District Blog

Evelyn and her Vintage Ties at Christmas in Campbell

Posted on December 21st, 2019 by sheldon

Evelyn and her Vintage Ties and Downtown Campbell would like to wish you a holly jolly Christmas. I hope some of you managed to catch them. Wow! They sounded fabulous at our Christmas in Campbell street music yesterday!

12 Last Minute Gift Ideas from Downtown Campbell

Posted on December 19th, 2019 by DCBA

Ok, we know you're out there. Those of you who don't get around to doing holiday shopping until you're staring at a deadline. Come visit us in Downtown Campbell. We've got you covered with a wide variety of gift options that you can come in and pick out without fighting crazy mobs of shoppers and get back in time to binge watch your latest obsession on Netflix. You're welcome.

This Place Matters: The First Ainsley House

Posted on December 11th, 2019 by susanblake

This month’s featured landmark home is the first J. C. Ainsley House at 84 North Third St. The Queen Anne cottage style house is estimated to have been built in 1874, on a 7 ½ acre ranch. It originally stood on the northeast corner of East Campbell Ave. and Winchester (Road) Blvd. Its story is another example how homes were saved rather than demolished by moving them to new locations as the township grew.

Yet another house built by George Whitney, it shows his talent for creating unique details in the Queen Anne Style. The wide shiplap siding made of clear heart redwood, was likely sourced in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Ornately carved brackets support the eaves, with cut scallop shaped shingles and decorative work underneath. The one story house with no basement and an unfinished attic, had a half story added in 1983. The addition maintains the exterior architectural integrity of the Queen Anne style.

When John Colpitts Ainsley first arrived in Campbell in 1887, he purchased this house and ranch lands. Originally from England, he came to the United States in 1884 to seek his fortune in America. While still a bachelor, Mr. Ainsley began to experiment with canning fruit on a stove in his backyard sheds. It was here that J.C. figured out how to keep our locally grown peaches, pears, apricots and prunes from spoiling, while maintaining their flavor and color. His canning methods allowed the fruits to be shipped back to eager buyers in England who were looking for quality above and beyond what they could get locally. J.C. Ainsley is credited with inventing canned fruit salad.

In 1891, his “Washboiler Cannery” produced a thousand cases of fruit. (See Jeanette Watson Campbell the Orchard City). Mr. Ainsley went on to become a highly successful business man, building the J.C. Ainsley Packing Company, while providing good employment for many of the town’s residents. He married a local young lady, Alcinda Shelly, on May 1, 1894 and they had two children.

In 1921, the Campbell Union School District purchased the house and property and built the Campbell Union Grammar School, now the Heritage Village Office Complex. The district moved the house to the rear of the property to make way for the new school building, where it was rented to the first school principal for $25 a month. At one point the house was converted to a Manual Arts shop for students when the principal’s wife decided their growing family needed more room.

During the Great Depression, the house was put up for sale, and in 1930, it was sold to the only bidder, the school custodian and volunteer fireman, Antone Ferro. Mr. Ferro bought the house for $150. In 1933, he moved the house once again, by using horses, a capstan and a system of 12 foot long wooden skids with short wooden rollers rather than a wheeled vehicle, to its current location on North Third St. This method of house moving was common in Campbell because it allowed the structures to be maneuvered...Read More

We were hoping to have better news, but the weather report is looking very unfavorable for the Carol of Lights on Saturday, December 7th. This event has been held in rain before, but the weather forecasts are predicting a downpour with high winds.

That's more than we can do for safety reasons. We're very disappointed that we have to cancel, but it's in the best interest of safety for everyone involved from the families who'd be coming to our many volunteers and hired vendors who'd be working in potentially dangerous conditions.

Thank you all for understanding and please remember that we've still got our Santa hats on for Christmas in Campbell street music on the remaining Friday and Saturday nights until Christmas that aren't rain soaked.

Also, there are other holiday events taking place indoors that were scheduled to take place alongside the Carol of Lights. Those are still happening.

View the Events Calendar

It's quiet just about everywhere today, but nowhere does it feel more quiet than in places that are public squares that are rarely lacking in bustle. You can tell that a place is truly a public square when it feels entirely wrong when it's at rest and it's very rare to find Downtown Campbell so empty and devoid of emotion. It's just a little too quiet without the personalities that make a place a place. The women (mostly) and men who create the small town magic in a place like Downtown Campbell are here so much that you can think of them as characters on stage at Disneyland playing a version of themselves in their own little booths. They play the version of themselves that provides you with a "third place". They're characters who know your tastes and make you look great. Sometimes they're even play that face you seek out when you need a little support or encouragement.

Most of the time when you shop, your time and money is converted into a paper receipt or a line item on a billing statement that you get at the end of the month. When you shop or play in a place like Downtown Campbell, the transaction isn't so simple. Every time you come here to buy a cup of coffee, pick up a gift, or even just to sit down for a while on a park bench, you're part of the show. You cast votes with your dollars and feet that a place like Downtown Campbell is a public square where everyone can come be whatever version of themselves they feel like playing that day. Perhaps more than ever, we need our public squares where people are not reduced to usernames and selfies.

