Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce

About Los Gatos:

Historical Walking Tour - About 15 blocks, mostly level and no steps.


Walking Tour Map


Take the Los Gatos Self-Guided Walking Tour

Walking Tour by Alastair Dallas

Start at the Town Plaza. Proceed west on Main Street to the Tait Museum (3). You can also start at the History Museum at Forbes Mill (13) and enjoy a slightly different order. For a more extensive tour, head up to Nicholson Avenue to Glenridge, turn right, and turn right again onto Bachman Avenue. Enjoy the beautiful Victorian homes in the Almond Grove, and Effie Waltson's Little Village Shops at Bachman and North Santa Cruz Avenue. The Chamber of Commerce Office is just two blocks north on Santa Cruz Avenue. Head south from there to rejoin the tour shown here.

Canada Building

1. La Canada (Hofstra) Block
The famous La Canada block was built by Lake Hofstra in 1891 and expanded in 1917. It was restored after the 1989 earthquake by the Farwell, Bacigalupi, Brady and VanDalsem families. La Canada means "The Valley".

Lyndon Hotel

2. Lyndon Hotel
Lyndon Plaza sits on the site of the storied hotel of town pioneer John Lyndon. John Steinbeck reportedly met John Ford and Charlie Chaplin here for drinks.

First Firehouse

3. First Firehouse
Now a museum specializing in art, it was originally built (1927) as the town's first fire station. It became a museum in 1967 when the town joined the county fire district."

Almond Grove

4. Almond Grove
John Bean, Alphonse Wilder, Augustine Nicholson, Fen Massol and Captain Magnus Tait created this subdivision in 1887. The tranquil "walk to town" neighborhood has been popular ever since.

Templeton Boarding House

5. Templeton Boarding House
Widow Mary Templeton opened her home to boarders following her husband's death (1888). Nearly every house in Almond Grove has its own story to tell.

John Mason House

6. John Mason House
Mason's 40-acre almond grove from 1873 is the basis of this picket-fenced neighborhood.

Mail-News Building

7. Mail-News Building
Now an architect's office, it was orginally built to produce the Los Gatos Mail-News (1927). Notice that it has one flat, one shed, and one gable roof, and don't overlook the polychromatic stair tiles.

Cotton Works

8. Cotton Works
An exquisite design by Chris Spaulding whose details reward closer inspection, this was one of the first commercial buildings built in town following the 1989 earthquake.

Los Gatos Theatre

9. Los Gatos Theatre
Built in 1915 as a silent movie house with a Wurlitzer photoplayer (player piano), the current look was adopted after a 1929 fire. It was remodeled again after the 1989 earthquake.

Bank of Italy (America)

10. Bank of Italy (America)
Built in the early months of the Great Depression, this elegant Art Deco edifice changed to retail when the B of A moved up the street in 1963. Notice the bas relief panels symbolizing various professions.

First National Bank

11. First National Bank
Banker and Town Historian Clarence Hamsher had his office here 1920-1955, and this tastefully-appointed building has been the home of several restaurants since. The town's first electric street light was located here in 1891.

University Avenue School

12. University Avenue School
The 1882 grammar school for which the street is named, rebuilt in 1923, became a shopping center called Old Town in 1964. The complex was remodeled again in 1999. The sign dates back to 1964.

Forbes Mill

13. Forbes Mill
The town's history museum is located in the 1880 Forbes Annex. The 1854 mill, now gone except for one wall, was the first commercial building in Los Gatos.

Los Gatos Creek Trail

14. Los Gatos Creek Trail
The trail, which follows the Los Gatos Creek from Lexington Reservoir, through Vasona Park, to Campbell and beyond, is open for walking, running, and bicycling. Parts follow the origional El Camino Real (1791-1835).

Fretwell Building

15. Fretwell Building
Phoebe Fretwell built this faux-stone building for her jeweler husband following the fire of 1901. It was the original home of The First National Bank.

Ford's Opera House

16. Ford's Opera House
Station master Eugene Ford built his 500-seat opera house on the ashes of the 1901 fire. It became Crider's Department Store in 1916, and is now available for meetings and weddings.

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