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Guide to the Annexation of Willow Glen Records,1927-1936
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biographical History
  • Bibliography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Collection Summary

    Title: City of Willow Glen Records
    Date (inclusive): 1927-1936
    Collection number: CR-2010-01-04
    Creator: Willow Glen (San Jose, Calif.)
    Collector: San Jose (Calif.)
    Collection Size: 3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
    Repository: San José Public Library, California Room
    San José, CA 95112
    Abstract: This collection is comprised of correspondence, financials, reports, ordinances, resolutions, petitions, and other documents relating to the City of Willow Glen when it was an independently incorporated city in Santa Clara County. The records have been kept by the City of San José.
    Physical location:

    California Room's Vault 4

    Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Although San José Public Library's California Room does physcially own all archival materials in its possession, it does not necessarily own the intellectual property rights (copyright) associated with all items (Title 17, Chapter 2, Section 202, "Ownership of copyright as distinct from ownership of material object). Publishing materials from our holdings requires written permission from the San José Public Library, along with proper credit given to our institution. For permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Lead Librarian of the California Room. Users may reproduce materials for teaching, research, and private study in accordance with fair use on the condition that they give proper credit to the California Room, San José Public Library.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item],City of Willow Glen Records, California Room, San José Public Library

    Acquisition Information

    This collection was transferred by the San José City Clerk's office to the California Room, San José Public Library in 2007.

    Processing Information

    Processing and guide prepared by Diana Kohnke. Guide encoded by Diana Kohnke, 2010.

    Biographical History

    The independent incorporated city of Willow Glen lasted for only nine years: from 1927 until 1936. Today it is part of San Jose, California and is considered to be one of its "heritage neighborhoods" as there are numerous significant and historical architectural examples still extant. For example, the Roberto-Suñol Adobe as well as an array of Victorian-era homes that dot the neighborhood.
    Prior to its incorporation, Willow Glen was one of the best farming areas near the pueblo of San José, California. Wheat, barley, potatoes, onions, hops, beans, corn, strawberries, citrus, and tobacco were all cultivated in the area. Later it would provide food crops for the 49ners during the California Gold Rush. Due to its fertile farmland, Willow Glen attracted farmers from all over the world and by 1900 it had its own school district, a post office, stores, and other local businesses. The main crop by the mid-1880s was fruit production.
    The impetus to incorporate Willow Glen stemmed from a proposal by the Southern Pacific Railroad to track through the middle of Willow Glen. Residents fought for incorporation in order to prevent the railroad from establishing a route through the community without first making a formal request to the town council. On September 8, 1927 Willow Glen was classified as "a sixth-class city under California statutues, the smallest classification allowed." The railroad fought back, taking it all the way to the United States Supreme Court, but they were unable to stop Willow Glen from incorporation.
    The city of Willow Glen was short lived. Consolidation with the city of San José became a viable option due to Willow Glen's lack of an integrated sewer system. Most residential homes in Willow Glen had their own septic tanks. The Mattoon Act - a special surtax levied by the state legislature on each property owner with a septic system - coupled with stringent restrictions on dumping into local creeks made consolidation with San Jose appear to a majority of residents as the answer. To the residents of Willow Glen there appeared to be only two choices: build a sewage system in Willow Glen or become annexed to San José and connect with its sewer system. Two critical elections were held. The first was a vote to issue bonds to pay for a new sewer system which fell short of the two-thirds majority. Then in September of 1936 a second election was held and voters decided to annex to the city of San José.


    Halberstadt, April Hope. The Willow Glen Neighborhood: Then and Now.San Jose, California: Renasci, 1997.

    Scope and Content

    This collection consists of materials relating to the functioning of the city of Willow Glen between 1927 through 1936. This collection consists of one series: Administrative Files, 1927-1936. It contains correspondence, financials, city council ordinances, city council resolutions, miscellaneous documents, petitions, and documents relting to improvement projects. This collection is incomplete and does not contain the full range of resolutions, ordinances, financials, correspondence, etc.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index similar items in the Library of Congress.


    Annexation (Municipal government)--California--Santa Clara County.
    City councils--California.
    Ordinances, Municipal.
    Resolutions, Legislative.
    Willow Glen (San Jose, Calif.).