Willow Glen is one of the three original villages in the area. The other two are Los Gatos and Saratoga. They all have their own downtown areas and have a rich history.
Willow Glen was an independent unincorporated community. In 1863 it founded its first school – Willow Glen Elementary and church – Willow Glen Methodist Episcopal Church. Willow Glen became an official city in 1927. However, in 1936 in order to tap into the city’s sewer system, it became part of the city of San Jose.
Willow Glen was well known in the 1880’s for its rich soil. The soil was used to grow wheat, barley, corn and was considered to be the best farming lands in the entire area. The cost of the Willow Glen land was worth way more than other farm lands in San Jose.
Willow Glen has always had a vibrant downtown on Lincoln Ave. The street was originally called El Abra meaning “The Open” in Spanish, then changed to Willow Glen Rd in 1860s. After President Lincoln had been killed in 1865, the name was changed to Lincoln Ave.
The downtown shops and restaurants are lined up on Lincoln Ave between Willow and Minnesota Ave. There are outdoor cafes and places to go have a meal and the famous Willow Street Pizza.
The residential streets of Willow Glen are majestic with tree lined streets being more common here than in any other part of San Jose. The homes range from small to large estates. You’ll find beautiful Victorians, Craftsman Style, small Cottages and Spanish Style homes. Willow Glen is an important part of this areas rich history.