Event venue

Downtown San Jose’s New Event Venue Steeped in History

Couples getting married at Blanco — a new event space in downtown San Jose — may love it because of its three levels, with indoor and outdoor spaces, or blank white walls that allow for projections or a colorful decor. But they may not realize that they are attached to a site that once housed a blacksmith’s shop and a horse-drawn carriage factory.

Indeed, although Blanco is a recent addition to San Pedro Square, the building has a history that dates back some 160 years.

Owner Mike Messinger and his wife, Danielle, who oversaw the renovation of the long-vacant building, attempted to respect the building’s past while creating a sense of place in the 21st century. “While we were trying to rebuild this, we kept a lot of the legacy in mind,” Mike Messinger said, pointing to a wall he called “1860 bricks.” “Not everything is original, but we tried to stay true to the story.”

A clock at Blanco in downtown San Jose still reads 9:20 a.m., the date of the first event held there. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

Groups regularly discovered Blanco. Messinger already says more than 60 events, mostly weddings, are planned for 2022. And having two of its three levels open-air has been a boost for business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to housing a blacksmith shop and a car shop owned by Hiram Lewis, the building at 12 North San Pedro Street later served as a body shop. No doubt crowds gathered outside the carriage shop to witness the arrival at the corner of San Pedro and Santa Clara streets of the “Thomas Flyer”, one of the automobiles participating in the 1908 Great Race from New York to Paris. During the renovation, a brick wall outside was uncovered and uncovered to be painted with an advertisement for boilers in San Jose and another for Pabco paints. The Messingers decided to leave it as is.

Some railings and sconces were handcrafted or custom-made for the space. But a decor piece contains a secret message that would go unnoticed by most. An antique looking clock – it’s not that old – on an outside wall is not working and constantly shows the time 9:20.

“It’s in honor of the date of our first event, 9/20,” Messinger said. Not a bad way to remember the past, even if it’s only the recent past.

The upper level of Blanco, a new event space in downtown San Jose, is open-air but can be shaded from the sun. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

REMEMBRANCE DAY : The 42nd annual San Jose Memorial Day will take place virtually on February 19, which also marks the 80th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration of more than 120,000 people of Japanese descent during World War II. world. The 15-hour program will include remarks from Cynthia Choi of Stop AAPI Hate, Grace Shimizu of Campaign for Justice and Eiko Yamaichi, who will speak about her own experience in an internment camp. You can go to www.sjnoc.org to watch the Saturday show.

In a similar vein, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta, who also served as mayor of San Jose and member of the House of Representatives, was honored by the Friends of the National World War II Memorial. world. Mineta is the second recipient of the Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Unity Award, which is given to those who exemplify the spirit of unity and shared values ​​that prevailed during World War II. Those familiar with Mineta’s story know that he was incarcerated in a Japanese-American internment camp with his family during the war.

PREPARING FOR EARTHQUAKES: The San Jose Earthquakes will open their season at PayPal Park on February 26, but you can take a look at their 2022 season jerseys and cheer on the team at a season kick-off party taking place. will be held February 18 at the Guildhouse in downtown San Jose. .

The festivities will include music, food trucks and local artists in collaboration with Cultural night market. And there will also be the opportunity to mingle with the Quakes players who are due to attend, including Cristian Espinoza, Chofis, Jackson Yueill, Francisco Calvo and Cade Cowell. The doors to Guildhouse, 450 S. First St., open at 6 p.m., and you can RSVP at www.sjearthquakes.com.