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Map of the City of San Jose: Clayton 1886

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  • Author: James A. Clayton
  • Date: 1886
  • Medium: Lithographed map with hand color
  • Condition: Very Good - Bright example with vibrant color on two conjoined sheets as issued, light age toning and foxing, expert repairs to areas of paper loss in margins and image
  • Inches: 40 x 36 1/4 [Paper]
  • Centimeters: 101.6 x 92.08 [Paper]
  • Product ID: 3110053

San Jose, City of Innovation

Very rare large-scale map of San Jose, California, at the convergence of the Guadalupe and Coyote Rivers. Features colored overlays indicating the locations of important buildings, parks, and institutions, and is superimposed with concentric circles showing radial distances from the juncture of First and Santa Clara Streets. This grand map emerges as a seminal artifact within the corpus of individually issued maps dedicated to the municipality. Only two known earlier maps of San Jose are known: Thomas White's production of 1850 and George Hare's rendition of 1872, both much smaller.

Shows municipal boundaries, early land allocations, subdivisions, survey demarcations, and notable edifices such as the Convent of Notre Dame, St. James Square, Washington Square, and the State Normal School, provides a comprehensive tableau of the city's emergent landscape.   Also labels the city's various tracts of land in process of development.

An appended notation detailing the transfer of cartographic rights to F.A. Taylor, a purveyor of news, adds a layer of intrigue to the map's provenance, hinting at commercial dynamics inherent in its creation.

Historically, San Jose traces its origin to November 29, 1777, with the establishment of the Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe, signifying the inaugural civil settlement in Alta California. The subsequent relocation of the pueblo to what is now the modern downtown area in 1797 marks a pivotal moment in the city's spatial history. The transition of governance from Spanish to Mexican suzerainty, culminating in its annexation by the United States in 1846, heralded a transformative epoch for San Jose. March 27, 1850, witnesses its municipal incorporation as the second city within the burgeoning state of California, following Sacramento's precedent.

Lithographed by Britton & Rey, San Francisco.

Background on Creator

The biography of James A. Clayton, a figure of historical significance in the locale, weaves a narrative thread reflective of broader migratory patterns of the era. Hailing from England, Clayton's odyssey spans continents and epochs, from his initial settlement in Iowa County, Wisconsin, to his eventual establishment in San Jose. His multifaceted endeavors, ranging from entrepreneurial ventures in photography to public service as County Clerk and later, as a prominent real estate broker, epitomize the entrepreneurial dynamism characteristic of the period. Clayton's enduring legacy within the annals of San Jose's socioeconomic fabric underscores his indelible imprint upon the region beyond his demise in April 1896.