Morgan Hill, California

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Morgan Hill
City of Morgan Hill
The El Toro Hill in August 2007

Nickname(s): Mushroom Capital of the World
Location in Santa Clara County and the state of California
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 of America
State California
County Santa Clara
IncorporatedNovember 10, 1906
 • MayorSteve Tate
 • City ManagerSteve Rymer[1]
 • Total12.882 sq mi (33.363 km2)
 • Land12.882 sq mi (33.363 km2)
 • Water0 sq mi (0 km2)  0%
Elevation[3]350 ft (107 m)
Population (2010)[4]
 • Total37,882
 • Density2,876.6/sq mi (1,110.7/km2)
Time zonePST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes95037-95038
Area code(s)408
FIPS code06-49278
GNIS feature ID1659174
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Morgan Hill
City of Morgan Hill
The El Toro Hill in August 2007

Nickname(s): Mushroom Capital of the World
Location in Santa Clara County and the state of California
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 of America
State California
County Santa Clara
IncorporatedNovember 10, 1906
 • MayorSteve Tate
 • City ManagerSteve Rymer[1]
 • Total12.882 sq mi (33.363 km2)
 • Land12.882 sq mi (33.363 km2)
 • Water0 sq mi (0 km2)  0%
Elevation[3]350 ft (107 m)
Population (2010)[4]
 • Total37,882
 • Density2,876.6/sq mi (1,110.7/km2)
Time zonePST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes95037-95038
Area code(s)408
FIPS code06-49278
GNIS feature ID1659174

Morgan Hill (/ˈmɔrɡɨn 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 the southernmost part of Silicon Valley, the global high-tech capital.

With origins back to the Rancho period of California, the area initially started as the seat of the Rancho de Ojo de 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 rancho, 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. Abundance of land and proximity to recreational facilities has led to a proliferation of oversized estate homes, resulting in a significant increase in real estate prices in the past decade.


Morgan Hill is named after the city's famed founder, Hiram Morgan Hill, though often erroneously thought to be the name of El Toro Mountain. Prior to the city's incorporation and founding by Hiram Morgan Hill, the area was known as Rancho Ojo de Agua de la Coche, during the time when the Murphy family owned all the land in the area. When the land came in to Hiramn Morgan Hill's possession, it became known as Morgan Hill's Ranch, which gradually shortened to Morgan Hill.[5]


The Morgan Hill´s Monterey Street during the late nineteenth 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.[5]

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 camp site 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 Church.[5]

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.[5] In 1845, Martin Murphy Sr., an Irish-born American pioneer man, acquired the Morgan Hill and surrounding area and named it Rancho Ojo de Agua de la Coche.[6]

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 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 of the Morgan Hill and surrounding area.[5] 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 favourite daughter, Diana Murphy, fell in love with Missouri businessman Hiram Morgan Hill and secretly married him, on account of his being a Quaker and her being from a prominent Roman Catholic family.[7] When Daniel Murphy died, Diana and Hiram Morgan Hill inherited the 4,500 acres surrounding the original Murphy estate, near Murphy's Peak (now known as El Toro Mountain). In 1884, the Hill's built their weekend estate, as the family primarily lived in San Francisco and their estate in Nevada, dubbed Villa Mira-Monte (Italian for Mountain-View Estate).[8]

Students doing the Bellamy salute in front of Morgan Hill Elementary School.

By 1886, the family chose to live primarily at the Ojo de Agua estate, as they jointly inherited 22,000 acres 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 Hill's 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 de Agua estate untouched for long periods of time.[5]

In 1892, Hiram Morgan Hill contracted C. H. Phillips to divide and liquidate the Ojo de Agua estate, only retaining the Vila Mira Monte estate and the surrounding 200 acres, 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 South Pacific Coast 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 gradually was shortened just to Morgan Hill.[5]

On 10 November 1906, the planned community, a result of the divisions of C. H. Phillips, was incorporated as the City 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.[5]


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

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.[9]

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.[10]

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

Morgan Hill is a source for a type of semi-precious gemstone marketed under the name "Morgan Hill poppy jasper".[11] 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.[12] The local Poppy Jasper Film Festival is also named after the mineral.[13]

The highlight of local geography is El Toro Mountain. According to a local legend, 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", or sometimes "El Toro Mountain". 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 393 m (1289 ft).</ref> 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.


The historic United Methodist Church.


The 2000 U.S. Census[4] 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.[14] 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 line, 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.[15]


The 2010 U.S. Census[16] 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[17]2010
Total Population37,882 - 100.0%
One Race35,550 - 93.8%
Not Hispanic or Latino25,019 - 66.0%
White alone19,073 - 50.3%
Black or African American alone667 - 1.8%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone125 - 0.3%
Asian alone3,712 - 9.8%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone107 - 0.3%
Some other race alone87 - 0.2%
Two or more races alone1,248 - 3.3%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race)12,863 - 34.0%


Top employers[edit]

According to the City's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[18] the top employers in the city are:

#Employer# of Employees
3Morgan Hill Unified School District435
5Fox Racing252
8Infineon Technologies183
10City of Morgan Hill175
11Lusamerica Foods160
12Mission Bell Manufacturing150

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.[26]


Morgan Hill's city flag and logo are fashioned after the El Toro Hill.

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.[27]


Morgan Hill has one local newspaper, Morgan Hill Times, published weekly by the Gilroy-based Mainstreet Media Group.[28]



Major highways[edit]


Small general aviation aircraft are served by the uncontrolled South County 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 the area's only independent, non-sectarian, college-preparatory school for students in preschool through grade 12 (Oakwood School).

Public libraries[edit]

Santa Clara County Library operates the Morgan Hill Library.[32]

Sister cities[edit]

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



  1. ^ City manager biography
  2. ^ U.S. Census
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Morgan Hill
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ City of Morgan Hill - History
  7. ^ Find-a-Grave - Hiram Morgan Hill
  8. ^ Morgan Hill Historical Society - Villa Mira Monte
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Jackson Meadows Expanded Initial Study, Earth Metrics Inc., San Mateo, Calif., prepared for the city of Morgan Hill, October 16, 1989
  11. ^ Sinkankas, John (1959). Gemstones of North America 1. Princeton, New Jersey: Van Nostrand. p. 307. 
  12. ^ Morgan Hill Museum
  13. ^ Poppy Jasper Film Festival
  14. ^ "Morgan Hill city, California — Fact Sheet — American FactFinder — U.S. Census Bureau". 
  15. ^ 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
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "Demographic Profile Bay Area Census". 
  18. ^ City of Morgan Hill CAFR
  19. ^ Anderson Lake County Park
  20. ^ Coyote Creek Parkway
  21. ^ Morgan Hill Off-Leash Dog Park
  22. ^ Centennial Recreation Center
  23. ^ Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center
  24. ^ Morgan Hill Aquatic Center
  25. ^ Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center
  26. ^ Santa Clara County Department of Parks and Recreation
  27. ^ "California's 19th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 12, 2013. 
  28. ^ Morgan Hill Times
  29. ^ "Gilroy and Morgan Hill Service". Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  30. ^ "Caltrain timetable effective April 2, 2007". Caltrain. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  31. ^ "Line 55 Monterey - San Jose Express". Monterey-Salinas Transit. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  32. ^ "Welcome to the Morgan Hill Library." Santa Clara County Library. Retrieved on March 27, 2010.
  33. ^

External links[edit]