Morgan Hill, California

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Morgan Hill
City of Morgan Hill
El Toro in August 2007
El Toro in August 2007
Flag of Morgan Hill
Nickname(s): Mushroom Capital of the World
Location in Santa Clara County and the state of California
Location in Santa Clara County and the state of California
Morgan Hill is located in USA
Morgan Hill
Morgan Hill
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 37°07′50″N 121°39′16″W / 37.13056°N 121.65444°W / 37.13056; -121.65444Coordinates: 37°07′50″N 121°39′16″W / 37.13056°N 121.65444°W / 37.13056; -121.65444
Country  United States
State  California
County Santa Clara
Incorporated November 10, 1906[1]
 • Mayor Steve Tate[2]
 • City manager Steve Rymer[3]
 • Total 12.882 sq mi (33.363 km2)
 • Land 12.882 sq mi (33.363 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)  0%
Elevation[5] 350 ft (107 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)[6]
 • Total 37,882
 • Estimate (2013)[7] 40,836
 • Density 2,900/sq mi (1,100/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 95037-95038
Area code(s) 408/669
FIPS code 06-49278
GNIS feature ID 1659174

Morgan Hill (/ˈmɔːrɡn ˈhɪl/), officially the City of Morgan Hill, is a city located in the southern part of Santa Clara County, in northern California. The city is located in the southernmost portion of Silicon Valley.

With origins back to the Rancho period of California, the area initially started as the seat of the Rancho Ojo del Agua de la Coche, of the wealthy Californio family, the Murphys. The land eventually made it into the hands of Hiram Morgan Hill, who established his country home in the area and gave his name to the land. The settlement, which grew from Hill's ranch, was incorporated in 1906.

Originally a community of ranchers, farmers, and orchardists, the city has evolved into a bedroom community for the high tech industries in Silicon Valley, as well as the seat for several high tech companies.


Morgan Hill is named after an early landowner, Hiram Morgan Hill. The name is often erroneously thought to be the name of the prominent hill on the west side of the valley, which is actually named El Toro. Prior to the city's founding, the area was known as Rancho Ojo del Agua de la Coche, during the time when the Murphy family owned all the land in the area. When the land came in to Hiram Morgan Hill's possession, it became known as "Morgan Hill's Ranch", which was eventually shortened to "Morgan Hill".[8]


The city's main thoroughfare, Monterey Street, during the late 19th century.

Prior to the arrival of Spanish colonists, the area of the Santa Clara Valley had been inhabited by the Ohlone people, for more than 6,000 years. In the area of what is now Morgan Hill, a sub-sect of the Ohlone, called the Matalan Tribe, lived in a hunter-gatherer society.[8]

Spanish colonial governance, under the Alta California province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, was established over the Morgan Hill area in 1778, when a land grant encompassing the Morgan Hill area and surrounding areas was authorized by the Spanish colonial government. Previous to official colonization, the 1772 Spanish expedition, led by Pedro Fages, Military Lt. Governor of Alta California and Father Juan Crespí, camped in what is now Morgan Hill, at a part of Llagas Creek. The location of their camp subsequently became a popular campsite for Spanish soldiers on their way from New Spain to Alta California. With the founding of Mission Santa Clara de Asís, in 1777, the lands of present-day Morgan Hill were granted to the Roman Catholic Church.[8]

An overview of Morgan Hill´s downtown during the early twentieth century.

