San Jose's Greatest Monuments

by Caerea Londerson

San Jose is crammed with many monuments. Several of these San Jose monuments are filled with history, while some of the others are rather new. Many monuments in San Jose can be viewed on the way around the city. Keep an eye out for these unique monuments on your drive through San Jose


This 8 foot tall charcoal grey, synthetic stone snake statue built by William Kreysler & Associates, based mostly on a model supplied by Robert Graham, cost $500,000 to make. The word Quetzalcoatl means Quetzal serpent and is based on an identical monument at the National Museum in Mexico. The statue is found at the south end of the Plaza de Cesar E. Chavez, just off South Market Street. It certainly pays tribute to the grand memory of the Aztecs and the Spanish influence that founded San Jose.


At 101 Paseo de San Antonio Oionos stands in front of the San Jose Repertory Theater. The enormous brown and white statue was designed by Doug Hollis. It points the way to the primary entrance to the theater, which produces about 6 performances every year. This monument offers an interesting spectacle waiting for the show to start or during intermission.

Figure Holding the Sun

Found at 110 South Market Street in front of the San Jose Museum of Art is the built steel statue. The statue was designed by Italo Scanga. It was placed here in 1988. The statue has many colors that resemble the colours of the sunrise and nightfall. The statue features somebody holding a large circle.

Brown Bear

San Jose monuments also include the Brown Bear Statue located in front of the Center for Performing Humanities. The white sculpture has a plaque on the side of it that announces it is a brown bear, even though it looks like a polar bear to several visitors due to its white colour. The statue was designed by Benny Bufano. The statue it not as detailed which makes it more of a modern style of art and unique in appearance. Curiously Benny Bufano made another bear sculpture which he named polar bear, and it is brown in colour.

McKinley Was Here Statue

4 months before he was killed, United States President William McKinley addressed a large crowd in St. James Park. After his dying, the town paid San Francisco based sculptor, Rupert Schmidt, $13,000 to make a statue that commemorates this fact. The statue has been in place since February 21, 1903.

Henry Naglee Statue

Henry Naglee made a fortune in San Jose by making wine. After his demise in 1915, his children paid to have a monument built in St. James Park to remember their pa. The monument seems like a tombstone with info on it about the life of Henry Naglee.

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