Kelley Park

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Kelley Park
Kelley Park welcome sign
Location1300 Senter Road
Nearest citySan Jose, California
Coordinates37°19′26″N 121°51′43″W / 37.32389°N 121.86194°W / 37.32389; -121.86194Coordinates: 37°19′26″N 121°51′43″W / 37.32389°N 121.86194°W / 37.32389; -121.86194
Public transit accessVTA Route 73
WebsiteOfficial website

Kelley Park is a 156-acre (63 ha) city park in San Jose, California, United States.

Selected locations in and near Kelley Park, San Jose 
  •  Parks 
  •  Points of Interest 
  •  Schools 
  •  Stadia 

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo
Japanese Friendship Garden
History Park
Kelley Park Disc Golf Course
Spartan Stadium
Solar4America Ice (was Sharks Ice)
San Jose Municipal Stadium
Yerba Buena High School
Kelley House

Location and facilities[edit]

Kelley Park is bounded by Story Road (on the northwest), Senter Road (on the southwest), Roberts Street (on the northeast), and Yerba Buena High School and Phelan Avenue (on the southeast) in East San Jose. Coyote Creek winds through much of the park, which is part of the larger Coyote Creek Park Chain in San Jose.

Kelley Park encompasses other facilities such as:

The Leininger Center, just south of Happy Hollow, is the central location where citizens apply for city park permits and reservations.[1] Most of the rest of the park is picnic areas, lawns, groves of trees, and plenty of pathways in between. There is also an 18-hole disc golf course in the walnut orchard behind History park


The land was once a farm owned by Mrs. Louise Kelley who inherited the land from her father Judge Lawrence Archer, a local pioneer and former mayor of San Jose. Kelley called the land "AR-KEL Villa" in honor of her father (ARcher) and her husband (Frank KELley).[2] Pillars marked "AR-KEL" can still be seen on the pepper-tree drive off Senter.[3]

Archer/Kelley family[edit]

Judge Archer was born in Anderson County, South Carolina in 1820 and attended the University of Virginia and studied law under Armisted Burt in Abbeville, South Carolina before he moved to Yazoo County, Mississippi in 1841, where he was admitted to the bar. In Yazoo County, Archer contracted malaria and moved to St. Joseph, Missouri in 1843 for his health. He was elected district attorney in 1848 and married the former Louise Martin that same year, but resigned in 1851 and they moved to California to improve his health. In California, the Archers first settled in Sacramento, then briefly in San Francisco before arriving at San Jose in January 1853.[4]

Archer was elected mayor of San Jose in 1857, then to the California State Legislature in 1866. After one term, he was elected county judge in 1867, from which he resigned in 1871. He was elected mayor again in 1877. With his first wife, he had a daughter (also named Louise, born c.1863) before his wife Louise died in 1869. He remarried in 1870, to the former Alice B. Bethell, and they had two more children together: Lawrence (b.1871) and Leo (b.1874).[4]

Japanese Friendship Garden at Kelley Park

The land that would become Kelley Park was purchased by Archer in 1861, and he planted 30 acres (12 ha) with cherry, apricot, and prune trees. He is credited with being the first farmer in Santa Clara County to use women and children to pick fruit. The 4 acres (1.6 ha) planted with cherry trees yielded an average annual income of US$3,000 (equivalent to $90,000 in 2019).[4] Archer named his estate Lone Oak. The estate house he constructed was destroyed in a fire in May 1909, and a new estate house was completed on February 16, 1910, the day before Archer died.[5]

Louise Archer married Martin J. Flavin (1849–1893)[6] at Lone Oak in 1883; after Flavin's death, she married Frank Kelley (1858–1924), owner of the Star-Peerless Wallpaper Mills, in Chicago, where they lived with her four sons (Martin Flavin, 1883–1967;[7] Frank Kelley Jr., 1894–1965; Kenneth Kelley; and Lawrence A. Kelley, 1897–1955). The Kelley family moved back to California around 1910, as Louise inherited Lone Oak after the death of Judge Archer.[5] Louise retained Charles Sumner Greene to design a conservatory, tile fountain, and servants' quarters for AR-KEL Villa, which were completed by the end of 1930.[8]

City purchase[edit]

The house and 63 acres (25 ha) of land were sold to the City of San Jose in August 1951, to be used as a public park with the condition that Louise Kelley be allowed to live there for the rest of her life.[5] According to History San José, Alden Campen, a prominent landowner and Jaycee in San Jose, learned the Kelley family was planning on selling the orchard in 1951 for a housing development, and since the city already owned the land east of Coyote Creek, he thought it could create a municipal golf course by purchasing the Kelley property and merging the parcels. However, the city lacked the funds, and so Campen joined with fellow Jaycees Ernie and Emily Renzel to purchase the initial 63-acre plot at a price of US$142,000 (equivalent to $1,400,000 in 2019), to be resold to the City on an annual basis.[9] Louise Kelley died in February 1952 at the age of 89, and the city embarked on purchasing the rest of the AR-KEL/Lone Oak estate, eventually acquiring 156 acres (63 ha) bounded by Keyes Street (Story Road), Coyote Creek, Phelan Avenue, and Senter Road.[5]

Campen and Renzel later approached the city to develop the Kelley property as a children's park in 1956, leading to the creation of Happy Hollow,[10] which opened in 1961, followed by the Japanese Friendship Garden (1965), Leininger Center (1966), and the Historical Museum (construction started in 1965). Only the 1910 house and a later carriage house remain from the Archer/Kelley family's time owning the property.[5] The 1910 estate house was damaged in a February 2012 fire, and portions of the roof and interior collapsed.[11]


  1. ^ "Leininger Center". City of San Jose. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Kelley Park brochure". City of San Jose. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  3. ^ Rogers, Meg (2007). The Portuguese in San Jose. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-7385-4781-7. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Foote, H.S., ed. (1888). Pen Pictures from the "Garden of the World" or Santa Clara County, California Illustrated. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 90–91. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e Dobkin, Marjorie; Hill, Ward (May 1994). Kelley House in Kelley Park (PDF) (Report). Jones & Stokes Associates. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  6. ^ "A Good Man Gone". San Francisco Call. 16 July 1893. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Born". Daily Alta California. 8 November 1883. Retrieved 11 May 2018. FLAVIN—In this city, November 2, to the wife of M.J. Flavin, a son.
  8. ^ "Mrs. Louise A.F. Kelley House, San Jose, California, 1929-31". University of Southern California. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  9. ^ "History". history/san josé. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  10. ^ "History: The Early Years – 1950s". Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  11. ^ Gomez, Mark (16 February 2012). "San Jose: Two-alarm fire damages historic Kelley House". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 11 May 2018.

External links[edit]