Communications Hill, San Jose

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Coordinates: 37°17′10.7326″N 121°51′30.3574″W / 37.286314611°N 121.858432611°W / 37.286314611; -121.858432611

Communications Hill
Communications Hill townhouses (cropped).jpg
Viera Park in Communications Hill (cropped).jpg
Fire Station 33 Closed (5483064475) (cropped).jpg
View from Communications Hill (cropped).jpg
Coordinates: 37°17′20″N 121°51′18″W / 37.2890°N 121.8551°W / 37.2890; -121.8551
CountryUnited States
CountySanta Clara
CitySan Jose
438.87 ft (133.77[1] m)
 • Total11,267

Communications Hill is a neighborhood located in the San Juan Bautista Hills of San Jose, California, in Silicon Valley.


The Communication Hill Stairs.
Rowhomes on Azores Street.

Before the Spanish entrada, the Tamyen people mined the area for chert, which was typically used for debitage and arrow points.

On November 29, 1777, Juan Bautista de Anza selected the area to become the southernmost region in the first land tract of the San Jose pueblo (the first pueblo-town in California not associated with a mission or a military post). Although similarly named, the area was not part of the neighboring Rancho San Juan Bautista Mexican land grant.[3]

Located in the northern area of Communications Hill,[4] Oak Hill Memorial Park, the oldest secular cemetery operating in California, performed its first recorded burial in 1847.

Cinnabar is believed to have been discovered in the San Juan Bautista Hills in 1847 by a member of the Chaboya family.[5] Soon afterwards, the Hillsdale Mine was established. However, operations were unsuccessful and the mine ceased operations in 1907.

Tyler Beach purchased the Dairy Hill area in the late 1860s and named it Beach Hill Farm, which was used to supply the former St. James Hotel.

On March 2, 1886, Southern Pacific incorporated the San Jose & Almaden Railroad (consolidated with the Southern Pacific on May 14, 1888) to build the Lick Branch from Hillsdale (now Capitol Station) 7.7 miles to Almaden. The branch was opened on November 16, 1866 and ran for several years.[6] However, the line was shortened due to an abandonment in 1937 (probably due to the New Almaden mine shutting down after the Great Depression). The remainder of the Lick Branch was formally abandoned in January of 1981.[7]

Between 1887 and 1890, the San Jose Vineyard operated in the area.[8]

View of the Santa Cruz Mountains in the west from Communications Hill.

In the late 1800s, José S. Azevedo (of the Azevedo-Machado-Vieira family, a prominent Portuguese-American family of San Jose) emigrated from São Jorge Island in the Azores. He purchased 96 acres of land in the area in 1896 and created a dairy farm known as the American Dairy Company.[9][10]

In 1916 (after José S. Azevedo's passing in 1915), Manuel Azevedo and Manuel Lewis took over the dairy farm.[11] Manuel Azevedo’s nephew, Manuel Bettencourt managed the creamery after Manuel Azevedo passed away. After Manuel Bettencourt passed away, control of the dairy went to Bettencourt’s nephew, Anthony Bettencourt. In the 1970s, control of the ranch passed to Anthony Bettencourt’s son, Robert J. Bettencourt who continues own land in the area through a family trust known as Mta Land Corporation.[12]

Townhomes on William Manly St.

The Azevedo Quarry was actively mined by Raisch Products from 1971 to 2006 (reclamation activity continued until 2009).[13] An aggregate recycling facility remains on the land, but it is also expected to shutdown in 2023 and be redeveloped into an office park when the county use permit expires.[14]

Starting in 1984, the Government of San Jose began preparing Communications Hill, then largely barren, for development into a mixed-use, high density, urban neighborhood. This was formalized with the creation of the Communications Hill Specific Plan in 1992.[15] Mta Land Corporation, a family trust managed by the Bettencourt family, began the process of residential development in 2002.[16]

Annexation of parcels to the city of San Jose has occurred as recently as December 9, 2014.[17]

The area is currently undergoing significant construction, which has been divided into four phases.[18]

A "village center" is planned, which will include shops and restaurants positioned to have a view of the Downtown San Jose skyline.[19]


The Communications Hill neighborhood is located east of California State Route 87, west of Monterey Road, north of Capitol Expressway and south of Curtner Avenue.[20][21][22]

Parks and trails[edit]

William Manly Park.

The neighborhood has multiple scenic overlooks of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Diablo Range, and the surrounding Santa Clara Valley.[23]

Communications Hill is home to the following parks and trails:[24]


Nearby public transportation options include:

A pedestrian bridge and trail are planned to allow easier access to the Capitol Caltrain station.[27]

Public services[edit]

Communications Hill is home to Engine House 33 of the San José Fire Department.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ 1876 map showing San Juan Bautista Hills in the San Jose Pueblo Tract No. 1
  4. ^ Map of Communications Hill showing the location of Oak Hill Memorial Park
  5. ^ Bradley, W.W. (1918). Quicksilver resources of California, with a section on metallurgy and ore dressing: California Mining Bureau. 78.
  6. ^ The Western Railroader - Page Three, NEW ALMADEN BRANCHES, South Pacific Coast Railway, Southern Pacific Railroad
  7. ^ Abandoned Rails of San Jose, California - Lick Branch
  8. ^ Communications Hill Archaeological Evaluation
  9. ^ UC Berkeley Bancroft Library Regional Oral History Office - Batista Vieira: An Oral History
  10. ^ Valley Transportation Authority - VTA BART Silicon Valley - Phase II Extension Project Supplemental Report
  11. ^ Dairy Hill - People - Manuel Azevedo
  12. ^ The Azevedos and the American Dairy Company
  13. ^ [ Report 70777 - Accept report from Department of Planning and Development relating to status of the County's Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) Program]
  14. ^ Communications Hill Air Quality Assessment 2014
  15. ^ City of San Jose: Development - Communications Hill
  16. ^ High-density housing development set
  17. ^ Annexation - Communications Hill No. 1
  18. ^ Communications Hill Permit Applications
  19. ^ Planned Development Permit Amendment Phase 2 and Phase 3 Meeting: June 15, 2017
  20. ^ Census Neighborhood Profile
  21. ^ Communications Hill - City of San Jose
  22. ^ OpenStreetMap Communications Hill Locality
  23. ^ City of San Jose Neighborhood Boundaries Map
  24. ^ City of San Jose - Parks & Recreation: Communications Hill
  25. ^ Hillcrest Open Space OSM Relation
  26. ^ San Jose Communications Hill Parkland Agreement
  27. ^ San Jose 2040 Plan Proposed Amendments