Fremont (pronounced /ˈfriːmɒnt/) is a city in Alameda County, California. It was incorporated on January 23, 1956, from the merger of five smaller communities: Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs. The city is named after John Charles Frémont, "the Great Pathfinder."
Fremont is located in the southeast section of the San Francisco Bay Area. Home to an estimated 211,662 people as of 2007, Fremont is now the fourth most populous city in the San Francisco Bay Area as the largest suburb in the metropolis. It is included as one of the towns in Silicon Valley.
The area consisting of Fremont, Newark (an enclave of Fremont), and Union City was formerly known as Washington Township and is now known as the Tri-City Area.
Fremont is the sister city to Elizabeth, South Australia (now part of the City of Playford); Puerto Peñasco, Mexico; Fukaya, Japan; Horta, Azores, Portugal; Lipa City, Philippines; and Jaipur, India.
According to the census of 2008, there were approximately 201,334 people, 68,237 households, and 52,201 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,024.1/km² (2,652.3/sq mi) However, this number is deceptively low because the city limits include large areas of undevelopable marshland on the edge of the city. There were 69,452 housing units at an average density of 905.6/sq mi (349.7/km²).
As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 37.7% of Fremont's population; of which 31.5% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 3.1% of Fremont's population; of which 2.9% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indians made up 0.6% of the city's population; of which 0.3% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 46.2% of the city's population; of which 46.1% were non-Hispanic. Pacific Islander Americans made up 1.0% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 8.0% of the city's population; of which 0.3% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 3.4% of the city's population; of which 2.5% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 15.4% of Fremont's population.
Fremont is the home to the largest concentration of Afghans in the United States. This is noted in the prominent place Fremont has in Khaled Hosseini's 2003 novel Kite Runner. In addition, Fremont has a notable concentration of South Asians, predominantly employed in Silicon Valley's technology sector.
Fremont also has a large deaf community, in large part due to the fact that it is home to the Northern California campus of the California School for the Deaf.
There were 68,237 households out of which 40.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.7% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.5% were non-families. 16.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.96 and the average family size was 3.34.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 36.8% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 8.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there were 101.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.2 males.
According to the 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city is $93,342, and the median income for a family was $103,846. Males have a median household income of $59,274 versus $40,625 for females. The per capita income for the city was $31,411. About 3.6% of families and 5.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.9% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.
Politically, Fremont leans strongly to the Democratic Party.
Fremont is home to the Fremont Unified School District and lies within the Ohlone Community College District.
The Fremont Unified School District has five comprehensive high schools for students in grades 9-12: American, Irvington, Kennedy, Mission San Jose and Washington. These five high schools, along with James Logan High School in Union City and Newark Memorial High School in Newark, make up the Mission Valley Athletic League (M.V.A.L.).
In addition to the five comprehensive high schools, the district has a continuation high school (Robertson); two independent study programs (Vista and COIL); an adult school; five junior high schools for grades 7-8 (Centerville, Hopkins, Horner, Thornton and Walters); and 29 elementary schools (K-6).The district operates the Mission Valley Regional Occupational Programjointly with Newark and New Haven Unified School Districts.
The main campus of Ohlone College is located in Fremont, with a smaller center in Newark. The University of California, Berkeley has an extension campus located in Fremont, and the University of Phoenix Bay Area Campus and Northwestern Polytechnic University and DeVry University offer undergraduate and graduate programs in technology and management areas.
The city is also home to Fremont Christian School and California School for the Deaf, Fremont, which serves Northern California. It shares its campus with the Statewide California School for the Blind.
The recorded history of the Fremont area began on June 9, 1797 when Mission San José was founded by the Spaniard Father Fermin de Lasuen. The Mission was established at the site of the Ohlone village of Oroysom. On their second day in the area, the Mission party killed a grizzly bear in Niles Canyon. The first English-speaking visitor to Fremont was the renowned trapper and explorer Jedediah Smith in 1827. The Mission prospered, eventually reaching a population of 1,886 inhabitants in 1831. The influence of the missionaries declined after 1834, when the Mexican government enacted secularization.
