Groundbreaking and construction on Saint Anne’s began in 1930 and the church was completed three years later. The architect was William D. Shea. William went to work with his brother Frank in 1890 and formed Shea and Shea. In 1907 William D. Shea became city architect.
Ordinance No. 1767, under which Shea was appointed, provided for the appointment of a city architect at a salary of $4,000 per annum. The city architect was appointed to perform such architectural services as the board of public works required of him, and he was to devote his entire time to the service of the city.
The church is notable for its Romanesque-revival architecture, massive dome, uneven twin towers, great rose windows, and the frieze sculpture that adorns the front facade entrance. In addition to English, the church celebrates mass in Arabic and Cantonese.
The frieze, created by Mission San Jose Sister Justina Niemierski, depicts a scriptural account of the whole of salvation history, from Abraham to Christ. The eccentric artist Sister Justina Niemierski, spent most of her days at the convent covered in dust and paint, rarely uttering a word. A considerable amount of her work can also be found in Fremont, California. There are the stations of the cross behind Mission San Jose, between the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose cemetery and the convent grounds, Queen of Peace Community and the Mater Dei Chapel on the convent grounds.