Archive for July, 2011

T.S. Montgomery

T.S. Montgomery was a well-known businessman in San Jose at the beginning of the 20th century. He was the most powerful man in town in his days and influences the towns’ appearance in many ways. One of his most popular projects is the Hotel Montgomery in downtown San Jose. But he also built many other buildings and influenced the town in many other ways.

Montgomery was not only the leading real estate developer, but he was also the director of both competing railroads: the Southern Pacific and the Western Pacific. Moreover he was Chairman of the Board of the powerful California Prune and Apricot Growers, Inc. Because of all his activities he was not only a very rich, but also a very powerful man.

He practically owned the San Carlos Street in San Jose and constantly tried to keep the heart of local business on his street. His competitors were located on the Santa Clara Street and were trying to build newer and bigger buildings than him all the time. This fight was a big help in developing the city. Montgomery convinced the city of San Jose for example to locate its convention center on San Carlos Street in 1930. The city was also won over by various donations of money, land and materials from Montgomery’s side.

Being aggressive and very territorial Montgomery was able to build his own empire in San Jose. A good example of his aggressive business manner is the Hotel Montgomery. It was built in 1911 and has since then been one of the finest hotels in town. A huge portrait of himself, hang in the lobby of the hotel until the 1980s. Afterwards it disappeared and has not shown up until today. The hotel was designed by the local architect William Binder. The original building had 142 rooms, a ballroom, a restaurant and two dinning rooms. The prices for one night at the hotel have always been higher than in any other hotel in town. Montgomery considered it to be the best hotel in town otherwise he would not have lent his name to it.

Until today one can see Montgomery’s influence on the town. Most people still know his name and San Carlos Street is still considered to be his street.

San Jose

The city San Jose is located in California and well-known for its high quality of life. It was founded in 1777 as Pueblo San Jose and is considered the first civilian settlement in California. Due to its long history San Jose has a variety of cultural, recreational, educational and entertainment opportunities to offer. The City of San Jose also has the best safety record of any metropolitan area in the whole US. The city is also famous for its great ethnic diversity and its beautiful climate.

The city has a lot of tourist attractions to offer and a sightseeing tour is absolutely worth it. As part of the Silicon Valley San Jose has a Tech Museum of Innovation. Visiting the museum one can get a better understanding of the Silicon Valley, its meaning and its importance in the US. The museum is educational, but one can still have lots of fun in it. Another museum worth visiting is the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium. It exhibits the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in the western United States and the building is inspired by Egyptian temples.

The Winchester Mystery House is well-known throughout whole California. The spooky story of the wealthy widow planning and owning the house, who believed that only eternal construction could defeat the death, is attracting many visitors. A tour trough the 160-rooms Victorian mansion is offered. One can see superfluous staircases and Sarah Winchester’s fascination with the number 13. Another famous building in San Jose is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph. It is located in downtown San Jose and is a beautifully restored 19th century cathedral.

Paramount’s Great America and California’s Great America are two theme parks located nearby San Jose. Lots of family fun is offered. Fun, thrill and family rides can be done and one can also visit the water park. Cheaper fun can be had all around the city. Hiking, biking, swimming and fishing can be done in the area. Because of the wonderful weather one can enjoy outdoor activities the whole year. Golfing, horseback riding and wild water rafting and many other exciting activities can be done in the area. One could say that having fun in San Jose is pretty easy.

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