District Blog

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


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

Remembering Kelly Young Crowley

Posted on September 25th, 2019 by DCBA

It was an unusual sight in Downtown Campbell this Monday night. Traffic was heavy and parking spaces were hard to come by even though many of the stores were closed early. Our apologies for the inconvenience, but we were honoring a friend. We didn't plan to close the street on you, but when a river of flickering candles spills into the street and drifts silently down the road, it's a road closure by any other name. We're also sorry that some who came to the event didn't get a candle. There were 500 prepared and a few more than expected showed up.

A lot of things happened on Monday night that we didn't expect. Topping that list would be that we never thought we'd be celebrating the memory of someone so important to our community with a candlelight vigil after her untimely passing at the age of 48. Kelly Young Crowley was Campbell's Citizen of the Year in 2017, a board member of the Downtown Campbell Business Association (us), and our acting President this past year. She wasn't just someone we loved and was (obviously) loved by many, but she was someone who perfectly embodied the kind of place that we are and want to be.

More than just about anyone else, she knew Downtown Campbell from all angles because she lived it. She started off waiting tables at restaurants and would eventually graduate to being the general manager of Khartoum over a decade later. Somewhere in between she owned a boutique with a friend. They were actually both still waiting tables and would take turns at the shop and then go make their shifts at restaurants down the strip.

She was kinda everywhere. Over the years, Kelly had a key role in all sorts of events and activities big and small in and around Downtown Campbell. She worked on our Wine Walks, Halloween events, toy drives, and numerous other holiday events. She's scheduled entertainment for festivals and fundraised for charities. Last year, she was the coordinator for the Carol of Lights. The list of things she's touched goes on almost as long as the line of people who came to pay their respects this week.

Downtown Campbell is a culture of many hands joining together to do awesome things. If the people and organizations that make up our community were organs, Kelly would have been the heart. To a fault, she loved her community and had a bottomless desire to give to it. She was a joy to work with, cared for others, and was never too concerned about getting enough credit for the things she did.

We are not only shocked and deeply saddened by her untimely passing, but we're also going to be dealing with how we move on without Kelly the leader, Kelly the volunteer, Kelly the cheerleader, and Kelly the friend. Tonight we will have to run our first Wine Walk without Kelly. Next month it'll be our first Halloween.

There will be many non-celebratory milestones and unwelcome anniversaries. We hurt, but in honor of our dear friend, we take it one day at a time and will do our best to...Read More

Photo courtesy of Susan Blake.

The next featured Landmark home is the J.C. Ainsley House (No. 2) at 112 N. Second Street. This classic Queen Anne Victorian Style house was built before 1900. It once stood at the site of the Ainsley Cannery on N. Harrison Avenue. When the cannery needed to expand in 1919, the house was moved by a capstan arrangement using a horse for power to its current location. It was moved a block at time in this manner. It moved south on Harrison to Campbell Avenue then to Second Street. This was the Ainsley’s second home in Campbell. It became their son Gordon Ainsley’s home in 1924, when J.C. Ainsley’s third and final home was finished on the corner of Bascom and Hamilton Ave.

This house is defined by its projecting second story gables and extensive entrance porch on the first floor that wraps itself around the corner of the house. It is embellished with a few decorative elements such as its horizontal shiplap siding, French doors, brick chimney and symmetrical placing of windows. It is a fine example of the Queen Anne Style, showcasing good design, composition and craftsmanship, and it retains most all of its original materials and design features.

In 1964, Thomas and Audrey Tuttle purchased the house from Mrs. Alice Cowdrey, an active member of the Campbell Methodist Episcopal Church in Downtown Campbell.

At that time, four bedrooms on the second floor of the house had been transformed into a separate apartment with its own bath, kitchen and back stairs entry. The Tuttles were raising ten children and quickly returned the apartment to its original design. All of their children went on to graduate from Campbell High School. Now in her 90’s, Mrs. Tuttle still lives in this wonderful house.

Susan Blake, Campbell Historic Preservation Board.

Check out the archives for This Place Matters for more stories about Campbell's historic homes.

AFKgg Gamer Lounge's is Back!

Posted on August 22nd, 2019 by Lvl Up

AFKgg Gamer's Lounge that was formerly in Downtown San Jose is back as of this weekend! It's now AFKxp in Downtown Campbell and it's upstairs of LvL Up Arcade/Gastropub in the old "Gaslighter Theatre" building. It'll be the perfect pairing of a PC/Console gaming lounge upstairs with Coin-op gaming downstairs.

Saturday 8/24 is your first chance to check out the NEW #AFKxp location in Downtown Campbell!

4PM SF Shock Watch Party (all ages)
Tix http://bit.ly/2YZ2FS3
Info http://bit.ly/2NddM2y

7PM The International #TI9 Pubstomp/ DOTA2 Watch Party (18+)
Tix http://bit.ly/2MmakmG
Info http://bit.ly/2KQhAUB

More Info