The House that Seed Built - CHARLES COPELAND MORSE
It was built for Charles Copeland Morse, one of Santa Clara Valley's first tycoons of business in our neighborhood. In 1877, Charles built the C.C.Morse & Company seed business from a local operation into the world's largest seed company - Ferry-Morse Seed Company.
Eventually CC Morse merged with Dexter M. Ferry's seed company to become the world's largest seed distributor, Ferry-Morse Seed company with their world headquarters in Mountain View at what is today the Highway 237, Whisman Road and Evelyn Avenue triangle. Ferry-Morse's vast growing fields would soon give birth to Silicon Valley. Fairchild built on Ferry-Morse property would go on to create the first electronic circuit inside a "silicon chip" in 1958 and later go on to found Intel.
While Santa Clara Valley soil was rich for growing seeds and ideas, it was also polluted. Sadly Silicon Valley is home to more toxic Superfund sites than anywhere else in the country, with over 23 in Santa Clara county.
Today it is a home to Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority of Santa Clara University.
You might ask why a beautiful historic home next city over is in this blog...
Before it was the rose garden it was "Poplar City"
Before our neighborhood was the Rose Garden, our neighborhood was called Poplar City! Back in 1876 two San Jose pioneers pulled their resources together to develop home sites between San Jose and Santa Clara along the Alameda.
Turns out that Morse Street which starts in Santa Clara at beautiful Hilmar Street and used to go all the way to Singletary Avenue in our Shasta Hanchett neighborhood is named in honor of Charles Copeland Morse.
This bit of history explains the names of several streets in our neighborhood. when the Chapman-Davis tract of home lots were first sold as part of the "poplar city" for the fast growing privacy trees planted around each lot that was only sold to "actual builders." It helps to explain why Morse street was home to so many tradesmen who worked to build the mansions of the Alameda. My Morse street home was built by a plumber.
Moses Davis - Davis Street
W.S. Chapman - Chapman Street & Chapman Court
Charles Morse - Morse Street
The already named streets shown in this rare map are:
- The Alameda - San Jose's first built road built to connect the Spanish Missions of California.
- Union Avenue - The toll-free alternative to The Alameda, now renamed Park Avenue.
- More Street - Named after Judge John "Moore", renamed Idaho Street because of confusion with "Morse."
- McKendrie Street - Named by College of the Pacific in honor of Methodist Bishop William McKendree (you don't appreciate how much of spelling was phonetic back in the day).
- Hedding Street - Named by College of the Pacific in honor of Methodist Bishop Elijah Hedding
- University Street - Named in honor of being the entrance to College of the Pacific (now the campus of Bellarmine College Preparatory after College of the Pacific moved to Stockton to become today's University of the Pacific).
- Emory Street - Named by College of the Pacific in honor of Methodist Bishop John Emory.
You'll also notice that Interstate 280 ripped through a good section of the neighborhood between Davis and Newhall Street and separating the neighborhood.
I enjoy these trips down memory lane, and hope that Rose Garden denizens appreciate the rich vibrant history and vitality that newcomers brought to our neighborhood.