Residents Share Stories About Santa Clara Street, School & Park Names
Several residents have shared stories, facts and anecdotes about street, school and park names. Kim Keltner wrote to clarify information in the spring issue about streets named by and for local developers. The spelling of the street name Di Guilio is actually Di Giulio Ave. The Avila Street that was referred to as being named for one of developer Di Giulio's daughters was named for both of his daughters. Avila Street was named for both Lena Di Giulio Avila and Dena Di Giulio Avila, twins who married cousins with the same last name, Henry and Tony Avila.
Former Superintendent of the Santa Clara Unified School District, Don Callejon, emailed information about local schools. In February 1957, the school district Board of Trustees appointed Emil R. Buchser Jr. to head Buchser High School that was to be completed in late 1958. Elmer Johnson, in turn, was appointed to head Wilcox High School when it was completed in 1962 or 1963. However, when the two new high schools opened, it was Elmer Johnson who actually ended up serving as first principal of Buchser High School and Emil R. "Rudy" Buchser who served as principal of Wilcox High. As further background on why William A. Wilson was honored in the naming of Wilson High School, he was a long-time member of the Santa Clara Elementary and High School Boards and served as president of both.
Christopher Bracher, whose great, granduncle Karl Bracher was honored in the naming of Bracher School, emailed that the family is still involved in special Bracher school projects. A Bracher family scholarship was recently awarded to a Bracher School student to attend a summer computer camp at Santa Clara University. The old Bracher Ranch was located right across the street from Bracher School where Bracher Senior Apartments is now at 2665 South Drive.
After the email from Christopher Bracher it occurred to Librarian Mary Hanel that besides the school, Bracher Park is also named for Karl Bracher. Parks are another community institution whose names reflect City history. Besides Bracher Park, here are examples of other City parks named for Santa Clara pioneers:
Agnew Park: Park is named after Agnew's Village which was named in honor of Abram Agnew, a Santa Clara Valley pioneer from Ohio. In 1877, the land of A. Agnew appears on county maps opposite the paper mill owned by James Lick. South Pacific Coast Railroad established an agency five miles north of San Jose in 1878 on Agnew land. The railroad station and the town were referred to as Agnew's because Abram Agnew gave four acres of land for the railroad station and laid out the town.
Bowers Park: Park is named for Herbert Bowers, a pear grower in Santa Clara who was also an organizer and director of the Santa Clara Pear Association. He also served on the Jefferson Union School Board in the 1920s and early 1930s.
Montague Park: Park is named for Montague School that was named for W.W. Montague who owned Riverside Farm. Montague served on the Board of Trustees of old Jefferson School and on the Board of Directors of Agnew Hospital. The completion of Montague Park was special because it became the first City park facility located north of Bayshore Freeway.