José de Jesus Vallejo, brother of Mariano Vallejo, was the grantee of the Rancho Arroyo de la Alameda Mexican land grant. His family was influential in Fremont in the late colonial era, and owned and built a flour mill at the mouth of Niles Canyon. In 1846 they were visited by the town's namesake John C. Frémont, who mapped a trail through Mission Pass to provide access for American settlers into the southeastern San Francisco Bay Area. Fremont grew rapidly at the time of the Gold Rush. Agriculture dominated the economy with grapes, nursery plants and olives as leading crops. In 1868 the 6.8-magnitude Hayward earthquake on the Hayward Fault collapsed buildings throughout Fremont, ruining Mission San José and its outbuildings. Until the 1906 San Francisco earthquake caused its destruction, Fremont's Palmdale Winery was the largest in California. The ruins of the Palmdale Winery are still visible near the Five Corners in Irvington.
From 1912-1916 the Niles section of Fremont was the earliest home of California's motion picture industry. Charlie Chaplin filmed several movies in Fremont, most notably "The Tramp." Fremont was incorporated in 1956, when five towns in the area came together to form a city. Fremont became more industrialized in the 1950s and 1960s. The General Motors automotive assembly plant in Warm Springs was the town's largest employer, and Fremont was known for its drag strip. In the 1980s the GM plant became a joint venture automotive assembly plant of Toyota and General Motors called NUMMI. A boom in high-tech employment in the 1980s to the late 1990s, especially in the Warm Springs District, caused rapid development in the city.
The first Fremont post office opened in 1956.
Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs make up the five former independent towns which combined to form Fremont. Today, these places are no longer separate communities and are usually considered districts of the city of Fremont. The town of Newark declined to join Fremont, and is now an enclave of it.
Centerville was perhaps the main town in Washington Township. The area is served by two high schools, American High School and Washington High School. It also has two junior high schools, Thornton Junior High School and Centerville Junior High School. Centerville is located at . It lies at an elevation of 52 feet (16 m).
Centerville includes all of North and most of Central Fremont. The Centerville Pioneer Cemetery contains the burial places of many of the city's founding pioneers.
Centerville is the focal point of a sizable Afghan community, and the area is informally known in some circles as "Little Kabul" . The best-selling novel The Kite Runner is partly set in Fremont's Afghan community. A 99 Ranch Market is one of many East Asian businesses in the area. Centerville can also be traced back to its native American roots.
Centerville was started by George Lloyd who started selling cold beer to stage passengers for a tent in 1850. Capt. George Bond set up a general store and the name Centerville was chosen. The post office opened Centreville post office in 1855 and changed the spelling to Centerville in 1893.
Niles retains a small town feel anchored by a tight-knit community. Geography partly explains the community's cohesion; in addition to sitting against the base of Fremont's hills, the town is physically divided from other parts of Fremont and neighboring Union City by Mission Boulevard (State Route 238) to the east and north, Alameda Creek to the south, Union Pacific Railroad to the west and southeast, and the Quarry Lakes to the southwest. Old Town Niles features its own library, post office, and silent movie theater as well as a large number of antique and craft stores. The town is named after Addison Niles. Niles is located at .
It lies at an elevation of 112 feet (34 m).
Niles was the home of one of the first West Coast motion picture companies, Essanay Studios. Charlie Chaplin and Broncho Billy Anderson filmed some of their most famous silent movies in Niles. Scenic Niles Canyon stretches between Niles and Sunol. The nonprofit Niles Essanay Film Museum offers both artifacts of Niles' early years, and each Saturday evening, screenings of early-twentieth-century silent films, many of which were filmed locally.
The Niles Canyon Railway runs along Alameda Creek, and carries passengers on weekend excursions, including a holiday 'train of lights' which is extremely popular - tickets for these trains typically sell out by early October. The Niles Canyon Railroad has a small but well-maintained collection of historic rail stock.
