Valley of Heart's Delight

My first job after art school was as a designer for Muirson Label Company in San Jose. At that time Muirson was a nationally recognized leader in the industry that supplied local cannery’s and fruit packers in the Santa Clara Valley with appealing can labels as far back as 1916. The process of creating a label started with a discussion between the designer, salesman and the potential client. Initial concept “thumbnails” were created and upon preliminary approval would move forward to a more complete rendering or “comp” by the designer. These were the days before market research, focus groups or branding and design acceptance was strictly up to the client who was typically a cannery owner, farmer or grower. The next step was for the designer to prepare a paste-up “mechanical” for letterpress plate making. Printing took place in the pressroom of the large plant located across from the Guadalupe River on Stockton Street not far from today’s “SAP Center. Printed labels were delivered to the cannery and ultimately on to the worldwide consumers awaiting California’s famous canned fruits and vegetables from the “Valley of Heart’s Delight”’.

When I joined Muirson in the mid 1960’s Santa Clara Valley’s fields and orchards were already being replaced with housing and shopping centers. IBM had purchased a large parcel of land in South San Jose and along with HP would become the foundation of today’s Silicon Valley. With inevitable decline of the regions agricultural industry, Muirson’s business also faded and the operation closed in 1970.

Also during the mid-1960’s, North of San Jose up the old Oakland highway and the new Nimitz Freeway things were also undergoing fundamental changes. South Hayward’s family farms and orchards were also being replaced with housing and shopping centers and a new church on Mission Blvd. was optimistically anticipating the future. In his 1989 “The First Thirty Year’s - History of United Church of Hayward” Bill Connor’s writes:

Originally, today’s sanctuary was to serve as a combination fellowship hall and sanctuary, with a larger permanent sanctuary to be built at some future date. The building study committee was authorized to instruct the architects to plan a facility to serve 1000 members...A framed colorful artist’s rendering portrays a huge, multi-roofed cathedral-like sanctuary intended to be erected eventually on the open space to the north of the church and completely dwarfing the present building (really a fellowship hall), the whole being surrounded by another dozen classrooms”

 Those confident plans have not played as planned out, however for more than 60 years the United Church of Hayward has been a spiritual home for hundreds of people with ripples into the community impacting thousands more. It’s time once again that we reseek our vision and open our hearts and minds for whatever the future may bring.  -Bill