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Santa Clara County History Overview



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The Silicon Valley Historical Association preserves the Santa Clara Valley’s history and its culture.

California Local Pin Marker Local History Digest

History Museum Hit With Rising Costs

05/15/2024

Increases in construction costs for the renovation of the Palo Alto Museum have it turning to the City for help.

A Private Calif. Ranch Holds Important State History — And It Might Be in Danger

04/19/2024

Some residents fear development could destroy parts of the historic land.

California Local Pin Marker Recent Articles

Metro Silicon Valley logo LOCAL NEWS
Old-School Advocates Preserve California Cannabis History

The movement to legalize cannabis began in earnest in the ’60s and ’70s, and California was at the epicenter of it all the way up until the passage of Prop. 64, which legalized weed for adult use. The fight continues, …

Image caption: The California mental health crisis is tied to both homelessness and rising crime.
UPDATE: California’s Mental Health Crisis: How We Got Here

How the California mental health crisis emerged out of the state’s history of deinstitutionalization and laws designed to protect the mentally ill, as well as the communities around them.

San Jose Spotlight logo LOCAL NEWS
San Jose Neighborhood Fights to Preserve Its Identity

After decades of residents requesting historic status, San Jose is starting the process to create a new city landmark district — the first since 2007.
The San Jose City Council earlier this month voted unanimously to nominate Alameda Park/Schiele Avenue …

San Jose Spotlight logo LOCAL NEWS
Sunnyvale Approves History Museum Expansion

The Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum, which catalogs the city’s history from the first orchards to aerospace companies, has plans to expand.
The Sunnyvale City Council unanimously approved a $1.5 million allocation out of the city’s Park Dedication fund toward adding …

San Jose Spotlight logo LOCAL NEWS
San Jose Quilt Museum Needs Community’s Help to Survive

A decades old staple in San Jose's art scene is at risk of closing, so it's turning to the community for help.
The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, located in downtown's SoFA district, has raised enough money to …

Hilltromper Santa Cruz logo LOCAL NEWS
Fossil-Hunting Fun in Santa Cruz

Traces and remains of ancient creatures—from whale-ribs to a famous mastodon tooth—frequently surface on Santa Cruz beaches and in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

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Publishing in Paradise

Based in California’s most iconic vacation spot, Katherine Hill celebrates Tahoe Guide’s 42nd birthday.

Image caption: The 1965 law known as the Williamson Act has been responsible for keeping about half of California's farmland out of the hands of developers.
The Williamson Act: How the Law That Protects California’s Farmland Works

The Williamson Act, passed in 1965, now keeps more than 16 million acres of farmland out of the hands of developers. Here's how the law puts the brakes on the development of California agricultural properties.

Featured

Now home to a museum with artifacts from the town’s old quicksilver mine, New Almaden hasn't changed much in 170 years.
Santa Clara County: A Historical Bibiliography
A compendium of online resources that delve into the long, varied history of one of California’s oldest settled regions.
Old Sacramento Historic District Sacramento is an open-air museum of historic buildings.
Capital Collections
Sacramento’s rich past can be explored by visiting its many and varied historical museums.
Access to abortion in California is limited in many areas, though state laws protect a woman’s right to choose.
Abortion Rights in California, Explained
But even in California, access to abortion services in many areas remains limited.
California continues to work on legislation that would make voting easier.
Voting Rites
And more bills are on the way to help you make your mark on Election Day.
Over two weekends last October, residents of Santa Cruz and Watsonville  participated in demonstration rides aboard an electric streetcar on rails.
The ‘Rail Trail’ Movement, Explained
The heated controversy over what to do with abandoned railroad tracks
California transportation history runs from railroads to today’s car culture.
California’s History of Transportation: From Railroads to Highways
The history of transportation in California has shaped the state, from the earliest stagecoach to today’s car culture.
The California mental health crisis is tied to both homelessness and rising crime.
UPDATE: California’s Mental Health Crisis: How We Got Here
The making of Gov. Newsom's plan to help get mentally ill Californians into treatment.
Like ripples in a pond, the hip impulse moved through Santa Cruz and beyond, and continues across generations.
How Did Santa Cruz Get So Hip?
Looking back at the Sixties and Seventies in America's Hippest Little City.
Moss Landing in Monterey Bay is the world’s largest battery storage facility for solar and other renewable energy.
Solar Power and California’s Clean Energy Goals
How the sun is helping push the state toward 100 percent renewable energy.
Founding artistic director Robert Kelley (front of train) in TheatreWorks’ 1981 production of “Merry Wives of Windsor.”
Valley of Art’s Delight
Learn about these 20 arts groups with roots in the previous century.
From nitrates to arsenic to “forever chemicals,” California’s water supply faces a serious pollution threat.
Dirty Water: California Faces a Water Contamination Crisis
In a state that declares water a “human right,” more than 2 percent of its residents have no drinkable water.
The California Supreme Court has defined the state’s legal and political agenda for more than 170 years.
How the California Supreme Court Blazes Legal Trails
From its beginnings in the Gold Rush, the state Supreme Court continues to define the state today.
Among the events commemorated by E Clampus Vitus is the founding of the group’s first California chapter.
Atlas Absurdum
More than 1,400 markers across the state point the way to the past.
How California reclamation districts turned millions of acres of wetlands into fertile agricultural land, starting in the earliest days of the Gold Rush.
Reclamation Districts: Turning ‘Swamps’ Into Farmland
From its earliest days as a state, California has been trying to turn marshes into productive land.
Since the Gold Rush era, land reclamation has cost California 90 percent of its wetlands.
How Land Reclamation Hurts California’s Environment
The hidden price tag of “reclaiming” swamps and marshes as usable land.
Translated from the Greek, “Democracy” means “people power.” How much power do the people have in California?
People Power! What Is Democracy, and How Does It Work in California?
The Goddess of Democracy is alive and well in California, but that hasn’t always been true.
The Baldwin Hills area in South Los Angeles is one region where a state conservancy would keep open land accessible to the public.
California’s 10 State Conservancies: How They Protect Parks and Open Land
Starting in 1976, the legislature began creating agencies to buy up open land, and keep it open.
The 1965 law known as the Williamson Act has been responsible for keeping about half of California's farmland out of the hands of developers.
The Williamson Act: How the Law That Protects California’s Farmland Works
More than half of California farmland is under contracts that prevent its development.
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