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Bank of the West 

The Bank of the West in Sunnyvale, formerly a First National Bank, was constructed in 1962 and opened in 1963.  The   building was designed by Melvin A. Rojko, a supposed disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright.  The bank, which bears a striking resemblance to a spaceship, was constructed using a 3-story circular design, the upper 2 stories surrounded by walls of glass.  There used to be four drive-in teller windows positioned around the circumference of the bank, much like a drive-in restaurant.  It has been said that part of the new Sunnyvale Town Center development was inspired by this great 1960s-era building.

Bank of the West, Sunnyvale, 1963



Ad featuring IBM Cottle Road Campus, 1962
Image appears courtesy of the San Jose
 Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce

 

 

 

 

Pictures of the “ultramodern” City Hall were used in an aggressive marketing campaign to attract business (and people)
to San Jose...

 

 

 

IBM Cottle Road

In 1956, IBM broke ground on a 190 acre parcel of land that would become their award winning Cottle Road campus.  The main plant facility, designed by the architect John S. Bolles, consisted of five connected buildings.  The buildings were constructed using steel, precast tilt-up concrete, and floor-to-ceiling windows.  The building exteriors were accented with brick and multi-colored tile, the tile pattern said to mimic an IBM punch card.  For years, Building 25, which opened in 1957 and was used for advanced research, was at the center of a legal dispute between San Jose city officials/Lowe’s Home Improvement Centers and the Preservation Action Council.  Sadly, on March 8, 2008, the IBM Cottle Road campus was consumed by the flames of a three-alarm fire.  

San Jose City Hall, 1958
Photo courtesy of Franklin Maggi

San Jose City Hall

San Jose relocated its City Hall just outside of the urban core in 1958 – signifying, for many, the beginning of a new era.  A curved 5-story building, designed by the architect Donald F. Haines, was erected on the former site of a broccoli and cauliflower field at a cost of 2.6 million.  Pictures of the “ultramodern” City Hall were used in an aggressive marketing campaign to attract business (and people) to San Jose, and can still be seen in vintage magazine ads, postcards, and matchbooks.  Today, this impressive structure sits abandoned and empty.  In the early 2000s, San Jose decided to move its City Hall back to the downtown area, and opted for a newer “postmodern” building to be constructed.

San Jose Municipal Airport 

With the post-war economic boom and the increasing popularity of air travel, San Jose found itself in dire need of a new airport.  In 1961, voters approved a bond measure for the construction of a 1.5 million dollar air terminal, officially ushering San Jose into the “Jet Age.”  San Jose’s then new airport, currently referred to as “Terminal C,” was designed by local architect Hollis Logue, and opened in 1965.  Described by the San Jose Mercury News as a “palace of glass, concrete, and steel,” the airport featured two stories, a restaurant, a coffee shop, and a lounge.  Although Terminal C has seen some remodeling over the years,  the building is still worth visiting  - especially when you consider that it will be demolished in 2010.

Postcard of San Jose Municipal Airport
Color by Mike Roberts, Berkeley, Calif.