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Milpitas was first inhabited by the Tamyen (also spelled Thomien, Tamien, Thamien, or Tamiayn), a linguistic subgroup of the Muwekma Ohlone people who had resided in the San Francisco Bay Area for thousands of years. The Ohlone Indians lived a traditional life based on everyday hunting and gathering. Some of the Ohlone lived in various villages within what is now Milpitas, including sites underneath what are now the Calvary Assembly of God Church and Higuera Adobe Park. Archaeological evidence gathered from Ohlone graves at the Elmwood Correctional Facility in 1993 revealed a rich trade with other tribes from Sacramento to Monterey.
During the Spanish expeditions of the late 18th century, several missions were founded in the San Francisco Bay Area. During the mission period, Milpitas served as a crossroads between Mission San José de Guadalupe in present-day Fremont and Mission Santa Clara de Asis in present-day Santa Clara. The land of modern-day Milpitas was divided between the 6,353-acre (25.71 km2) Rancho Rincon de Los Esteros (Spanish for "corner of the wetlands") granted to Ignacio Alviso; the 4,457.8-acre (18.040 km2) Rancho Milpitas (Spanish for "little corn fields") granted to José María Alviso; and the 4,394.35-acre (17.7833 km2) Rancho Los Tularcitos (Spanish for "little tule marshes") granted to José Higuera. Jose Maria Alviso was the son of Francisco Xavier Alviso and Maria Bojorquez, both of whom arrived in San Francisco as children with the de Anza Expedition. José María Alviso is considered to be the founder of Milpitas. Due to Jose Maria Alviso's descendants' difficulty securing his claims to the Rancho Milpitas property, portions of his land were either swindled from the Alviso family or were sold to American settlers to pay for legal fees.
Both landowners had built prominent adobe homes on their properties. Today, both adobes still exist and are the oldest structures in Milpitas. The seriously eroded walls of the Jose Higuera Adobe, now in Higuera Adobe Park, are encapsulated in a brick shell built c.1970 by Marian Weller, a descendant of pioneer Joseph Weller.
The Alviso Adobe can be seen mostly in its original form with one kitchen addition made by the Cuciz family after they purchased the adobe from the Gleason family in 1922. Prior to the city acquiring the Alviso Adobe in 1995, it was the oldest continuously occupied adobe house in California dating from the Mexican period and today is still gradually being restored and undergoing seismic upgrades by the City of Milpitas. Alviso Adobe History Park is to be opened, after the exterior restoration of the adobe and outbuildings is completed, as an educational museum with historic items, trees, buildings, and documents.
In the 1850s, large numbers of Americans of English, German, and Irish descent arrived to farm the fertile lands of Milpitas. The Burnett, Rose, Dempsey, Jacklin, Trimble, Ayer, Parks, Wool, Weller, Minnis, and Evans families are among the early settlers of Milpitas. (Today many schools, streets, and parks have been named in honor of these families.) These early settlers farmed the land that was once the ranchos. Some set up businesses on what was then called Mission Road (now called Main Street) between Calaveras Road (now called Carlo Street) and the Alviso-Milpitas Road (now called Serra Way). By the late 20th century this area became known as the "Midtown" district. Yet another influx of immigration came in the 1870s and 1880s as Portuguese sharecroppers from the Azores came to farm the Milpitas hillsides. Many of the Azoreans had such locally well-known surnames as Coelho, Covo, Mattos, Nunes, Spangler, Serpa, and Silva.
There is a local legend that in 1857, when the U.S. Postal Service wanted to locate a Post Office in Frederick Creighton's store near the intersection of Mission Road and Alviso-Milpitas Road to serve the newly created Township, there was some support for naming it Penitencia, after the small Roman Catholic confessional building that had served local Indians and ranchers and had once stood several miles south of the village near Penitencia Creek which ran just west of the Mission Road. A local farmer and first Assistant Postmaster, Joseph Weller, felt the Spanish word Penitencia might be confused with the English word "penitentiary." Instead of choosing Penitencia, he suggested another popular name for the area, Milpitas, after the name of Alviso's property, Rancho Milpitas. Thus was born "Milpitas Township."