In 1821, the Morgan Hill area became part of the First Mexican Empire, when Mexico declared its independence from Spain. With the transfer of sovereignty, the new Mexican re-appropriated all royal and church lands, for the next two decades following independence, to Mexican citizens, and the land encompassing modern-day Morgan Hill was granted to Juan Maria Hernandez, in 1835.[8] In 1845, Martin Murphy, Sr., an Irish-born American pioneer man, acquired the Morgan Hill and surrounding area and named it Rancho Ojo del Agua de la Coche.[9]

In 1846, the area of Morgan Hill became a part of the independent California Republic and subsequently a part of the United States, under the State of California. In 1850, Martin Murphy, Sr.'s youngest son, Daniel Murphy, married Maria Fisher, heiress of the neighboring 19,000-acre (7,700 ha) Rancho Laguna Seca, thus combining the two estates. In 1853, Martin Murphy, Sr.'s father, Bernard Murphy, died leaving the majority of the estate to Martin Murphy, Sr., but a substantial portion to a Martin Murphy, Sr.'s mother, Catherine, who then married James Dunne. By 1870, the Murphy family had acquired around 70,000 acres (28,000 ha) of the Morgan Hill and surrounding area.[8] In the history of Morgan Hill, the Murphy, Dunne, and Hill families are of the most prominent significance.

In 1882, Daniel and Maria Murphy's favorite daughter, Diana Murphy, fell in love with Missouri businessman Hiram Morgan Hill. They married in secret, on account of his being a Quaker and her being from a prominent Roman Catholic family. When Daniel Murphy died, Diana and Hiram Morgan Hill inherited the 4,500 acres (1,800 ha) surrounding the original Murphy estate, near Murphy's Peak (now known as El Toro). In 1884, the Hills built their weekend estate, as the family primarily lived in San Francisco and in Nevada, dubbed Villa Mira-Monte (Italian for Mountain-View Estate).[10]

Students saluting the flag at the Morgan Hill Elementary School in the 1930s.

By 1886, the family chose to live primarily at the Ojo del Agua estate, as they jointly inherited 22,000 acres (8,900 ha) around the estate. However, the move was temporary, as scandal caused by the marital complications of Hiram Morgan Hill's sister, Sarah Althea Hill, and her husband, Senator William Sharon, made the Hills a source of social ridicule, thus causing them to start spending the majority of their time between San Francisco and Washington, D.C., thus leaving their Ojo del Agua estate untouched for long periods of time.[8]

In 1892, Hiram Morgan Hill contracted land developer C. H. Phillips to divide and liquidate the Ojo del Agua estate, only retaining the Villa Mira Monte estate and the surrounding 200 acres (81 ha), which the Hill family would hold until 1916. By 1898, a significant community had built around what was then known as Morgan Hill's Ranch, and a Southern Pacific Railroad station was built in the Huntington area. Rather than ask to stop at Huntington station, passengers would ask to stop at "Morgan Hill's Ranch", which eventually shortened to "Morgan Hill".[8]

On 10 November 1906, the planned community, a result of the divisions of C. H. Phillips, was incorporated as the Town of Morgan Hill. Hiram Morgan and Diana Hill's only child, Diana Murphy Hill, married the French nobleman, Baron Hadouin de Reinach-Werth, and thus Baron Hadouin started to help manage Hiram Morgan Hill's properties between California and Nevada. However, the baron was called back to France to serve in the military and never returned. In 1913, Hiram Morgan Hill died at his Elko estate in Nevada, thus leaving his properties to his daughter. Diana Murphy Hill later remarried, in 1916, to Sir George Rhodes, thus causing the Murphy heiress of the Morgan Hill estate to relocate to the United Kingdom, taking her and Hiram Morgan Hill's daughter, Diana Murphy Hill, thus finally selling off the Villa Mira Monte and ending the Hill family presence in the community named after them.[8]


View of Morgan Hill from the western hills, near El Toro

Morgan Hill is approximately 39 km (24 mi) south of downtown San Jose, 21 km (13 mi) north of Gilroy, and 24 km (15 mi) inland from the Pacific coast. Lying in a roughly 6 km-wide (4-mi-wide) southern extension of the Santa Clara Valley, it is bounded by the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west and the Diablo Range to the east. At the valley floor, Morgan Hill lies at an elevation of about 107 m (350 ft) above MSL.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city encompasses an area of 12.9 square miles (33 km2), all land. Although there are no natural lakes or ponds within the city limits, there are several flood-control and water storage reservoirs in the adjacent hills which are operated by the Santa Clara Valley Water District, with recreational activities such as boating, etc., administered by the Santa Clara County Department of Parks and Recreation.[11]

