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Spared the Axe
Photo by Christopher Gardner
235 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
The Medical-Dental is a fine example of deco architecture standing in graceful repose to the east of downtown. But, as historian Jack Douglas will tell you, it is much more than that. Built for $660,000, the Medical-Dental helped usher in a new era in health care. It was the first attempt in the Bay Area to unite the various fields of medicine into a one-stop facility. Doctors of different specialties, dentists and a pharmacy were all in the same building. Two years later, a similar building opened with an underground garage on Sutter in San Francisco. Medical-Dental's construction capital was raised from San Jose doctors who moved to it from their offices downtown. The building was also unique in that it was the first skyscraper in the area built for the automobile age, with the very first two-story parking garage. That was almost 30 years before the opening of Valley Fair Mall ushered in the car-based commerce that ultimately starved downtown San Jose. Jack Douglas' dentist, Gerald B. Myers, was one of the original investors in Medical-Dental and one of the last to leave as the building grew old. On clear days, Jack could see the Bay Bridge from the dentist's chair. By the 1980s the building was empty. It was remodeled in 1987 as Aspen Vintage Tower condominiums.
Spared the Axe