For over a century, Milpitas served as a popular rest stop for travelers on the old Oakland−San Jose Highway. At the north side of the intersection of that road with the Milpitas-Alviso Road, for many years stood "French's Hotel" that had been originally built by Alex Anderson prior to 1859, when Alfred French bought it from Austin M. Thompson. South of the site of French's Hotel, was a saloon dating from at least 1856 when Agustus Rathbone purchased the land and "improvements" from Richard Greenham. The first murder in Milpitas was committed in the early 1860s in "Rathbone's Saloon" (alas, the murderer escaped). Later the saloon was replaced by a hotel that is shown on the 1893 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map as "Goodwin's Hotel" (perhaps the same Henry K. Goodwin who, in 1890, loaned money to prominent local rancher Marshall Pomeroy). Presumably, this hotel burned down and "Smith's Corner," which still stands, was built in 1895, by John Smith, as a saloon that served beer and wine to thirsty travelers for a century before becoming a restaurant in 2001. Around this central core, grocery and dry goods stores, blacksmithies, service stations, and, in the 1920s, one of America's earliest "fast food" chain restaurants, "The Fat Boy", opened nearby. Another of Milpitas' most popular restaurants was the "Kozy Kitchen" established in 1940 by the Carlo family in the former "Central Market" building. Kozy Kitchen was demolished soon after Jimmy Carlo sold the restaurant in 1999. Even in the early 1950s, Milpitas served a farming community of 800 people who walked a mere one or two blocks to work.
On January 26, 1954, faced with getting swallowed up by a rapidly expanding San Jose, Milpitas residents incorporated as a city that included the recently built Ford Auto Assembly plant. When San Jose attempted to annex Milpitas barely seven years later, the "Milpitas Minutemen" were quickly organized to oppose annexation and keep Milpitas independent. An overwhelming majority of Milpitas registered voters voted "No" to annexation in the 1961 election as a result of a vigorous anti-annexation campaign. Following the election, the anti-annexation committee, who had compared themselves to the Revolutionary War Minutemen who fought the British on Lexington Green—a role filled in this case by the neighboring city of San Jose - adopted the image of Daniel Chester French's Minuteman statue, that stands near the site of the Old North Bridge in Concord, MA, as part of the official city seal. In the 1960s, the city approved the construction of the Calaveras overpass. Formerly at a junction with the Union Pacific railroad, Calaveras Boulevard had a bridge passing over six sets of railroad tracks after the construction was completed. Though the result was that local residents could now drive over the train tracks without waiting for a slow freight to pass, it resulted in the loss of the historical residential area. Here houses owned by city leaders had to be purchased by the city at full market value and either moved or demolished.
Starting in 1955, with the construction of the Ford Motor Assembly Plant, and accelerating in the 1960s and 1970s, extensive residential and retail development took place. Hayfields in Milpitas rapidly disappeared as industries and residential housing developments spread. Soon, the once rural town of Milpitas found itself a San Jose suburb. The population jumped from about 800 in 1950 to 62,698 in 2000. Several local farmers and businessmen who had chipped in from $2 to $50 to file for incorporation, had become millionaires within ten years. Most of them then moved away.
According to the book The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein (2017), when the Ford plant moved from Richmond to Milpitas in 1953, the town incorporated in order to pass laws that would exclude African American workers from residing there. “Union leaders met with Ford Executives and negotiated an agreement permitting all 1400 Richmond plant workers, including the approximately 250 African Americans, to transfer to the new facility. Once Ford’s plans became known, Milpitas residents incorporated the town and passed an emergency ordinance permitting the newly installed city council to ban apartment construction and allow only single family homes. ... The Federal Housing Administration approved subdivision plans that met their specifications in Milpitas and guaranteed mortgages to qualified buyers....One of the specifications for mortgages insured in Milpitas (as in the rest of the country at that time) was an openly stated prohibition on sales to African Americans. Because Milpitas had no apartments, and houses in the area were off-limits to black workers-though their incomes and economic circumstances were like those of whites on the assembly line-African Americans had to choose between giving up the good industrial jobs, moving to apartments in a segregated neighborhood of San Jose, or enduring lengthy commutes between North Richmond and Milpitas.
