Thursday, April 26, 2012

Miss Mexico, Gabriela Palacio, Visits Silicon Valley to Engage in Humanitarian Projects

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – April 26, 2012 – Gabriela Palacio, Executive Director of Nuestra Belleza Aguascalientes and Miss Mexico 2010 for the Miss World and Miss International Beauty Pageants, will visit the San Francisco Bay Area from May 2-5, 2012.

In close cooperation with the Consulate General of Mexico in San Jose, Miss Gabriela Palacio will visit Stanford University, the Day Worker Center of Mountain View, and the History San José Collection Center to engage in different humanitarian projects.

During her visit to the History San José Collection Center, Alida Bray, President & CEO, will showcase the Pueblo Papers, more than 6,000 original manuscripts dating from 1781-1850 and will convey to the general public, along with Miss Mexico, the ongoing efforts to decipher such documents, which are milestones to the history of Silicon Valley.

Inspired by the movie “A Better Life,” featuring Academy Award nominee Demian Bichir, Miss Palacio will visit the Day Worker Center of Mountain View. In an effort to raise awareness about the challenges and difficult conditions for Mexicans abroad and the historical significance of Mexican identity and ancestry, Miss Palacio, the Consulate of Mexico in San Jose, and the Day Worker Center of Mountain View have the honor to invite all members of the press to the following events:

Events (Exclusively for members of the press)

May 4, 2012 | 11am-1pm

Engaging the Mexican and Hispanic community at the Day Worker Center of Mountain View Executive Director Maria Marroquin, Miss Mexico Gabriela Palacio, and Mexican Consul for Political Affairs Jorge Agraz.

May 4, 2012 | 2pm-3pm

Presenting the Pueblo Papers at the History San José Collection Center by President & CEO Alida Bray, Miss Mexico Gabriela Palacio, and Mexican Consul for Political Affairs Jorge Agraz.


The Collection Center of History San José is located at 1621 Senter Road, at Phelan Avenue, just across the street from History Park in Kelley Park in San Jose.

Background information

About History San José:

History San José is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing the continuing history of the Santa Clara Valley. HSJ manages one of the largest and most comprehensive regional history collections in the State of California, from 1784 Spanish governmental records to twenty-first century Silicon Valley technology. History San José aspires to provide innovative national leadership in preserving and sharing regional history by engaging diverse audiences in exploring the varieties of human experience that contributes to the continuing history of San José and the Santa Clara Valley.

History San José 1650 Senter Road San José, CA 95112 408.287.2290

About the Consulate of Mexico:

The Consulate General of Mexico in San Jose is a diplomatic mission representing the Government of Mexico in the Santa Clara County, the Salinas Valley, the Monterey County and the adjacent counties of San Benito and Santa Cruz. It is one of ten diplomatic missions in the State of California which provide consular services to Mexican citizens and visa services to foreign nationals. Its mission is to carry out Mexico’s foreign policy, handling Mexico’s bilateral relationship with the Silicon Valley especially in the political, economic, and cultural fields. The Consulate also works to strengthen the expression of Mexico’s cultural identity, safeguard and guarantee its national interests and security based on the Constitutional principles of foreign policy.

Consulate General of Mexico, 2125 Zanker Road, San José, CA 95131 408.482.4154

Media Contacts:

Jorge A. Agraz
Consul for Political and Economic Affairs
Consulate General of Mexico in San José
2125 Zanker Road, San José CA 95131
Tel (408) 294 3414 Ext. 125
Cel. (408) 482 4154
Fax (408) 855 6787

Jill Arnone
The Arnone Group
408 315 5121
Office of Political Affairs, Consulate General of Mexico
2125 Zanker Road, San Jose, CA 95131
Tel. 408.294.3414 ext. 125

Monday, April 9, 2012

Almaden Air Force Station: A Serendipitous End to a Five-Year Journey

Aerial of Almaden AFS
After a short lifespan of 23 years, changes in the political and technological landscapes led to the station’s closure on March 29, 1980. Within a few years, the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District acquired the property with plans of restoring the site to its natural habitat and allowing public access to the breathtaking vistas from the 3,486 foot peak. Funding delays have slowed that process. Atop Mount Umunhum, southwest of San Jose, resides a concrete box — the most recognizable remnant of the historic Almaden Air Force Station — the five-story base for the station’s large radar antenna.

Headquarters of the 682nd Aircraft Control and Warning squadron during the Cold War, the station was tasked 24 hours a day with protecting Central California from a Soviet threat that never arrived. Due to its relative remoteness, the facility served as a small community, encompassing 86 structures and nearly all activities, such as homes, stores and a bowling alley.

