Sunday, September 08, 2013

North Willow Glen History Part 2 of 15: The 1880s

By 1887, the Bird hop ranch has been sold, probably in its entirety to the Odd Fellows Savings Bank, and the land divided into 5- and 10-acre parcels. Present-day Delmas Avenue is labeled "Hunter Avenue" north of Willow, and "Myrtle Avenue" to the south. It's soon renamed "Delmas Avenue" for Antoine Delmas, who owned the French Gardens tract at the north end of the street (just south of Santa Clara Street). Antoine's son, D. M. Delmas, was born in France in 1844, and educated at Santa Clara College (and Yale). A San Jose lawyer, Mr. Delmas was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1879.
"H. French" owns two 5-acre parcels, covering the land where Warren, Shepherd and part of Snyder are now.
The land that will become Palm Haven is primaily orchards owned by Sylvester Newhall, with a "silk factory" situated on the bank of Los Gatos Creek near his elegant Victorian home (now gone). Henry Coe was the first area grower to raise mulberry leaves (food for silkworms), and a silk flag he presented to Congress is on display in the Smithsonian.
1887: spectacular apricot harvest - the land south of North Willow Glen is almost entirely orchards.
1888: Delmas Avenue appears on city maps, along with "Lincoln Avenue" (Bird), "Marliere Street" (Spencer) and "Home Street" (Virginia).
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..

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

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