, and Lincoln Ave. from the Willows district approaching from the south. The South Pacific Coast narrow gauge's line to Los Gatos and Santa Cruz cut across the district, and eventually became the Southern Pacific's Los Gatos branch. In the early 1920's, the Western Pacific railroad cut across the district as it approached its terminus at the Alameda. Major streets were Auzerias Street, Race Street, Lincoln Ave., Meridian Road, and Moorpark Ave.

The area was industrialized around the turn of the century. The San Jose Fruit Packing company was the first occupant, moving their cannery from 5th and Julian in 1893. Other dried fruit processors, including George Herbert and George Frank, and Stephen Zicovich occupied the area in the late 1890's. After the turn of the century and the standard-gauging of the Los Gatos branch, the area became much more popular with larger packing houses and more business. After World War I, two additional large canneries, the United States Products plant and Hershel California Fruit Products took locations at Moorpark Ave.

The area was outside the San Jose city limits, which was probably both a blessing and a curse: lower property taxes, but no fire protection. When Rosenberg Brothers, occupying the Santa Clara County Fruit Exchange, caught fire in 1915, the fire was initially not fought because it was outside the fire district.

The area was primarily canneries through the 1950's, but faded soon after as costs soared and fruit had to be trucked in from further away. Many of the cannery properties were turned into office buildings in the 1970's, only to be replaced by apartment buildings and condos in the 21st century.