San Jose home with deep rock n’ roll roots will become a historic landmark

San Jose home with deep rock n’ roll roots will become a historic landmark
Photo Credit: thedoobiebrothers.com/media
By Wesley Severson - Published on August 06, 2021.

Last year, the Doobie Brothers became the first musical act from San Jose to make it into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and now, the home where they got their explosive start appears to be becoming a new historic landmark for the city. The San Jose city council is expected to finalize the declaration in the next few weeks after the Historic Landmarks Commission passed the proposal unanimously this week. 

The single-story Craftsman-style home is in the Naglee Park neighborhood at 285 South 12th Street and will soon get a bronze plaque installed to tell the Doobie Brothers’ story. John and Lauren White own the home and applied for the designation in May. They told Mercury News that they’re excited about the plaque. “Everyone who comes is just thrilled and they get such a kick out of the house, so of course we want to make it something that’s visible for them. They come and take pictures, so it’ll be something more to commemorate it,” Lauren White said.


Doobie Brothers’ lead singer and songwriter Tom Johnston rented the home from 1969 to 1973 while going to school at SJSU. Johnston met the rest of the band in 1970, and they immediately went to work inside the home writing songs, and rehearsing them. According to Mercury News, the band created their first three studio albums while Johnston rented the home. Inside the home, they wrote some of their biggest selling songs like “Listen to the Music,” “The Captain and Me,” and “Toulouse Street.” Since its start, the band has sold over 40 million albums.

Last year, Johnston spoke to Mercury News about the home. “There were always people at the house playing. I would come home from school and find guys down in the basement blasting away.” Dan Orloff of ‘San Jose Rocks,’ which celebrates the music made in Silicon Valley, said this about the home, “San Jose has in many ways shaped the soundtrack of this planet and 285 South 12th Street is home to hits that help tell a story to a unique place on this planet that drives great music.”

The home was built back in 1907 and the design and location also have historical value. 

“I think this project really hits all the bells and whistles. We have this amazing house with some architectural history behind it, we have the great historical report, we have the owners who have this amazing commitment to the house, and we have the historical connection with the musical culture of the Twentieth Century,” said historical landmark commissioner Anthony Raynsford told Mercury News. 

Along with the plaque, the owners are planning to do some renovations on the home soon, including new paint on the outside, and some new plumbing elements.