Maple Hall/Cracolice Building

Built prior to 1892 by the Paschote brothers, this is perhaps the oldest commercial building on Main Street. Its interior walls are clearly shown on the 1893 Sanborn Perris Company fire insurance map. The large structure once had a dance hall on the second floor named Maple Hall. Below were a saloon, general store, a veterinary hospital and a barbershop.

Maple Hall  [From a post card c. 1900.  Maple Hall on the right.  Frank Terra's General Store is on the left.]

It was in a building like this that Milpitans held the meeting in the 1870s which sent delegates to a State political convention bearing signs proclaiming, “As Milpitas Goes, So Goes the State”. This audacious slogan struck many present as amusingly pretentious of the tiny, unincorporated collection of stores, homes, and smithies. For many decades after, Milpitas was the name people across the USA used to describe a small and backward location. When a new scheme was introduced the planners would ask, “Will it play with the man from Milpitas?” By this they meant would an ordinary person of little education/sophication approve of the idea. On the Vaudeville stage there were standing jokes about the town: the contest winner would receive a round trip ticket to Milpitas but the loser only received a one way ticket. An episode of PBS-TV's Sesame Street has a segment in which that gag still appears.

In the 1920s, a young pharmacist, Sal Cracolice, came to Milpitas to take over management of the local pharmacy owned by a San Jose pharmacist located under the dance hall. Later, he purchased the business and later the building and for a time the local U.S. Post Office was located in its north end. In the 1960s and 1970s Sal's son operated a men's clothing store in the south end of the building. Sal Cracolice promoted more growth of the town and came to be known as "Mr. Milpitas." The Cracolice family lived north of the pharmacy on Main Street. The site of their home is now covered by the Calaveras Blvd. overpass. Mr. Cracolice died in 1999 after seeing his dream of a bustling, metropolis-like Milpitas come true.

In the early 1960s the building was extensively modernized. The unused dance hall was divided into small apartments and another addition was built on the north side. The roof line was changed by adding parapets and the front facade was raised and squared off. However, under certain lighting conditions, one may still discern an outline in bas relief of the building’s gracefully gabled curves or the placque that used to read "Maple Hall". Unchanged, is the doorway and decorative tile work located on the extreme southeast corner of the building's ground floor. There, it is just as it looked in photographs taken before the First World War. Still owned by the descendents of Sal Cracolice.  The view to the left is no longer seen due to the construction of dental offices on the vacant lot.

Return to Cybertour