Morgan Hill (pronounced /ˈmɔrɡɨn ˈhɪl/) is a city located in the southern part of Santa Clara County, California, United States. Founded on November 10, 1906, the city was named after Hiram Morgan Hill, a San Franciscan who built a country retreat home there in 1884. 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 of the United States 2000 Census, the city had a population of 33,556. The silhouette of El Toro, a distinctive hill overshadowing the town to the west, has been incorporated into the city’s seal and official logo.
Geography and geology
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 United States Census Bureau, the city encompasses an area of 30.2 km2 (11.67 sq mi), 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.
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 (1 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 (10 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.
Morgan Hill is the only known site where one can find the semi-precious stone poppy jasper, a variety of orbicular jasper. Geologists conjecture that the deposits of poppy jasper were formed through a unique local combination of volcanic and seismic activity on the slopes of El Toro. A local business, El Toro Brewing Co., 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. Poppy Jasper is also the name of a local non-profit film festival.
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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.
As of the United States 2000 Census, 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 racial 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. 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.
According to the City’s 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Morgan Hill Unified School District||812|
|6||ITT Defense Electronics and Services||164|
|8||Mission Bell Manufacturing||174|
Parks and recreation
- Santa Clara County Department of Parks and Recreation
- Anderson Lake County Park, immediately east of Morgan Hill
- Coyote Creek Parkway, north of Morgan Hill, extending to San Jose
- Henry W. Coe State Park, a very large park directly east of Morgan Hill
- Uvas Canyon County Park, located a few miles west of Morgan Hill in the Santa Cruz Mountains
- Community Park, Morgan Hill’s largest city park which includes multiple sports facilities, picnic areas, amphitheater and duck pond
- Morgan Hill Off-Leash Dog Park (located at Community Park)
- Morgan Hill Skatepark
- Centennial Recreation Center, with gym, indoor pool, senior center, computer lab
- Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center with meeting/banquet facilities, amphitheater and a satellite campus of Gavilan College
- Morgan Hill Aquatic Center
In the state legislature Morgan Hill is located in the 15th Senate District, represented by Republican Abel Maldonado, and in the 27th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Bill Monning. Federally, Morgan Hill is located in California’s 11th congressional district, which has a Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) of R+1 and is represented by Democrat Jerry McNerney.
Morgan Hill has one local newspaper, Morgan Hill Times, published biweekly by the Gilroy-based Mainstreet Media Group.
Small general aviation aircraft are served by the uncontrolled South County Airport (E16), located at San Martin, about 6 km (4 mi) south of Morgan Hill. Commercial flights are served by San Jose International Airport, about 39 km (24 mi) away in San Jose.
- The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority provides local buses and express buses to Gilroy, San Martin, San Jose, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale.
- Caltrain provides weekday rush-hour commuter rail service to the Santa Clara Valley, the San Francisco Peninsula and San Francisco.
- Monterey-Salinas Transit runs a rush-hour San Jose-Monterey express bus, Line 55, that also serves as an Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach connection.
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:
- Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy, co-located with CALSTAR air ambulance service
- Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, with a satellite clinic in Gilroy
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
The Morgan Hill Unified School District and Gavilan Community College District serve the community.