I was busy writing on my blog last Thursday night when I noticed something odd. The story I wrote about Faber’s Cyclery in San Jose last September suddenly popped toward the top of my “Today’s Top Posts” list. The answer came shortly on the nightly news: the historic Faber’s Cyclery building, built in 1884, was burning.
A few murky details have trickled in. No one was injured in the fire, although some people may have been living upstairs. Could they have accidentally started the fire? Shop owner Alex LaRiviere had moved his inventory his out a few weeks ago. The landlord trying to sell the property had little to say. The property is on the edge of the Martha Gardens historic district, making redevelopment more difficult. Could that have been a factor?
All we’re left with is a smoldering Victorian-era building, listing to the side and at the verge of collapse. It will most likely be razed for a non-descript who-knows-what development. It’s right against a noisy freeway on the wrong side of downtown, hardly a place for luxury apartments or Class A office space.
A campaign to save the building is underway, but I’m not hopeful. A little bit of San Jose bike history left when Faber’s moved out, and a little bit of San Jose architecture history is now gone with the burning of the building.
What are the unsung buildings in your city that tell its history? Which ones have you lost? Do you miss them?