When the first Southern Pacific Railroad station was built in 1898, the railroad referred to this area as Huntington. Many visitors would request the train stop at “Morgan Hill’s Ranch,” thereby changing the name to Morgan Hill. By 1896, the growing community had a population of 250, with a post office, depot, two hotels, a restaurant, and several churches and shops. There was much controversy over the incorporation of the city. The Morgan Hill Times printed many editorials supporting the issue, while those opposed were fearful of higher taxes. Nevertheless, the “yes” vote won by a margin of 65-36 and Morgan Hill became incorporated November 10, 1906.
In 1906, the town of Morgan Hill was incorporated. The area around Morgan Hill had a population of about 1,500 by the early 1920s. The town itself had a population of 646 in 1920. Farmsteads continued to grow, orchards were predominant; however, diary and poultry farms and stock ranches were also located in Morgan Hill. In 1925 The Emilio Guglielmo Winery (link: www.GuglielmoWinery.com) was established and continues to be a well-known establishment in the area. Link for YouTube Video on “Morgan Hill Promotional Video 1938: Buy at Home Campaign.”
Until 1910, residents relied on horse-drawn vehicles for local transportation and railroads for longer distances. The automobile greatly extended the distance an individual could travel. This started the decline of railroad use and the development of our road system. Today, the South County still retains much of its rural character as it sees the development of more modern industry. This industrial development cause a rapid growth spurt in the 1970s and, in order to maintain its small town character, Morgan Hill adopted “annual growth limit” legislation to provide for managed expansion for the City.
The first school was built in 1894, but was soon outgrown and in 1907 a new elementary school and high school were constructed. Then in 1924 architect William H. Weeks designed and built a new grammar school, selling the old Morgan Hill Grammar School Building to the Morgan Hill Grange Association.
A broad diversity in cultural groups, Spanish, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and several others, contributes to the ambiance that has made Morgan Hill the special community it is today.
References for historical information compiled for this website:
Dill Design Group. Santa Clara County Heritage Resource Inventory Update, South County, Survey Report, 2003
Circa Historic Property Development. Historic Context Statement for the City of Morgan Hill, 2006
Wyman, Beth Wyman. Hiram Morgan Hill, 1990. NOTE: Green in italics for book titles.
Sharma, U.R. Images of America Morgan Hill, 2005
Sanders, Ian L. Views of Morgan Hill, Postcards and Images of Morgan Hill, California, 2010
Morgan Hill Historical Society Archives, Morgan Hill, California
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