Hanford Lennox Gordon was born in 1849. An officer for the Union Army during the Civil War, he also worked as an attorney, farmer, and rancher.
Hanford and his wife, Mary, moved from Minnesota to San Jose in 1887, where they puchased this house, originally located at 5303 McKee Road in northeast San Jose. Hanford owned four ranches, including 100+ acres of olive groves on McKee Road — also known as Pala del Rancho.
Shortly after their move, the Gordons divorced. Hanford remained embroiled in legal issues — including a paternity suit involving a home domestic — and at least one dispute that resulted in gunfire. In the late 1890s, Hanford moved to Los Angeles, where he re-married, and died in 1920. Mary Gordon remained in the home until her death in 1929.
Thanks to the efforts of the Rotary Club of San Jose, the house was moved to History Park in 1986, where it was restored, and dedicated on June 6, 1990. The windows and fireplace brick are original. The veranda has been reconstructed as it would have been during the Gordon’s residence.
The Gordon House is home to the Administrative Offices of The Rotary Club of San José.
- Search History San José’s Online Catalog for historic images related to the Gordon family and home from the History San José Collection.
- View footage of the Gordon House at History Park before restoration (YouTube)
- Watch the Gordon House Dedication Ceremony in June 1990, featuring a speech by Mayor Tom McEnery (YouTube)