Leading up to the September 21st Willow Glen Founders Day Parade on Lincoln Avenue, NWGNA is providing readers with history about the evolution of our neighborhood, largely excerpted from Ken Ecklund's North Willow Glen Neighborhood Association Page.
Our story opens in 1876. There is only one house in North Willow Glen - the Isaac Bird residence, sitting in what is now Biebrach Park. All around are fields of hops (and an acre or two of orchards just south of the house) owned by Isaac and C. T. Bird - over 196 acres in all. South of what will become Coe Avenue, however, the hops fields are owned by the Odd Fellows Savings Bank. You know about hops, don't you? It's the bitter herb you use to make beer. Hops grown in the "California Willow Grove" were reported to be some of the finest in the nation. The hops may have been grown for the Eagle Brewing Company in downtown San Jose.Isaac Bird, an Englishman, came to the Bay Area in 1850 or 1851 from Alabama. His son, Calvin, one of six children raised on the hop ranch, became a prominent San Jose attorney specializing in the law pertaining to streets and street improvements.
We view this as our history and encourage you to share. Stories and photos of North Willow Glen are very welcome and with your permission and credit we would like to archive this information to improve our understanding of life in our neighborhood throughout the years. Please post here or reach us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.