Harris-Lass Historical Museum is located at 1899 Market Street, on the last
farm site in the City of Santa Clara. The Museum was named for the two
families who owned and lived on the property for 125 years.
Henry Harris, an English cabinet maker, and his wife Mary, immigrated to
California from Australia to hunt gold. They purchased the property in 1864,
and built this Italianate style home and barn the following year. The
characteristics of this architecture include two stories, rectangular or square
floor plans, low pitched roofs, wide overhangs and tall windows with decorative
When Henry and Mary moved to San Jose in the late 1800's, their youngest son
Albert took over the property. He was responsible for the additions and
remodeling that took place about 1890.
Subsequently, the house was purchased by Christian Lass (a former sea captain) and his
family who moved into their new home in June 1906. Julia Lass, the Captain's
wife, died in 1910 and Christian in 1920.
Son, Frederick Lass inherited the property when Christian died, and continued
to operate the farm until his own death 1932. Upon her mother's death in
1969, youngest daughter Johanna inherited the estate. She lived there until
1985 when in she moved to a retirement community in Santa Cruz, California.
The property was offered to the City of Santa Clara, which purchased the
property in 1987. The property was designated "the last remaining farm site"
and a historic preserve dedicated to Santa Clara's agricultural past. The
City financed major restoration efforts which has continued to be supported
by private donations. The House displays many of the original family antiques
The tank house on the property, although typical of those used
in the Santa Clara Valley, is not original. It was moved there in 1987.
Although owned by the City, the site is operated by the Historic Preservation
Society of Santa Clara, a non profit public benefit corporation, staffed by
volunteers. The Museum is opened to the public Saturday & Sunday,
12.00-4.00 PM. Admission price is very nominal.