HHD Officers


Jonathan Miller
David Dudek
Co-chairs

Gillian Claus
Vice-chair

T
Treasurer

Suzy Brooks
Secretary

E
Editor

Robert Abatecola
Suzy Brooks
David Dudek
NAC Representatives

Jonathan Miller
NAG Representatives

Manuel Lima
Historian

About HHD

The Hensley Historic District neighborhood association and meets on the last Tuesday of off-numbered months at Northside Community Center, North Sixth and Empire, 7:00 pm. An advisory board and specific committees do meet more often however, to deal with specific issues.

Neighborhood leaders who had worked hard to achieve national recognition for the Hensley Historic District also worked to promote and encourage further preservation at a local level. In November, 1988, the San Jose City Council placed an Area of Historic Sensitivity overlay over the entire 59 acres of the area during the city's 1988 General Plan Review, in preparation of beginning the preservation process. General Plan changes, revision of the historic preservation ordinance, and public hearings took more than a year to complete the process. In December, 1989, the Historic Landmarks Commission held a public hearing on the proposed Hensley Residential Historic District (the first residential district in San Jose). The commission then voted to recommend designation of the area as a city landmark district. Full Historic Landmark status was achieved in early 1990 after approval by the Planning Department and by the City Council.

History

Our neighborhood was named after Samuel J. Hensley and a three block long street between North 1st and North 4th also bears his name.

At the turn of the century, many of the homes on North 2nd and North 3rd Streets were once owned by some of the city's wealthiest residents, while homes on North 5th and North 6th were more often owned by "working class" families.

North Fifth Street, formally Main Street, was intended to move the center of downtown development to the east and the additional width of the street accommodated the Horse Railroad serving the area from 1875 to 1901. The expansion of San Jose State University across South 5th at San Fernando and the demise of the horse railroad significantly changed those plans and a large median island (a portion of which still exists between Julian Street and Empire Street) was constructed down the street.

Beginning with the Great Depression in the 1930's and continuing into the 1940's and 1950's many of these historic homes were turned into boarding houses and converted into multiple living units. The 1960's will remembered for the flight of homeowners to the suburbs leading to the final decay and destruction of many of San Jose's historic dwellings. Sadly, many of the larger homes were razed to give way to apartment buildings and commercial endeavors. A renewed appreciation for these old homes and the beginning of historic preservation efforts began in the 1970's, was boosted in the 1980's with national recognition and city landmark status, and continues to this day.

Neighborhood leaders who had worked hard to achieve national recognition for the Hensley Historic District also worked to promote and encourage further preservation at the local level. In November 1988, the San Jose City Council placed a sensitive historic overlay over the entire 59 acres of the area during the City's 1988 General Plan review, in preparation of beginning the preservation process. General Plan changes, revision of the preservation ordinance, and public hearings took more than a year to complete the process. In December 1989, the Historic Landmarks Commission held a public hearing on the proposed Hensley Residential Historic District (the first residential district in San Jose). The commission then voted to recommend designation of the area as a City landmark district. Full Historic Landmark status was achieved in early 1990 after approval by the Planning Department and by the City Council.

The 1990's saw an increase in restoration and appreciation of the uniqueness of the character of the neighborhood. We anticipate increased awareness of our efforts in the future as more families move into our neighborhood and continue the rehabilitation and preservation of these beautiful homes.