Anthony Maderis -- Portuguese Builder

Haberdasher Turns Real Estate Developer

Selling men's and boys' clothing into his late-30s, Anthony Maderis changed course to build homes instead.

Years:  1881 — 1937

One early pioneer was a real estate developer who created one of the first planned housing tracts in San José.

Born Antonio Medeiros in 1881 in continental Portugal, he came here as a toddler with his parents. After his father died when he was just twelve, he started working as a delivery boy for the prominent Hart’s Department Store in Downtown San José. He worked his way up to store manager, then left at age 33 to open his own men’s and boys’ clothing store in 1914. He had already purchased a number of lots in San José when he left the clothing business in 1919 to devote himself to real estate.

His father had Americanized the family name to Maderis and Antonio’s to Anthony William. He was called A. W. Maderis in his business dealings.

In 1922, Maderis purchased a 16.5 acre estate off The Alameda in San José and divided it into 99 lots with improvements; that is, sewers, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and street lights. Lot prices started at $775 -- and they sold quickly. The Maderis-built homes are still very attractive today on Pershing, Harding, Hoover, and Schiele Avenues in San José.

In 1927, Maderis subdivided an area in Willow Glen, naming one of the streets Norval -- his son’s middle name. There he created the “storybook” house design, still popular today. He built Dorothy Avenue, named after his daughter.

Anthony Maderis also built a number of large, majestic homes on The Alameda and dozens more homes in San José.

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