AKA: California State Normal School, 1909-1910 Campus Plan, San Jose, CA; San Jose State Normal School, 1909-1910 Campus, San Jose, CA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings

Designers: Allen, Frank S., Architect (firm); Coates and Ellery, Architects (firm); Coates, William D., State Architect (firm); Frank Shaver Allen (architect); William Demmond Coates Jr. (architect); Nate Ellery (architect)

Dates: constructed 1908-1910

San Jose, CA

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Washington Square


The California State Normal School in San Jose, CA, was the state's first teacher's college. Following the disastrous San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, the school complex had to be rebuilt in a more seismically-resistant material, reinforced concrete.

Building History

The State of California's first teacher's college moved from San Francisco, CA, to San Jose, CA, in 1871, where it settled into its location on Washington Square Park. (It was ten years before the State Legislature chartered the second normal school in Los Angeles, CA, what later became UCLA.) The Normal School Campus in San Jose, was destroyed by the massive 04/18/1906 San Francisco Earthquake; State Architect William D. Coates, Jr., (1880-1953) designed a new university complex in a highly embellished variation on the Mission Revival Style. The Los Angeles architect, Frank S. Allen (1859-1930), was also credited with assisting in the design of this school. The Normal School's new quadrangular plan, in simplified form, reflected that of nearby Stanford University. Coates constructed the school out of monolithic, reinforced concrete, in the wake of the San Francisco Quake, the most popular and temblor-resistant material then available. The complex was heated with steam and lit with gas and electric lighting; it cost $272,000 or 16.5 cents-per-cubic foot. All three buildings of the Normal School #2 featured a central bell tower, necessary to signal the onset of classes.

Building Notes

Following the San Francisco Earthquake of 04/18/1906, most of San Jose's old California State Normal School Campus was condemned and a new quadrangle campus was erected between 1908-1910. The San Jose Campus has been known by several names: California State Normal School (1871-87); State Normal School (1887-1921); State Teachers College at San Jose (1921-35); California State Colleges (1935); San Jose State College (1935-72); California State University, San Jose (1972-74), San Jose State University (SJSU) (1974-present). In 2011, it occupied 154 acres and enrolled 24,273 undergraduates and 32,746 in total.


The campus has been heavily altered.

PCAD id: 3449