Morgan Hill is located within the seismically active San Francisco Bay region. The significant earthquakes in the region are generally associated with crustal movements along well-defined, active fault zones. The nearest known active faults are the San Andreas Fault, approximately 19 km (12 mi) southwest, and the Calaveras Fault, approximately 1.6 km (0.99 mi) northeast. Both faults have produced major earthquakes in the past, and have estimated maximum credible Richter magnitudes of 8.3 and 7.3 respectively.

The Sargent-Berrocal Fault, a potentially active fault, lies 16 km (9.9 mi) away from the sites and has an estimated maximum credible Richter magnitude of 7.4. The Coyote Creek Fault is located in Morgan Hill and is classified as potentially active as well. In addition, several unnamed faults traverse the western slopes of the upland areas. Geomorphic evidence suggests that these faults were active during recent geologic time. However, these fault-related geomorphic features are not as fresh as those of the active Calaveras Fault and are considered to be somewhat older.[12]

Morgan Hill and El Toro, in the southern Santa Clara Valley.

Morgan Hill is one of very few sources for a type of semi-precious gemstone marketed under the name "Morgan Hill poppy jasper".[13] According to geologists, this local variety of orbicular jasper formed through a combination of volcanic and seismic activity on the slopes of El Toro. Known extant deposits of the mineral are located on private lands, not accessible to the public. A local business, El Toro Brewing Company, has a collection of poppy jasper on display at their rural Morgan Hill brewery and on a large bar top inlaid with the stone at their brewpub in downtown Morgan Hill. Examples are also on display at the Morgan Hill Museum and at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center.[14] The local Poppy Jasper Film Festival is also named after the mineral.[15]

The highlight of local geography is El Toro. According to a local legend of the early 1900s, author Bret Harte named the hill when he climbed it and discovered two bulls fighting near the summit (they subsequently chased him back down). The official name shown on the U.S. Geological Survey's maps is simply "El Toro", although locals may refer to the hill as "Murphy's Peak". Visitors, not aware of the origin of the town's name, often mistakenly assume that El Toro is "Morgan" Hill. It is USGS Feature ID# 223063 in the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), maintained by the United States Board on Geographic Names. Elevation at the summit is about 435 m (1427 ft).[16] The iconic hill overshadowing the town to the west, has been incorporated into the city's seal and official logo.


Due to the moderating influence of the Pacific Ocean, Morgan Hill enjoys a mild, Mediterranean climate. Temperatures range from an average midsummer maximum of 32.3°C (90.2°F) to an average midwinter low of 0.9 °C (33.6 °F). Average annual precipitation is 480 mm (18.9 in), and the summer months are typically dry. Snowfall is rare, about once every 20 years, and is light and short-lived when it occurs. Summer months are characterized by coastal fog which arrives from the ocean around 10 p.m. and dissipates the next morning by 10 a.m. Winter months have many sunny and partly cloudy days, with frequent breaks between rainstorms. The local terrain is inconducive to tornadoes, severe windstorms and thunderstorms. The local climate supports chaparral and grassland biomes, with stands of live oak at higher elevations.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 607
1920 646 6.4%
1930 908 40.6%
1940 1,014 11.7%
1950 1,627 60.5%
1960 3,151 93.7%
1970 5,579 77.1%
1980 17,060 205.8%
1990 23,928 40.3%
2000 33,556 40.2%
2010 37,882 12.9%
Est. 2014 42,068 [17] 11.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[18]
The historic United Methodist Church.


