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Santa Clara City

Santa Clara City Hall is located at 1500 Warburton Avenue, Santa Clara, CA 95050; phone: 408-615-2200.

Charles Copeland Morse House, ca. 1892, 981 Fremont Street, Santa Clara, CA, National Register

Photo: Charles Copeland Morse House, ca. 1892, 981 Fremont Street, Santa Clara, CA. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Photographed by User:David Sawyer (own work), 2008, [cc-by-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons, accessed August, 2013.

Santa Clara as described in 1939 [1]

Santa Clara, settled by miners who invested their stakes in the valley's fertile farmlands, has gleaned more wealth from its orchards than the richest "diggin's" yielded. From its canneries and packing houses go carload lots of canned and dried fruit. The first orchards in the neighborhood were set out by the padres of Mission Santa Clara de Asis, founded in 1777 by the Rio Guadalupe. Padre Palou wrote: "Besides an abundance of water in the river, there are several springs which fill the ditches made to carry the water to the fields for irrigation." The "abundance of water" proved the mission's undoing, for the river overflowed into it. On higher ground the padres built a new church (1781-1784), only to have it come crashing about their heads in the earthquakes of 1812 and 1818. The third church was dedicated in 1822.

On March 19, 1851, Father John Noboli, S.J., began adapting the mission to the requirements of Santa Clara College (chartered 1855), now the University of Santa Clara. The church, which become the college chapel, was so badly damaged by the earthquakes of 1865 and 1868 that it finally had to be demolished. When the frame church that replaced it burned in 1926, a fifth church reproducing in concrete the third (of adobe) was built to house relics rescued from the ashes.

The Spanish-style buildings of the University form a series of quadrangles. The University Library exhibits old missals, vestments, breviaries, paintings, and chairs, rescued from the various churches. In the Theater, students enact a Passion Play every fifth year. The University of Santa Clara is best known for the meteorological and astronomical observations of its scientists. Weather predictions of the late Father Ricard, called "The Padre of the Rains," were so nearly infallible that farmers used to telephone each evening for the next day's forecast.

Along the Alameda (tree-lined road) now followed by US 101, once stretched three lanes of willow trees with dovecotes in their branches. On festival days the doves were unloosed with trailing ribbons fastened to their feet to fly in front of little girls scattering wild flowers.

  1. Federal Writers' Project, Works Progress Administration, California: A Guide to the Golden State, American Guide Series, Hastings House, Publishers, New York, 1939.
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