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and we're thankful for all of you who are a part of our community. Some of you have even moved on and still keep in touch because the time you spent here meant something to you. We cherish being that kind of place.

This Place Matters: Louis and Edward Genasci House

Posted on November 1st, 2019 by sheldon

The seventh featured Landmark home is the Louis and Edward Genasci House at 207 N. Central Ave. It is located in one of the earliest sections of the original Benjamin Campbell family land holdings.

Likely built around 1900, it is a one-story rural California Farmhouse style cottage with some Queen Anne and Greek Revival accents that many home builders added. The steeply pitched roof and wide shiplap siding showcase the boxed cornices, and long double hung sash windows with molded cross pieces. In the 1930’s, the previously open front porch was enclosed to make a sun porch. The original two-story wood frame, two door barn still sits at the back of this property and can be seen from the street.

Louis Genasci Sr. immigrated to the United States from Switzerland in 1885. In 1893, he married his wife Albina at the Mission San Luis Obispo, according to a story in the San Jose Mercury Herald. The Genasci family arrived in Campbell in 1911, and opened a thriving grocery and general merchandise store in the new downtown business district, on Campbell Ave. Their sons, Ed and Louis Jr. were the delivery boys while Louis Sr. and Albina ran the store. The family became well known for their many civic contributions to the community.

The town was very concerned about not having any fire protection after two big homes burned down between 1896 and 1902. In June of 1913, the town fathers including Louis Genasci Sr. decided to establish a volunteer fire department. However, the volunteers immediately faced significant challenges. Thirteen hydrants were installed on a few of the new downtown streets but the water pressure was inconsistent. Funding for equipment such as hoses, hooks and ladders, buckets and a hand pulled chemical “fire engine” were not available. The volunteers bought their own badges for about $1.00.

Ed Genasci, who later became chief of the volunteers, was designated coupler of the hose company when the new fire department started. According to Jeanette Watson’s book, Campbell the Orchard City, the volunteers were called to fires by the ringing of the church bells in those early days. This proved to be problem on Sundays, because folks were also called to worship with ringing of the church bells. In 1914, a fire bell was purchased from the city of San Jose for $40.

After a disastrous fire took out many of the businesses on Campbell Avenue at First Street in October of 1917, voters passed a resolution to create a formal fire district, but funding was still hard to come by. It was still a volunteer fire department and they would raise funds by washing down buildings as part of their fire drills and the owners gave them donations.

According to local reports, in 1935, Louis Genasci Sr. fell off his bicycle into a mud hole on his way to a fire at 2 a.m. on a rainy morning. The volunteer fire department had recently become “bicyclized” so they could get to the fires more quickly and if needed, cut through the...Read More

As of morning on Sunday, October 27, 2019, there has been no announcement of any planned PG&E power shut offs for Downtown Campbell. Barring any unforeseen changes, we will be fully powered for our Creepy Crawly Halloween festivities today from 4pm to 7pm.

You can lookup planned shutoffs by address online using the PG&E Potential PSPS Address Lookup Tool.

More Info

Dear friends, it is that day again upon which I must warn you of strange happenings that befall Downtown Campbell once a year on the Friday before Halloween. Do not worry about what I am about to say.

If you are in Downtown Campbell tonight having dinner on the sidewalk and you see a horde of zombies lurching in your direction, do not panic. They're only here for the appetizers. Stay calm and eat on.

If you've already eaten all of the appetizers, you'll need to run but there is still no reason for alarm. Simply remember this sage old advice:

If you're being chased by zombies, trip someone slower than you.

For those of you who have kids who can't do candy due to dietary or allergy reasons, we'll have Books for Treats back again this year to hand out books for Halloween. Also, there will likely be other organizations with us who'll be handing out non-edible goodies. Of course there will be activities, photo booths, and the general fun of being at a huge costume party as well.

A Note About Creepy Crawly Halloween in Downtown Campbell

Posted on October 22nd, 2019 by sheldon

We are looking forward to seeing some great costumes at our Creepy Crawly Halloween event this Sunday from 4-7pm! It's an all ages event so get costumed up and show us that you're young at heart or an old soul for young bones.

We'd like to remind everyone that this is an extremely popular event so if you have children or animals that are sensitive, this may not be the event for you. It will be crowded.

There will be thousands of people and paws in amazing costumes. If you're coming to see that and be a part of huge costume party in the streets, you'll have a great time. If you're coming to dash for candy and leave with as big of a stash as possible, you may leave disappointed.