Squadron patch
One of these community presentations has been scheduled for June 3rd at History San Jose. Barbara Johnston, HSJ’s education director, requested that we search our collection for Almaden Air Force Station artifacts to accompany the presentation. What turned up in the search was a radar-shaped front entrance sign to the base, a photo of which I forwarded to Barbara and Basim. Over the past several years, San Jose resident Basim Jaber has taken an interest in preserving the history of the station, creating a website for former 682nd Radar Squadron members and families to share their stories. Over the course of these correspondences, Basim has acquired images and small artifacts of the station. Now acting as the squadron’s historian, he has made over a dozen community presentations about the station and also facilitated a reunion for the group.

On Wednesday April 4, Basim arrived at the HSJ Collections Center eager to see the sign. While walking him through our storage area, I shared some of the highlights of our collections, including the Perham Collection of Early Electronics. Basim remarked that certain station artifacts had been given to a Constance Perham for display at the New Almaden Museum, the initial display location of the Perham Collection. Realizing that HSJ might have more Almaden base artifacts in its collections, Basim immediately produced a typed manifest of donated items, including the sign.
Basim Jaber with welcome sign 

“Wow. And Wow,” was Basim’s initial response, followed immediately with a request to see the sign, a popular photo location for servicemen and station residents. Apparently, Basim had spent the last five years searching for particular objects, including the sign, given away after the station’s closing ceremonies.

As our walk continued, we inspected miscellaneous Perham Collection items. Sitting on the shelf were the exact items Basim had been seeking, including the last flag flown over the station, banners, and four brass memorial markers. Although he kept his emotions intact, Basim was obviously moved by this sudden closure to his multi-year quest.

Major Robert L. Robinson, Jr.
With the future demolition of the remaining station structures, History San Jose retains the largest collection of identifiable objects from this Cold War relic. Re-located several times before finding a permanent home at our Collections Center, these items await an opportunity for their stories to be re-told. Basim shared these objects’ stories as we positioned them for photography. For each of the four markers, he talked about the individual men who had lost their lives during their active service at the base. One in particular, Station Commander Major Robert L. Robinson, Jr., perished during a transport trip out of Hamilton Air Force Base and was the subject of a recent Scott Herhold Mercury News column.

We look forward to working with Basim to display these items at his History Park presentation on Sunday, June 3.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dig into San José’s Past – Archaeology Days at History Park

San José, CA – April 4, 2012 – Dig Into San José’s Past with Stanford Archaeology Center students at History Park. The students will assist visitors by conducting a mock excavation, screening, artifact identification and artifact reconstruction on Sunday, April 29 and Sunday, May 20, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On Sunday, April 29 at History Park, this family educational program will allow individuals to collect stickers for each activity to place in Archaeology Passports and become ‘certified’ as a Junior Archaeologist. The trolley will be available for a ride around the park, as well as handcar rides. Other activities will include visits to the Print Shop and live music by Fiddle Road throughout the afternoon.

Making fish kites will help celebrate Japanese Children’s Day, and Chinese dragon hats will coincide with the reading of Chinese folk tales, such as Tales of a Chinese Grandmother.

Rae Chang and Adam Tow will be available to present their movie documentary on China’s first feminist, Autumn Gem, which will screened at 2 PM in the first floor conference room inside the Pacific Hotel. Autumn Gem is a film about Qui Jim (1875-1907), a radical women’s rights activist who defied tradition to become the leader of a revolutionary army. She attempted an armed uprising against the Quing Dynasty and became the first female martyr for China’s 1911 Revolution.

Then on Sunday, May 4, History San Jose and Happy Hollow Park and Zoo will celebrate with Kelley Park neighbor, the Japanese Friendship Garden.

Coincidentally, this year on May 4th marks the 125th anniversary of the fire that destroyed downtown San José’s Chinatown, where today’s Fairmont Hotel stands on Market Street. John Heinlen, a local businessman, braved death threats to lease property to the displaced Chinese people at Taylor and Sixth Streets. It then became known as Heinlenville, in what is today’s Japantown in San Jose.

Besides ‘Digging Up San José’s Past’ at the Sunday, May 20th Archaeology Day, History San José will recognize the month of May as Asian American Heritage Month.

To celebrate Asian American Heritage, there also will be Samarai hat-making, Vietnamese lanterns, Chinese drums and more.

As affiliates of History San José, the Ng Ching Gung of the Chinese Heritage Cultural Project (CHCP) and the Immigrant Resettlement & Cultural Center (IRCC), the Museum of the Boat People & Republic of Vietnam, located inside History Park, will be open.

For more information call 408 918-1047 or visit