For a 108-year-old two-story building, Bellarmine College Prep’s Berchmans Hall sure gets around. The two-story Dutch Colonial house, the oldest building on the grounds of the Jesuit boys school in San Jose, was moved a short distance Saturday to make room for a new building in the works.
And it’s not the house’s first move, either.
The Polhemus House, as it was originally known, was built in 1916 on the corner of Stockton Avenue and Polhemus Street, which is now West Taylor Street (both house and street being named for the family of Charles Pohlemus). It was sold to Bellarmine in 1946 and moved to Elm and Hedding streets, where it sat until Saturday.
Both moves were done by Kelly Brothers House Moving, which in recent years also trucked Poor House Bistro and Pallesen apartment building to new locations. Howard “King” Kelly, patriarch of Kelly Brothers, was 11 years old and present for the first move — there’s a photograph of him sitting in the cab of a truck with the house behind him. Kelly, now 84, was unable to be at the move Saturday, but his son, John Kelly was there as part of three family generations participating in the job and carried the photo of his 11-year-old dad.
The house, named after St. John Berchmans, a Jesuit seminarian who died in 1621, served as a dormitory building back when Bellarmine was a boarding school and also as an infirmary. Most recently, it had been the home for more than three decades of Bellarmine Director of Facilities Quirino Arias, who brought up six children there and was present Saturday to watch the move.
When Berchmans Hall is refurbished, it will house the school’s office of admissions and welcome center and in its former place will be the 21-classroom Wade Academic Center, scheduled for completion by Fall 2025. And if Bellarmine needs to ever move it again, no doubt they’ll call Kelly Brothers.
CLUB CHEERS: There was a standing ovation Friday night at the Signia by Hilton hotel for Matthew Van, who was named the Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley’s Youth of the Year at a festive gala attended by nearly 400 guests. Van, a Santa Clara High School senior who has been accepted to Cornell University, was selected from three finalists to represent the region in Youth of the Year competitions at the state and national level.
And if Van sounds a bit familiar, it’s not you, it’s him: Van also was last year’s Youth of the Year for Silicon Valley. Van, who has attended the Alviso clubhouse for more than a decade, had to practice public speaking, write essays and work on team-building exercises throughout the four-month program. Spoiler alert: He’s pretty darn good at all of that.
Van wasn’t the only one getting cheered at Friday night’s gala, either. The evening also happened to be the birthday of Hoge Fenton attorney Sarju Naran, a Boys and Girls Clubs board member who served as chair of the gala committee, and the audience serenaded him with “Happy Birthday.” “There’s nowhere that I’d rather be than here tonight,” Naran said.
PARTY COUNTDOWN: The Mardi Gras celebration at Poor House Bistro is back next Tuesday for the first time since the New Orleans-style restaurant and live music venue was moved — by Kelly Brothers — to San Jose’s Little Italy district in 2022. The Fat Tuesday festivities will include music by Eamonn Flynn, doing a tribute to Allen Toussaint, from 4 to 6 p.m. and Guilded Splinters playing from 6 to 9 p.m. The new location is 317 W. St. John St.
And if you want to get an early start on the celebration, there’s also going to be a Carnevale/Mardi Gras party at the Italian Cellar Speakeasy — across the patio and down the stairs from the Poor House — on Friday, Feb. 9. That’ll include Venetian Carnevale and New Orleans Mardi Gras appetizers, specialty cocktails for purchase and a Venetian mask/Mardi Gras costume contest. It runs from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and costs $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Tickets are available online at littleitalysj.com/events.
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