In 1961, Ben F. Gross, a civil rights activist, became Milpitas' first black city councilman with the backing of the UAW. This election was recognized nationally and received attention from Look and Life magazines. In 1966, Ben F. Gross became California's first black mayor when he was elected by the city's residents and "the only black mayor of a predominantly white town in California". Mayor Gross was reelected in 1968 and continued fighting against Milpitas' annexation by San Jose.
The Ford San Jose Assembly Plant closed in 1984, later being converted into a shopping mall, known as The Great Mall of the Bay Area, which opened in 1994.
In the early 21st century, the Milpitas light rail transit system station was added, making it the northeasternmost light rail destination in the region. On January 26, 2004, the city celebrated the 50th anniversary of its incorporation and issued the book Milpitas: Five Dynamic Decades to commemorate 50 years of Milpitas' history as a busy, exciting crossroads community.
The name Milpitas is the plural diminutive of milpa, Mexican Spanish for "cornfield." The name means "Place of little cornfields." The word milpa is derived from the Nahuatl words milli, meaning "agricultural field," and pan, meaning "on."
The name Milpitas, perhaps used by Jose Maria Alviso to name his land grant, Rancho de las Milpitas, may have meant that there had been small Native American gardens nearby because of the rich alluvial soils of the area.
The first deed of property sale in Milpitas is found in the Santa Clara County Records General Index 1850–1856 (K-143) and is dated February 14, 1856. It is Juana Galindo Alviso, widow of Jose Maria Alviso, to Michael and Ellen Hughes for 800 acres of land, today the Main Street area south of Carlo Street, although the deed gives the name of the Rancho as Rancho San Miguel, rather than as Milpitas.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Milpitas had a population of 66,790. The population density was 4,896.5 people per square mile (1,890.6/km2). The racial makeup of Milpitas was 13,725 (20.5%) White, 1,969 (2.9%) African American, 309 (0.5%) Native American, 41,536 (62.2%) Asian, 346 (0.5%) Pacific Islander, 5,811 (8.7%) from other races, and 3,094 (4.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11,240 persons (16.8%).
The Census reported that 64,092 people (96.0% of the population) lived in households, 104 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 2,594 (3.9%) were institutionalized.
There were 19,184 households, out of which 8,616 (44.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 12,231 (63.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 2,279 (11.9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,105 (5.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 760 (4.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 100 (0.5%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 2,470 households (12.9%) were made up of individuals, and 742 (3.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.34. There were 15,615 families (81.4% of all households); the average family size was 3.61.
The population was spread out, with 15,303 people (22.9%) under the age of 18, 5,887 people (8.8%) aged 18 to 24, 21,827 people (32.7%) aged 25 to 44, 17,434 people (26.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 6,339 people (9.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 104.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.6 males.
There were 19,806 housing units at an average density of 1,452.0 per square mile (560.6/km2), of which 12,825 (66.9%) were owner-occupied, and 6,359 (33.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 3.1%. 42,501 people (63.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 21,591 people (32.3%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there were 62,698 people, 17,132 households, and 13,996 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,785.2/km2 (4,622.9/mi2). There were 17,364 housing units at an average density of 494.4/km2 (1,280.3/mi2). The racial makeup of the city was 51.81% Asian, 30.87% White, 3.66% African American, 0.62% Native American, 0.63% Pacific Islander, 7.48% from other races, and 4.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.61% of the population.
There were 17,132 households, out of which 43.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.1% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.3% are nonfamilies. 11.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 2.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.47, and the average family size was 3.72.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.6% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 38.0% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 7.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there are 110.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $84,429, and the median income for a family was $84,827 (these figures had risen to $85,186 and $91,232 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $51,316 versus $36,681 for females. The per capita income for the city was $27,823. About 3.3% of families and 5.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.5% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.
