1918-1945

Inter-War Period

After World War I, San Jose entered a period of great posterity character­ized by the spirit of boosterism.  Three projects were initiated in 1929 that spurred growth:  the development of the water conservation program, the connection of the Bayshore Free­way between San Jose and San Francisco, and the establishment of Moffett Field as a Navy dirigible base.  All these projects were in place by 1939.

During the post-war period, population growth continued to expand the urban boundaries as orchards were replaced by residential developments.  Large residences appeared on the eastern foothill terraces.  Wil­low Glen and the Hester and Hanchett districts made large extensions westward after the boulevarding of Park Avenue in 1928.  The Vendome Hotel grounds west of N. First Street were subdivided in 1930.  Annexa­tions included Palm Haven in 1922, the Stockton and White districts in 1924, and the south­west Industrial area and the Hester-Hanchett-College Park district in 1925.  Willow Glen incorporated in 1927 and became part of San Jose in 1936.

The county’s first airport, located in 1919 on Alum Rock between Capitol Avenue and White, was used by a succession of barn-storming and commercial companies, and in 1923 by the army reserve squadron.  In 1929, the first municipal airport was established at King Road and Story Road.  Cecil and Robert Reid established the Garden City Airport in 1934, moving to Tully Road in 1939 and changing its name to the Reid Hillview Air­port.

By 1928, all the city streets had been paved and old wooden bridges were being replaced by concrete bridges.  San Jose in 1930 had the greatest weekday auto traffic count in the State and was the only California city whose week-day traffic count exceeded that of holidays.  The County averaged an automobile for every 2.92 persons (James and McMurry 1933: 164).  Highway improvements include the widening of the San Francisco and Oakland high­ways in 1929-1932, the construction of the Bayshore Highway in the County in 1927 and realigning and widening the Santa Cruz Highway.  With increased automobile compe­tition, street car lines were abandoned during the 1920s and 1930s to be replaced by private bus lines.

World War II, like the Gold Rush a century before, had a major effect on the changing com­plexion of the San Jose area.  The San Francisco Bay area was the gateway to the Pacific theater from 1941 to 1945.  The large naval air station at Moffett Field became a center of much activity.  Thousands of military personnel were brought to the area for training and processing, exposing the valley to public view.

Events at Stanford University were also setting the stage for significant developments in the post-war period.  Frederick Terman became an engineering professor at Stanford in 1930.  Under his guidance the university became a leader in the field of electronics.  Many of the university’s pre-war graduates played important roles in the post-war development of the local electronics industry.

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