The Art of Historic Preservation

Saturday, January 17, 2015

HISTORIC LOSSES: The Urgency of Preservation

Holy Cross Church
Built in 1919, The historic Holy Cross Church is a San Jose landmark

71 year-old Virginia Sacchi commutes from the Berryessa neighborhood of San Jose. The fire threw her off guard. “I could not believe it. I could not believe it. But God say this had to happen, but this church will be builded again. We just kind of pray and do for the best.”...KQED News

The historic Holy Cross Church was destroyed by fire in November 2014

Parishioners Witnessing 
the Destruction of this Historic Church 

The destruction of this historic building is the latest in a number of devastating losses.

The Kelley Mansion

The Kelley Mansion 

In 1861 Judge Lawrence Archer purchased 160 acres just outside of San José’s city limits. He named the property around Coyote Creek “Lone Oak.” Archer moved his family in 1869, from their downtown home to a two-story house surrounded by elaborate gardens and accessed by two avenues lined with pepper, cypress and eucalyptus trees. There he grew orchards of prunes, apricots, walnuts, and was especially proud of his cherries. A well respected resident and attorney, Archer came to California in 1852 and settled in San Jose in 1853. Active in community service, he was Mayor of San José in 1856 and 1878; a County Judge from 1867 – 71; and served at State Assemblyman from 1875 – 76. Archer left his “Lone Oak” property to his only daughter, Louise Archer Flavin Kelley. She inherited the land in 1910 and it became known as “Ar-Kel” an abbreviation of her maiden and married names...From HSJ webapage. www.historysanjoseorg

The Kelley Mansion
Fell Into Disrepair Over The Years

After sitting abandoned for many years, the Kelley Mansion fell into disrepair. In 1994,estimates to rebuild the historic home were in nearly $2 million

In February 2012, the Kelley House was destroyed by a two alarm fire. For the past 34 months, the home has sat abandoned and exposed to the elements. The damage to the
roof of the home was extensive; seventy percent of the roof was damaged by the fire. The remainder of the roof was damaged due to time and the elements. Like many of these local landmarks, there were no existing blueprints, floor plans or diagrams. The photo above is the only photo I could find of the Kelley House prior to the fire that devastated the home in 2012.

The Kelley House is scheduled for demolition in early February 2015.

This year marks the beginning of our five year project to digitally document the history of San Jose through unique and iconic architecture.

We are currently collaborating with the Preservation Action Council to identify structures that are in jeopardy and in urgent need of documentation and preservation. Here's  a couple of buildings that are at the top of our list:

Built in 1905, the First Church of Christ Scientist Building was in use until a new church was built in 1946. Afterwards, the building was used for a variety of uses. It's been abandoned for decades.

1st Church of Christ Scientist

Century 21 Theater
 While the debate continues on whether or not these buildings are worthy of recognition as historically significant examples architecture, there is no doubt that the Century Theaters are a perfect example of the cultural history here in San Jose.

Opening in 1964, the Century Theater's unique "Dome" deign was considered "space age" and "futuristic". 
The Century 21 Theater closed in 2014.
The other domed theaters, Century 22-25 have all been
Century Theater's
Iconic Domed Theaters
raised, the Century 21 is the last of these iconic buildings.