Santa Margarita, California
|— census-designated place —|
|County||San Luis Obispo|
|• Total||0.518 sq mi (1.341 km2)|
|• Land||0.518 sq mi (1.341 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2) 0%|
|Elevation||1,014 ft (309 m)|
|• Density||2,400/sq mi ( 940/km2)|
|Time zone||Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|GNIS feature ID||2583128|
Santa Margarita is a census-designated place located in San Luis Obispo County, California. It was founded in 1889 near Cuesta Peak and San Luis Obispo along State Route 58. The town's name comes from the Mexican Alta California land grant. It is home to the Santa Margarita de Cortona Asistencia. The population was 1,259 at the 2010 census.
Located in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains, it is one of the most rural areas in San Luis Obispo County. Santa Margarita Lake, a major water source for San Luis Obispo, is located several miles southeast of the town on the Salinas River. It is served by the zip code 93453 and area code 805.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP covers an area of 0.5 square miles (1.3 km²), all of it land.
Santa Margarita Valley, with its year round running streams and abundant acorns, was a meeting place for northern Chumash and southern Salinan around 6500 BC. The de Anza Expedition traversed the Cuesta Grade into the valley in 1776. After Fr. Junipero Serra founded the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, he realized that an “assistance” mission (asistencia) was needed. The asistencia was founded circa 1775 and was named for the Italian Saint, Santa Margarita de Cortona. This trail was the El Camino Real and is today’s main street.
In 1841 after Mexico’s independence and secularization, Joaquin Estrada became the owner of the Santa Margarita Rancho. Estrada was famed for his “Rancho Hospitality” with rodeos, BBQs and fiestas. After downturns in the economy and personal debts, Estrada sold the Rancho to the Martin Murphy family in 1860.
Patrick Murphy worked to restore the Rancho to a working agricultural ranch. On April 20, 1889 the Southern Pacific Railroad reached Santa Margarita from Templeton. A “Grand Auction” was held to sell lots for the new town of Santa Margarita along the El Camino Real. While construction down the Cuesta Grade took place, the railroad terminus was in Santa Margarita. This created a boom time in the community. All freight had to be loaded for stage transportation up and down the Cuesta Grade. Town boasted a hotel, restaurants, taverns, blacksmiths, and ice cream parlors. Once the “gap” was closed from Santa Margarita to San Luis Obispo in 1894 the town grew quiet.
Margarita Town saw a renaissance in the roaring 1920s. The El Camino Real was the road for seeing California. The town sported a motor inn, hotel, 6 gas stations, garages, pool halls, restaurants, fraternal organizations, taverns and a baseball team. The Depression hit town and the surrounding areas hard. The War Department took land from local farmers to build a reservoir on the Salinas River which created Santa Margarita Lake to provide water for Camp San Luis. The war ended before the work was completed and Santa Margarita Lake is now a County Recreation Area.
After Hwy 101 bypassed Santa Margarita in 1956, the town was quiet once again. Today, Santa Margarita is a tiny hamlet of 1,300 people. It is a quaint artist and family community.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Santa Margarita had a population of 1,259. The population density was 2,432.4 people per square mile (939.1/km²). The racial makeup of Santa Margarita was 1,077 (85.5%) White, 8 (0.6%) African American, 28 (2.2%) Native American, 34 (2.7%) Asian, 0 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 42 (3.3%) from other races, and 70 (5.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 206 persons (16.4%).
The Census reported that 1,259 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.
There were 507 households, out of which 151 (29.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 254 (50.1%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 52 (10.3%) had a female householder with no husband present, 16 (3.2%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 52 (10.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 1 (0.2%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 124 households (24.5%) were made up of individuals and 29 (5.7%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48. There were 322 families (63.5% of all households); the average family size was 2.98.
The population was spread out with 257 people (20.4%) under the age of 18, 112 people (8.9%) aged 18 to 24, 321 people (25.5%) aged 25 to 44, 461 people (36.6%) aged 45 to 64, and 108 people (8.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.1 years. For every 100 females there were 101.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.6 males.
There were 525 housing units at an average density of 1,014.3 per square mile (391.6/km²), of which 334 (65.9%) were owner-occupied, and 173 (34.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.5%; the rental vacancy rate was 2.3%. 832 people (66.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 427 people (33.9%) lived in rental housing units.
- U.S. Census
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Santa Margarita, California
- All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
Further reading