Silicon Valley is home to world-class innovation in science and technology but there's also plenty of local history in the former "Valley of Heart's Delight".
Plan a visit to any of these historic homes and gardens to explore the history of San Jose and Silicon Valley.
History Park is a community of more than a dozen historic buildings and local history museums representing the diverse cultures of the Santa Clara Valley.
This 14-acre site (within San Jose's Kelley Park) park has several historic homes, paved streets, a running trolley, and even a cafe so you can experience what a walk through San Jose might have looked like in years past.
Filoli is a historic mansion and one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century. The home was built for Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn, a wealthy San Francisco family who worked in mining and water resources. Architect Willis Polk designed the home and formal gardens combined several styles into one. Today the 654-acre estate is a California State Historic Landmark and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
These two properties are different in style and period but they are jointly managed by History Park San Jose. Both homes are only open for special events, listed on the organization's events calendar.
The Peralta Adobe is the oldest structure in the City of San Jose. It was built in 1797 and dates back to the earliest incorporated Spanish community, El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe. The home was built by Manuel Gonzales, an Apache Indian who was the first resident and second mayor of San Jose. It was named for the home's second occupant and city commissioner, Luís María Peralta.
The home still has the original horno (an outside working oven), and two rooms furnished per the period.
The Fallon House was built in 1855 by Thomas Fallon, one of San José’s earliest mayors and his wife Carmel, the daughter of a prominent Mexican landowner. The Victorian mansion has fifteen fully furnished rooms typical of the Victorian period.
Ardenwood is a historic 1850's country estate with a working farm that is managed by the East Bay Regional Park District. The home of George Washington Patterson, who traveled west to mine for gold in California. Instead, he became a successful local farmer and built this Victorian Mansion with elaborate period gardens. The farm still grows the same kind of produce that was grown during that time period and uses horse-powered farming. The farm's staff dress in victorian clothing to share their stories and demonstrate farm chores to explain what life was like in the early part of the 20th-century. In the winter, monarch butterflies overwinter on the property.
One of the most famous historic homes in Silicon Valley is Sarah Winchester's curiously sprawling estate in San Jose. Learn more about the Winchester Mystery House in this post.