Compared to rural parts of California, living in Milpitas is more expensive, as it is throughout Silicon Valley. Compared to other South Bay bedroom communities Milpitas is considered affordable. For example, a regular one-story, detached single-family home with a 1,300-square-foot (140 m2) size sells for between $600,000 to $700,000 in the city. These prices are slightly more affordable than the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area, as a similar sized house may cost well over a million dollars in more affluent cities such as Palo Alto, Cupertino or Saratoga. Reasons for the expensive housing in the South Bay Area include the regional high tech industries, mild climate, strong foreign investment in the West Coast's housing, and a huge demand for limited homes. With the decline in the housing market, however, median sales prices in Milpitas have declined from nearly $700,000 to less than $500,000, and single-family new house construction building permits have plummeted from a 2004 average price of $949,900 to $269,400 in 2007.
California, integral member of the United States of America, is a melting pot of races and cultures. It was only admit as the second state of the Union on September 9, 1950, and in the early 1960s was the largest U.S. State. No official version of the history of California s original name has ever been accepted, however there is strong historical support for the claim that it came from an ancient Spanish fishing settlement. In the United States, California is often referred to as Golden State or even California Plus.
The people of California enjoy a high-quality of life that is far removed from the lives of most people in other states. Although California is a compact state, it still enjoys a wide variety of geographic variation, with mountain ranges, deserts, lakes, rivers, and sandy beaches all presenting unique political, social, and economic problems and opportunities. California's political culture is particularly liberal, giving it a unique and friendly outlook toward immigrants and other people of various ethnic backgrounds. California is a state with very distinctive values and characteristics, especially concerning the environment.
The people of California enjoy a high-level of personal freedom and are very tolerant of other cultures. However, California is also well-known for its water, especially the great State Water Bird Sanctuary and the National Marine Fisheries Center at San Diego. These two popular attractions draw enormous numbers of sport fish and shorebird species each year. The state also provides for safe diving, surfing, and sailing.
The geography of California provides plenty of opportunity for outdoor recreation and adventure. California is the home of some extremely popular cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. Many tourists come to these cities wanting to see some of nature's most spectacular sites and to participate in a wide range of activities. The climate in these cities is mild and pleasant year-round, although the peak summer temperatures can reach ninety degrees at times. Snow is also common during the winter months.
Other popular cities of California include San Diego, Orange County, and Riverside. All three cities have large concentrations of professional sports teams, including the popular Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Chargers. A popular summertime activity is to head to San Diego for a few days of beach and relaxation. Other popular summer activities include camping, sailing, hiking, horseback riding, sightseeing, surfing, and sand boarding off of Orange County, California. There are also many local festivals that take place throughout the state throughout the summer, including farmers' markets, outdoor concerts, flea markets, rodeos, and other cultural events.
California is well known for its delicious cuisine. The most popular types of cuisine found in California are Italian, Chinese, and Jewish. The most popular part of California that is most visited by travelers is the wine country. Napa Valley is home to some of the finest wineries in the world, as well as an extensive collection of museums and art galleries. Sonoma, the largest city in Northern California, is also home to many famous universities such as Stanford, Berkeley, and San Francisco.
Travelers to California also need to check out its major attractions. The Golden Gate Bridge, a favorite among tourists, is a great way to get over the hump from San Francisco to San Francisco. The Yosemite Park is another well-known attraction, featuring dozens of different parks and locations. The Hollywood Studios Movie Park is a great place to see in California. The San Francisco Ferry is one of the best ways to see the San Francisco skyline. The Golden Gate Bridge is the tallest suspension bridge in the world and also features a cruise that allows visitors to ride along the Panama River.
California is a fantastic place to live or visit. There is a lot to do in California whether you want to be by the beach or in the middle of a large city. Many people choose to live in California because of all the beautiful sites that California has to offer. Visit California now!