When I arrived to San Jose 4 years ago, I spent a lot of timing wondering side streets, finding old buildings that carried ancient soul, story and charm. My curiosity to learn their histories led me to start this city walking tour business so I could share that curiosity with visitors.
Fastforward to 2013, and the majority of these buildings have been restored, bringing the rich history of the city out of the shadows and into the forefront for all to marvel and remember.
As infrastructure and restorations move forward I continue to predict more pleasant walk ways with less chaotic traffic and signage, and more calm to take in the San Jose that existed 100 years ago and has a new face to put forward today.
The newest buildings to add to our restoration list are pictured here at the right.
Edificio Macaya was originally a hardware store opened in 1906. Remembering that most goods were imported, these warehouses would be filled floor to ceiling with mostly european products to buy.
The building is still in the Macaya family and due to poor property management they have been unable to or unwilling to pay for the continued neccesary maintenance of the property. The Patrimonial dept. invested $25,500 in the restoration of the facade. You'll notice the railing in the original photo, this had completely fallen apart and so that and other elements were reconstructed.
Edificio Herdocia is a familiar building for those that have to cross east to west through downtown. Situated on the north side of the post office, this building was designed 30 years later by the same Spanish architect of the post office, Luis Lack Llagostera in 1945.
Restoration work has begun on the exterior. The pink and cafe colors on the side might be an experiment to see which color will be best for the entire facade. This building features some the traditional neoclassic elements we see on many of the downtown buildings from the early 20th century including the false columns down the side. The completion of this building will make the adjacent plaza (one of my favorites) an even nicer place to visit and relax in the sunshine with a coffee from the new cafe also located in the plaza.
If you are interested in learning more about the architecture in San Jose we recommend taking our Bird's Nest Tour.
The nearly completed facade, Jan. 2013
The original facade, 1910's
Inside view of the hardware store about 100 years ago.
By Stacey Auch. Stacey is the founder of Barrio Bird Walking Tours and an original advocate of San Jose's revitalization. She has opened 4 businesses all with a focus on sharing San Jose secrets and tips with locals and visitors.
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