Protecting our Heritage
An inventory of San José's historical and architectural heritage first appeared in 1975. Then in 1977, a comprehensive survey was made of the City's downtown area, including the Central Business District, to identify historically and architecturally significant buildings. The year-long study identified some 1,800 buildings, 300 of which were eventually to comprise the official survey of historic places within the City. Ultimately, many of the buildings were designated as City Landmarks.
Subsequently, it was realized that methods were needed to classify the resources identified in the previous study, but not included as official City Landmarks. In addition, the resources should be shown on maps for appropriate City use. This process of reclassification and mapping was completed in 1979 and 1980. In 1981, the Historic Landmarks Commission decided to make this initial work more comprehensive by including citywide resources identified in other surveys, such as the Santa Clara County Heritage Resource Inventory.
In 2000, the Planning Division undertook a historic resources inventory data conversion and reconciliation project, moving it from a word processing document to a database and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping platform. This process resulted in the addition of well over 500 properties to the Inventory. Since that time, numerous historic surveys have been conducted of targeted neighborhoods (e.g., Reed, Martha Gardens, etc.), adding many more properties to the Inventory.
Today, San José's Historic Resources Inventory contains nearly 4,000 properties, and is the result of contributions by many people over many years. However, the inventory does not include all of the City's fine historical and architectural resources, as many structures have never been surveyed. Still, the Inventory has successfully documented and helped to preserve many valuable historical assets that San José can be proud of.Use the map below or see the Historic Resources Inventory map at fullscreen.