The 2000 U.S. Census[6] reported there were 33,556 people, 10,846 households, and 8,633 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,875.4 people per square mile (1,110.2/km2). There were 11,091 housing units at an average density of 950.3/sq mi (366.9/km2). The ethnic makeup of the city was 72.40% White, 1.71% African American, 1.08% Native American, 6.02% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 13.43% from other races, and 5.13% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 27.50% of the population.

There were 10,846 households out of which 44.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.2% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.4% were non-families. 15.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.05 and the average family size was 3.38.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.5% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 7.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.9 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $99,243, and the median income for a family was $108,611.[19] Males had a median income of $61,999 versus $42,003 for females. The per capita income for the city was $33,047. About 3.3% of families and 4.7% of the population were below the poverty threshold, including 5.4% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.

Substantial expansion of the population of Morgan Hill occurred from the late 1980s onward. This population expansion was enabled by the removal of a growth constraint in the form of sewage treatment capacity.[20]


The 2010 U.S. Census[21] reported that Morgan Hill had a population of 37,882. The population density was 2,940.8 people per square mile (1,135.4/km²). The ethnic makeup of Morgan Hill was 24,713 (65.2%) White, 746 (2.0%) African American, 335 (0.9%) Native American, 3,852 (10.2%) Asian, 125 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 5,779 (15.3%) from other races, and 2,332 (6.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12,863 persons (34.0%).

The Census reported that 37,496 people (99.0% of the population) lived in households, 164 (0.4%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 222 (0.6%) were institutionalized.

There were 12,326 households, out of which 5,538 (44.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 7,581 (61.5%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,469 (11.9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 646 (5.2%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 660 (5.4%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 89 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,998 households (16.2%) were made up of individuals and 757 (6.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.04. There were 9,696 families (78.7% of all households); the average family size was 3.39.

The population was spread out with 10,838 people (28.6%) under the age of 18, 2,909 people (7.7%) aged 18 to 24, 10,000 people (26.4%) aged 25 to 44, 10,537 people (27.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 3,598 people (9.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.8 years. For every 100 females there were 97.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.5 males.

There were 12,859 housing units at an average density of 998.2 per square mile (385.4/km²), of which 8,793 (71.3%) were owner-occupied, and 3,533 (28.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.7%; the rental vacancy rate was 2.6%. 26,148 people (69.0% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 11,348 people (30.0%) lived in rental housing units.

Demographic profile[22] 2010
Total Population 37,882 100.0%
One race 35,550 93.8%
White 24,713 65.2%
Black or African American 746 2.0%
American Indian and Alaska Native 335 0.3%
Asian 3,852 10.2%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 125 0.3%
Some other race 5,779 15.3%
Two or more races 2,332 6.2%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 12,863 34.0%


Top employers[edit]

According to the City's 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[23] the top employers in the city are:

No. Employer No. of Employees
1 Morgan Hill Unified School District 746
2 Anritsu 511
3 Comcast 500
4 Specialized Bicycle Components 360
5 Paramit 300
6 Safeway 228
7 Fox Racing 204
8 Flextronics 197
9 Lusamerica Foods 180
10 Infineon Technologies 175
11 Wal-Mart 170
12 Mission Bell Manufacturing 150
13 Target 149

Parks and recreation[edit]

Additional information about parks in the Morgan Hill environs may be obtained from Santa Clara County Department of Parks and Recreation.[31]


Morgan Hill's city flag and logo are fashioned after El Toro, the hill on the city's west side.

In the state legislature, Morgan Hill is in the 17th Senate District, represented by Democrat Bill Monning, and in the 30th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Luis Alejo.

Federally, Morgan Hill is in California's 19th congressional district, represented by Democrat Zoe Lofgren.[32]


Morgan Hill is served by the weekly Morgan Hill Times, founded in 1894 and published by New SV Media.[33] The biweekly Morgan Hill Life,[34] lifestyle publication, founded in 2013, is published by Morgan Hill Life, LLC.



