In 1851, David Umbarger, a “forty-niner” from West Virginia, bought 136.5 acres in San José, and built this house on his homestead in the 1870s. Like many ex-miners who remained in California, Umbarger started farming in order to make a living, and dedicated his land to wheat and grain production.
After Umbarger died in 1891, his land was divided and sold. The house remained on a six-and-a-half acre lot which transferred ownership several times. In August 1946, thirty-two acres of the remaining land were sold to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. The Umbarger House was moved to History Park in 1970.
Make sure you visit the “kitchen garden” behind the house. This type of garden was a common feature found in the Santa Clara Valley and the Umbargers would have used it for growing vegetables, fruits, and herbs.
- The Umbarger House is featured in Early to Rise: Child’s Work and Play in San José School Programs.
- View archival images related to the Umbarger family from History San Jose’s Collection.