Leonard McKay

Leonard McKay

Welcome to www.leonardmckay.com, the site dedicated to the life and learnings of Leonard McKay, historian, San Jose, California. My grandfather was an amazing man and a wealth of knowledge. As such, I have decided that it is a crime to let his knowledge go to waste, and will be developing this site in his honor.


Excerpts from Leonard's Blog

  • Christmas in San Jose: Did you ever wonder how Christmas was celebrated in the past in San Jose? When our first foreign settlers, the Spaniards, were here, the birth of Christ was celebrated by going to mass at the Mission Santa Clara, the closest church. The male citizens rode their horses for the three-mile trip. The women and young children went on the rough ride to the mission on a wooden-wheeled, no-springs caretta. After the Americans arrived, most of the celebrations moved to the family home or local churches.
  • The 1906 Earthquake (Part 6): “Naturally we were curious about the effect of the quake upon Santa Clara. For us the little town of 4,000 people served as our ‘shopping center,’ with grocer, doctor, dentist, clothier etc. and later for the writer, ‘Santa Clara High School.’
  • Eliza (Bessie) Catherine Layton McKay Smith: Co-founder of Smith & McKay Printing, 1919: Article that featured in The Trailblazer (Quarterly Bulletin of the California Pioneers of Santa Clara County) all about Leonard McKay’s grandmother, Bessie Smith, and her involvement in the Smith & McKay Printing Company.
  • San Jose’s Music Man: Does the sound of “76 Trombones” make your feet stir and, perhaps, you want to do a little tapping or a little marching? If so, you might be interested to know that we had the predecessor of the famous Henry Hill, the “Music Man,” right here in “River City,” San Jose. He lived here about 40 years before Meredith Wilson wrote the wonderful hit Broadway musical, “The Music Man.”
  • Local historian’s dream of South Bay artists’ exhibition about to come true: Newspaper article from the Rose Garden Resident about Leonard McKay’s seemingly impossible dream coming true, the collection of 32 watercolors and oil paintings by 20th century Silicon Valley artists going on public display for the first time at History Park, San Jose.