Cambrian (San Jose)
Cambrian Park is a neighborhood and census-designated place in San Jose, California, in West San Jose. Cambrian Park was never incorporated as a town (although there were efforts to do so in the early 1960s), and much of the neighborhood is now part of the incorporated city of San Jose.
The name "Cambrian Park" was used regularly since the 1950s by the then San Jose Mercury and San Jose News newspapers (now The San Jose Mercury News) to refer to a portion of the Union school and Cambrian school areas, the latter school named in the 1870s by ranch hand David Lewis of the Jeremiah D. Casey Ranch for Cambria, the Latinized name for Wales (Welsh, Cymru), the country of Lewis's birth. Due to the relative isolation of adjacent population centers within then rural Santa Clara County, place names and later, municipalities, were often defined by their public school service boundaries. These indistinct boundaries persisted until WWII, after which a rapidly expanding population and demand for municipal services resulted in more precise boundaries being established. The Cambrian Park area continues to be recognized as a distinct, partly unincorporated neighborhood bordering the cities of San Jose and Campbell and the town of Los Gatos.
We and Our Neighbors women's club was established in the adjacent Union School District area in 1892, "...to promote social ties, intellectual and cultural pursuits, charitable deeds, and recreation for the farm families of the neighborhood." Their clubhouse, built in 1910, is a San Jose Historic Landmark and appears in the National Register of Historic Places.
The commerce center for the Cambrian Park area has always been the Cambrian Park Plaza. Located at the crossroads of Camden and Union Avenues, the center was originally built in 1953. Today the center maintains the country charm and construction style, across over 170,000 square feet of stores. Through the years, the center has housed a mix of local shops and national brands. The iconic colorful carousel atop the center sign is currently under evaluation for designation as a historical landmark. This is of particular interest in the community as the center was sold for the first time ever in 2015, to Texas-based Weingarten Realty.
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