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Decking the Halls of the Senior Center with Historical Prints

Decking the Halls of the Senior Center with Historical PrintsDecking the Halls of the Senior Center with Historical Prints

Just in time to brighten the halls for the holidays, the upstairs corridors of the Santa Clara Senior Center, 1303 Fremont St., will be decked with a permanent exhibit of 34 historical prints depicting scenes from the city of Santa Clara’s past.

The project, proposed by former Senior Center Director Phil Orr in 2014, is the labor of love of retired Santa Clara Local History Librarian Mary Hanel and retired Deputy City Manager Carol McCarthy. They chose the photos, had them duplicated, wrote the captions and then framed the photos themselves to keep the cost down.

“We waited to buy the frames until there was a half-off sale,” says Hanel.

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The project was funded by a $2,000 grant from the Historic Preservation Society of Santa Clara. The grant came from proceeds of the 2014 Historic Home Tour sponsored by the HPSSC, with assistance from the Old Quad Residents’ Association.

“It’s been an exciting project and fun to learn about the history,” says Hanel, who recruited McCarthy. “Carol agreed to assist with project given her background in working on the historical photo exhibit put up at City Hall several years ago.” 

In 1992, for Santa Clara’s 140th anniversary, McCarthy oversaw the installation of a permanent exhibition at City Hall of about 150 historical photos (http://scweekly.blogspot.com/2009/12/150-reasons-to-visit-city-hall-time.html).  

“Mary and I both love history and can’t wait to get the exhibit up on the walls,” says McCarthy,

A few of the exhibition photos are from private collections, but most images are from City collections at Headen-Inman House, the library or City Hall. The city scenes and events captured in the photos are eclectic.

For example: a 1943 Columbus Day parade; Owens-Corning Fiberglas in 1949–surrounded by orchards; James Williams, the city’s first African-American settler; Main Street in 1962; a grammar school class in 1884; Agnews Train Depot, circa 1918; a 4th of July donkey baseball game in Washington Park, circa 1960; and the hog pen at Agnews State Hospital, from the late 1940s.

An original map of Santa Clara created in 1976, the City’s bicentennial year, and featuring city historical landmarks and special attractions is part of the collection of prints. The map is a gift of Bob Tower, the artist and engineer who did the graphics for it.

“History is being made all the time,” says Hanel.

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