There will be lots of candy and gizmos given away and activity stations to keep the little goblins occupied, but there will still be lines. We add more candy, activities, and stations every year, but it's just never going to be enough with the number of people who come.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

East Stage (by light rail tracks)

  • 10am-1pm: Rusty Rock n' Roll Band
  • 2pm-5pm: Given to Fly

Biersch Garten (center of downtown)

  • 10am-5pm: Zicke-Zacke Band
  • 2:00pm: Braumeister (Home-Brew) Competition
  • 3:00pm: Stein-Holding & Best-Dressed Contests

1st. St. Stage

  • 10am-1pm: Bri Cauz
  • 2pm-5pm: Lavender Fields

Tessora's German Stage (by Tessora's)

  • 10am-5pm: Alpine Sound

Community Stage (West end of downtown)

  • 10am: National Anthem
  • 10:30am: Sharat Lin-Dance of Peace
  • 11am: Westmont High School Jazz Combo
  • Noon: Jack Pavlina Solo
  • 1pm: Ooompa Band with Roberta Howe
  • 2pm: Maximum Hold-Don Woodward
  • 3pm: Zumba with Cel Galizo
  • 3:30pm: College of Adaptive Arts
  • 4:30pm: Ensemble Folclorico Colibri

Saturday, October 19, 2019

East Stage

  • 10am-1pm: Beagle at the Door
  • 2-6pm: Johnny Neri Band

Biersch Garten

  • 10am-6pm: Zicke-Zacke Band
  • 3:00pm: Stein Holding & Best Dressed Contests

1st St. Stage

  • 10:00am: Brooke & Emil
  • 2pm-5:30pm: Mary Ellen Duo

Tessora's German Stage

  • 10am-2pm: Deutscher Musikverein, San Francisco
  • 3:00pm: TBA

Community Stage

  • 10am: National Anthem
  • 10:30am: Lady Fingers Guitar Duo
  • 11:30am: Grace the Friendly Fairy
  • Noon: Brandon Southworth
  • 12:30pm: San Jose Saxophone Choir
  • 1:30pm California Sports Center
  • 2:30pm Cassandra & Taylor
  • 3pm: Zumba with Cel Galizo
  • 4pm: College of Adaptive Arts
  • 5pm: Movement Elevation Dance Arts

You can download a copy of the schedule and event map....Read More

More Info

Flash Sale on Taste of Campbell Tickets $4 Off!

Posted on October 14th, 2019 by DCBA

A Taste of Campbell is an annual fundraiser event organized by Campbell CERT to help them fund their activities to improve disaster and emergency preparedness throughout the community. This year's event will be held at Orchard City Banquet Hall on November 2nd and will feature some of Campbell's hottest restaurants.

Use promo code OCTSAVE to get $4 off!

Tickets for the event are $46, but from now through October 20th, you can get $4 off if you use the promo code octsave when you purchase your tickets! You'll save a few bucks and get to enjoy a delicious afternoon while investing in the safety of your neighborhood and greater community. What's not to love?

Purchase Tickets Online

https://www.downtowncampbell.com/taste-of-campbell

This Place Matters: James Henry and Jessie Campbell House

Posted on October 3rd, 2019 by susanblake

Photo courtesty of Susan Blake.

This month’s featured historic home is the James Henry and Jessie Campbell House at 91 South Second Street. It is the most significant historic home directly related to town founder, Benjamin Campbell.

Built in 1895, it sits on what was once part of a 160-acre ranch that Benjamin purchased from the United States Government in 1870. The 20,000 square foot lot was a gift from Benjamin to his son James Henry Campbell and his wife Jessie Agnes McKenzie. James used the land for dairy farming for many years, but when he married Jessie he decided to subdivide parcels.

The two-story Queen Anne Cottage style home is a fine example by local builder George Whitney who built many of Campbell’s original historic homes. Several of these homes still stand in downtown. Whitney’s attention to detail and craftmanship can be seen in the porch brackets, the turned wooden pillars and the wrap-around front veranda, and the unique cut eve shingles which was a builder’s signature in that time.

A large basement was added to the house around 1905. James and Jessie created a “milk room” under the coolest, north portion of the house, since there was no refrigeration at the time. It served as a cooling room for milk from their Jersey cows to be stored and kept for a short time. According to Jeannette Watson’s book, Campbell the Orchard City, Jessie used large pans for the milk which were placed on rotating racks. Later, the cream would be skimmed off the top and churned into butter. James and Jessie sold the milk, cream and butter to the townspeople. Benjamin Campbell and his wife Mary who lived a block and a half away on what is now Campbell Avenue, would frequently stop by.

Remarkably, this house has had only two owners. It remained in the Campbell family until the 1950’s, when Joseph P. and Connie Russo purchased it completely furnished for $112,000 from Jessie Agnes Campbell, who was now a widow. Mr. and Mrs. Russo worked in real estate and Joseph saw something unique and charming about the old house and grounds. They lovingly restored it and enjoyed sitting on the front porch watching traffic, according to their son, Joe Russo Jr.

After his parents passed away in the early 2000’s, Joe Jr. and his wife Mary Ann became the sole owners of the property when Joe’s brother who lived in Visalia declared he was not interested in it. This next generation of the Russo family has done extensive restoration, seismic retrofitting and needed upgrades to the house. While doing the seismic retrofitting to the basement, the Russo’s came across an old 7 lb. flat iron and the top of a wooden barrel. The top shows the words, “Farmers Union Campbell”.

The Farmers Union was one of the first commercial businesses in a newly created downtown business district on Campbell Ave. The Farmers Union store started in 1894. It offered free horse drawn delivery to locals, since traveling to San Jose for...Read More

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