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Willow Glen, San Jose

4.2
Willow Glen is a neighborhood of San Jose, California, in Santa Clara County. The neighborhood has walkable tree-lined streets, diverse architecture, specialty shops, and independent businesses. The historic downtown on Lincoln Avenue between Willow Street and Minnesota Avenue is a well-known downtown community, with a variety of restaurants and shops.HistoryThe neighborhood began in the mid-1800s as an unincorporated community adjacent to San Jose, California. By the 1860s the small unincorporated community needed its first school, and Willow Glen Elementary School was founded in 1863. Willow Glen continued as an unincorporated community until the 1920s, when the City of San Jose ordered the Southern Pacific Railroad to re-route the Southern Pacific Railroad trunk line which at that time was going down Fourth Street. The Southern Pacific then proposed to re-route down Lincoln Avenue. In order to forestall that attempt, Willow Glen was incorporated as a city in 1927. The railroad was instead re-routed to its current route through a then-unincorporated area now known as North Willow Glen, where its principal user is now Caltrain.Being a city, however, required thinking about issues such as sewage. Willow Glen had no sewer system – individual homes had their own cesspools or septic systems. Because the area was marshy before being drained for Willow Glen, the high water table resulted in raw sewage often spilling above-ground from flooded cesspools. Rather than build their own very expensive sewage treatment system, in 1936 Willow Glen's residents opted to be annexed to San Jose and be linked to San Jose's sewage system, the measure passing by a vote of 978 to 871.
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128 reviews
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  • San Jose is a sea of the same ol' thing - - same chain restaurants, clothing stores, etc. Willow Glen is one of the only areas that I can still find little treasure in mom and pop owned businesses. My...  more »
  • We have lived here for 30 years and it just continues to improve. Great neighborhoods, easy walking to shopping and restaurants. Some of the best restaurants in the area are on Lincoln. Best family te...  more »
  • Wonderful display of Christmas lights in the streets here. A great festive atmosphere. Well worth a slow drive or a stroll after dark. Traffic can be heavy.  more »

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Luxury hotels surrounded by palm trees and fountains host many visitors to Silicon Valley. Some of the largest hotels are congregated around the convention center. Farther away from downtown, you'll find hotels and bed and breakfasts in renovated historical mansions, complete with chandeliers and marble floors.
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