kids encyclopedia robot

Morgan Hill, California facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Morgan Hill, California
City of Morgan Hill
Clockwise: the Diablo Range hills, historic Morgan Hill Elementary Building, Votaw Building, El Toro Mountain, Downtown shops, Anderson Lake
Clockwise: the Diablo Range hills, historic Morgan Hill Elementary Building, Votaw Building, El Toro Mountain, Downtown shops, Anderson Lake
Flag of Morgan Hill, California
Location in Santa Clara County and the state of California
Location in Santa Clara County and the state of California
Morgan Hill, California is located in the United States
Morgan Hill, California
Morgan Hill, California
Location in the United States
Country United States
State California
County Santa Clara
Incorporated November 10, 1906
 • Total 12.94 sq mi (33.51 km2)
 • Land 12.94 sq mi (33.51 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
350 ft (107 m)
 • Total 44,686
 • Density 3,453.3/sq mi (1,333.51/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 408/669
FIPS code 06-49278
GNIS feature ID 1659174

Morgan Hill is a city in Santa Clara County, California, at the southern tip of Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Morgan Hill is an affluent residential community, the seat of several high-tech companies, and a dining, entertainment, and recreational destination, owing to its luxury hospitality, wineries, and nature parks.


Hiram Morgan Hill (c. 1880's)
Diana Helen Murphy (c. 1880's)
H. Morgan Hill, a Missouri entrepreneur, and Diana Murphy, a Californio heiress, founded Morgan Hill.

Prior to the arrival of Spanish colonists, the area of the Santa Clara Valley was inhabited by the Ohlone people for more than 6,000 years. In the area of what is now Morgan Hill, the Matalan tribe lived in a hunter-gatherer society.

Before the area was colonized as part of the Alta California province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, the 1772 Spanish expedition, led by Pedro Fages and Father Juan Crespí, camped in what is now Morgan Hill, alongside 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.

Following Mexico's independence from Spain, land was redistributed to Mexican citizens across California and the land encompassing modern-day Morgan Hill was granted to Juan Maria Hernandez, in 1835. In 1845, Martin Murphy, Sr., an Irish-born American pioneer, acquired the area and named it Rancho Ojo del Agua de la Coche.

Votaw Building (2)
Downtown's historic Votaw Building was built in 1905.

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 area. 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).

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 prominent socialite 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.

Morgan Hill School - 1930´s
Students saluting the flag; Morgan Hill Elementary School, c. 1930.

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".

On November 10, 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.


El Toro Mountain in Morgan Hill, Ca. from Sierra Azul open space preserve
View of 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.

Anderson Lake (3)
Anderson Lake reservoir and park, in northeastern Morgan Hill.
Morgan Hill, CA
Morgan Hill and El Toro, in the southern Santa Clara Valley.

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 1984 Morgan Hill earthquake registered at a 6.2 magnitude.

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.

Morgan Hill is one of very few sources for a type of semi-precious gemstone marketed under the name "Morgan Hill poppy jasper". 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. The local Poppy Jasper Film Festival is also named after the mineral.

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). 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 on Monterey Street
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%
2020 44,686 18.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

The 2000 U.S. Census 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. 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.


Willard Hicks (Downtown Morgan Hill)
Restaurants in the downtown.

The 2010 U.S. Census 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.

Parks and recreation

Morgan Hill Community Playhouse (1)
The Morgan Hill Community Playhouse Theatre, downtown.
  • 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, the second-largest state park in California
  • Uvas Canyon County Park, located a few miles west of Morgan Hill in the Santa Cruz Mountains
  • Galvan Park, site of The Friendly Inn
  • Morgan Hill Community Park, including a skate park and off-leash dog park
  • Centennial Recreation Center, with gymnasium, indoor swimming pool, senior center, youth center and computer facility
  • Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center, amphitheater and satellite campus of Gavilan College
  • Morgan Hill Aquatic Center
  • Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center

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

Sister cities

  • Turkey Seferihisar, Izmir, Turkey
  • Italy San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Italy
  • Mexico San Martín de Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico
  • Japan Mizuho, Tokyo, Japan
  • Republic of Ireland Headford, County Galway, Ireland



Morgan Hill is a popular wine tourism destination, home to numerous wineries as part of the Santa Clara Valley AVA.
Downtown Morgan Hill on Monterey Rd. (top and center) and Third Street Plaza (bottom)

According to Forbes, Morgan Hill is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. Business Insider ranked Morgan Hill as the 17th most expensive housing market in the United States, owing to its concentration of high-net-worth individuals and restrictive growth policies.