Major highways[edit]


Small general aviation aircraft are served by the uncontrolled San Martin Airport (E16), located at San Martin, about 6 km (3.7 mi) south of Morgan Hill. Commercial flights are served by San Jose International Airport, about 39 km (24 mi) away in San Jose.

Public transportation[edit]


Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) provides gas and electricity for the city. Water and sewer services are provided by the City of Morgan Hill. Household waste disposal and recycling are provided by Recology South Valley (formerly called South Valley Disposal & Recycling). Land line telephone and primary DSL Internet services within city limits and immediate environs are provided by Verizon Communications. Television and high-speed Internet are provided by Charter Communications. Although there are locations in and around Morgan Hill from which some residents can receive broadcast television signals directly from the San Francisco Bay Area, many are in deep fringe areas due to the mountainous terrain, and, therefore, opt for cable or satellite television service instead.


In addition to several local medical clinics, Morgan Hill is served by the following two nearby hospitals:

There are also a number of private hospitals in San Jose and several renowned medical centers are within two hours' road travel in the San Francisco Bay Area to the north.


Primary and secondary schools[edit]

The Morgan Hill Unified School District and Gavilan Community College District serve the community. In addition, it is also the home of Oakwood School, the area's only independent, non-sectarian, college-preparatory school for students in preschool through grade 12.

Public libraries[edit]

Santa Clara County Library operates the Morgan Hill Library.[38]

Sister cities[edit]

Morgan Hill has five sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:



  1. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date" (Word). California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ "City Council". City of Morgan Hill, CA. Retrieved November 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ City manager biography
  4. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files – Places – California". United States Census Bureau. 
  5. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Morgan Hill
  6. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "Morgan Hill (city) QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "Circa: Historic Property Development - Historic Context Statement for the City of Morgan Hill". Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  9. ^ City of Morgan Hill - History
  10. ^ Morgan Hill Historical Society - Villa Mira Monte
  11. ^ Morgan Hill does not have water rights to the nearby reservoirs; the city's water supply consists of a number of deep wells and aboveground steel storage tanks. Streams in the vicinity are small and seasonal, unable to supply the city's water needs.
  12. ^ Jackson Meadows Expanded Initial Study, Earth Metrics Inc., San Mateo, Calif., prepared for the city of Morgan Hill, October 16, 1989
  13. ^ Sinkankas, John (1959). Gemstones of North America 1. Princeton, New Jersey: Van Nostrand. p. 307. 
  14. ^ Morgan Hill Museum
  15. ^ Poppy Jasper Film Festival
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Morgan Hill city, California — Fact Sheet — American FactFinder — U.S. Census Bureau". 
  20. ^ Environmental Impact Report for the Long Term Wastewater Management Plan, Cities of Gilroy and Morgan Hill, Earth Metrics, Inc. 1986, prepared for cities of Gilroy and Morgan Hill and State of California Environmental Clearinghouse
  21. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Morgan Hill city". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Demographic Profile Bay Area Census". 
  23. ^ City of Morgan Hill CAFR
  24. ^ Anderson Lake County Park
  25. ^ Coyote Creek Parkway
  26. ^ Morgan Hill Off-Leash Dog Park
  27. ^ Centennial Recreation Center
  28. ^ Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center
  29. ^ Morgan Hill Aquatic Center
  30. ^ Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center
  31. ^ Santa Clara County Department of Parks and Recreation
  32. ^ "California's 19th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 12, 2013. 
  33. ^ Morgan Hill Times
  34. ^ Morgan Hill Life
  35. ^ "Gilroy and Morgan Hill Service" (PDF). Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  36. ^ "Caltrain timetable effective April 2, 2007". Caltrain. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  37. ^ "Line 55 Monterey - San Jose Express". Monterey-Salinas Transit. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  38. ^ "Welcome to the Morgan Hill Library." Santa Clara County Library. Retrieved on March 27, 2010.
  39. ^

External links[edit]