It was created through a joint venture in 1933 between San Jose residents, Federal Government and local property owners Mr. and Mrs. T.S. Montgomery, who donated to the City of San Jose, the property. The buidling was designed by Binder & Curtis in the Spanish California Mission style. The Montgomery Theater is attached to the San Jose Civic.
Many of the most popular entertainers and public figures have appeared at the venue creating memorable historic events since its opening in 1936. Richard Nixon made national headlines during an anti-war demonstration at the San Jose Civic.
It has presented major sporting events including boxing matches with champions such as Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis.
Under Mayor Chuck Reed and San Jose City Council's leadership, a $13 million renovation of the venue, approved in 2007, is underway. A state-of-the-art sound and video system has been installed, the building's floor has been refurbished, an exterior lighting system has been activated, and the loading dock has been upgraded. Key improvements in process include a top-line interior lighting system, seating upgrades to replace the decades-old plastic molded chairs, more restrooms and a new concessions program.