Morgan Hill, along with Saratoga, San Martin, and Gilroy make up the Santa Clara Valley AVA, a designated American Viticultural Area for wineries and vineyards within the historic Santa Clara Valley.

Numerous companies of other industries are based in Morgan Hill as well, such as Specialized Bicycle Components, a major global manufacturer of high performance bicycles.

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


Notable high tech companies that are headquartered or have their American headquarters in Morgan Hill include Anritsu (Japanese telecommunications company), Flextronics (the world's 2nd largest electronics-manufacturing service provider), Velodyne (sensor and laser developer), Hypnos Entertainment (video game company), TenCate Advanced Composites (Dutch advanced composite materials manufacturer), and the Paramit Corporation (high tech medical device manufacturer).

High tech companies that have research & development or manufacturing facilities in Morgan Hill include the Harris Corporation (information & defense contractor based in Madrone district), Infineon Technologies (semiconductor & chip manufacturer), and NxEdge Inc. (semiconductor & business solutions company).

Top employers

According to the City's 2018 Employment Report, the top employers in the city are:

No. Employer No. of Employees
1 Morgan Hill Unified School District 900
2 Anritsu 480
3 Specialized Bicycle Components 380
4 Paramit Corporation 300
5 CalDoor 300
6 NxEdge 280
7 Lusamerica Foods 270
8 Mission Bell Manufacturing 250
9 Toray Advanced Composites 250
10 Infineon Technologies 240
10 Safeway 230
11 Velodyne 200


Morgan Hill Elementary School historic building
The historic Morgan Hill School Building, designed by famed California architect W. H. Weeks

Public education

The Morgan Hill Unified School District (MHUSD) serves the whole of Morgan Hill, as well as San Martin, California and Coyote Valley. MHUSD schools have variously been awarded as National Blue Ribbon Schools, California Distinguished Schools, and California Gold Ribbon Schools.

Morgan Hill's public high schools are:

  • Live Oak High School
  • Ann Sobrato High School (Ranked in top 100 best public schools in California)
  • Central High School

Alongside its traditional schools, MHUSD, in special partnership with The Tech Museum of Innovation, a leading Silicon Valley institution, operates 4 specialized public "focus academies", through its innovative Tech Academies Initiative: Focus Academies will provide the opportunity for students to specialize their studies within broad fields (engineering, STEAM, maths, music, health sciences), allowing for greater, in-depth learning within subjects within programs designed by noted subject matter experts, including scientists from The Tech Museum of Innovation and Stanford University medical professors.

  • Paradise Valley Engineering Academy
  • P.A. Walsh STEAM Academy (run in partnership with The Tech Museum of Innovation)
  • Jackson Academy of Maths & Music
  • El Toro Health Science Academy (first elementary-level health sciences program in California; created alongside Stanford University)
  • San Martin/Gwinn - Dual Immersion Mulitcultural Education (90/10 Spanish & English Dual Language Immersion)

Morgan Hill also hosts a campus of Gavilan College.

Private education

Morgan Hill is also home to numerous private school, both religious and nonsectarian in nature.

Nonsectarian schools:

  • Oakwood School, ranked as one of the best college preparatory schools in the Bay Area
  • Stratford School

Religious schools:

  • Saint Catherine Catholic School
  • Crossroads Christian School
  • Spring Academy, alternative Christian school
  • Shadow Mountain Baptist School


Villa Mira Monte, 17860 Monterey Rd., Morgan Hill, CA 9-23-2012 5-18-30 PM
Villa Mira Monte was built in 1884 by Hiram Morgan Hill and today houses the Morgan Hill Museum & Historical Society.


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

Public libraries

Santa Clara County Library District operates the Morgan Hill Library.

Notable people

Marina Klimova, Soviet Olympian and gold medalist in figure skating
Helder Antunes, Cisco Systems executive and former racecar driver
Jared Allen, former Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears player
John Battendieri, pioneer and leader of the organic movement



  • Konstantin Batygin, Caltech astronomer
  • Helder Antunes, Cisco Systems executive, founder of the OpenFog Consortium
  • Ole Fahlin, Aviator and Lockheed Martin developer
  • Charles Edward Barns, astronomer and author
  • Stephen C. Johnson, AT&T and Bell Labs computer scientist
  • Stav Prodromou, CEO of Alien Technology


Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Morgan Hill para niños

kids search engine
Morgan Hill, California Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.