Notes on George Lawrence's 1906 Aerial Panoramas
of San Jose

by Peter Nurkse
January 2011
PDF version

This panorama shows San Jose as a working and residential community in 1906. It doesn’t have the drama of Lawrence’s San Francisco panorama, but it tells much more about work and life a century ago. Leonard McKay, the late San Jose historian, described this picture printed full size as "beautiful" and "magnificent", an unusual historical document.

Anyone could have useful comments and insights about the picture. Not only historians and photographers, but also residents, school children, city planners, artists, builders, architects, and writers. And this picture could be valuable in another century too, it could have value after most of our current daily issues and crises are forgotten.

Much of the information in these notes comes from "San Jose’s Historic Downtown", by Lauren Gilbert and Bob Johnson, recently published in 2004 and a good pictorial guide to the places in the history of San Jose.