Of special note is the annual antique fair and flea market which takes place on the last Sunday in August. The entire town turns out with things to sell as early as Saturday morning, with bargain hunters from the Bay Area and beyond visiting in search of bargains. Niles is also home to the Fremont Gurdwara, which serves the large American Sikh community of Fremont as a religious shrine open to not only the Sikhs but to everyone regardless of their caste and religion. For more information on Niles, please visit The Niles Main Street Association Page.
The place was originally known as Vallejo's Mills for Vallejo Flour Mill built there. Niles was named by the Central Pacific Railroad in 1869 for Judge Addison C. Niles, who later was elected to the California Supreme Court. A post office was opened at Niles in 1873.
Part of historic Niles is Mayhew Spring, also known as Mayhew's Sulphur Spring, which was located 600 feet (180 m) north of the Niles railroad depot. The facility was owned by H.A. Meyhew.
Also part of Niles is Niles Junction on the Western Pacific Railroad, located at m)., and situated at an elevation of 79 feet (24
Irvington is centered on the intersection of Fremont Blvd. and Washington Blvd. Irvington has many antique shops and restaurants, many of which were established in the late 1800s. The neighborhood was named after Irvington, New Jersey, the birthplace of a local railroad executive at the time. The neighborhood is ethnically mixed and is primarily working class. The local high schools are Irvington High School, Robertson High School and John F. Kennedy High School. The Irvington district has two main neighborhoods: Irvington Woods and the Irvington Square. It is located at ; and lies at an elevation of 36 feet (11 m).
Irvington was home to Washington College, the first industrial educational institution in California.
The post office established a post office called Washington Corners at the college in 1870, the name was changed to Irving in 1884, and to Irvington in 1887.
Nestled at the base of Fremont's rolling hills is the Mission San José, one of the oldest of the historic Spanish missions in California, which gave its name to this historic town. The church building that exists today is a re-construction of the original mission church (completed in 1982). One side of the original mission quadrangle remains and houses a museum. Mission San Jose is located at m).; and lies at an elevation of 305 feet (93
Fremont's community college, Ohlone College, is situated one block away from the mission and serves over 12,000 students.
Mission San Jose has the highest concentration of Asian Americans in Fremont - over 50% of the population as of the 2000 census. The local high school is Mission San Jose High School. The median family income for the Mission San Jose area (ZIP code 94539) exceeded $114,595 in 2005. Owing to an influx of professionals and other affluent families seeking access to the top-performing local public schools, Mission San Jose's median home value reached $831,000 in 2006, earning the community a rank of 237 on Forbes magazine's list of the 500 most affluent communities in the United States.
In 2001 an attempt by community organizations in the Mission San Jose district to withdraw from the Fremont Unified School District caused state-wide controversy and led to accusations of racism from both sides. The attempt was prompted by a re-drawing of the school enrollment areas, under which some Mission San Jose residents would send their children to Horner Junior High and Irvington High schools. The controversial effort to secede was dropped later that year. Fremont's public schools continue to rank among the best in California.
A post office was opened at Mission San Jose in 1850.
The Warm Springs district is the southernmost portion of Fremont whose hub is the Warm Springs and Mission Boulevard intersection. It is located at m). Due to its proximity to the center of Silicon Valley, Warm Springs has attracted the headquarters of many high-tech companies including Nielsen Norman Group, Lam Research, Corsair Memory and Lexar of the US as well as foreign high-tech companies such as Elitegroup Computer Systems, and Asus. The district is also home to blue-collar industry. NUMMI, a joint automobile manufacturing plant for General Motors and Toyota is the city's largest employer., and lies at an elevation of 62 feet (19
Warm Springs also serves as commercial center for the mainly residential Mission San Jose district, especially since the construction of Pacific Commons, a large, modern shopping center. The Oakland Athletics are also in talks to move their stadium to this area. The large Asian population in Mission San Jose comes to Warm Springs for authentic Asian stores such as the Lion Supermarket and the Little Taipei shopping center, as well as more traditional supermarkets such as Safeway .
Currently, Warm Springs is included in a study to determine the feasibility of extending the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system further south.
Warm Springs is so named for the springs that are located there. In early times, there was a settlement called Harrisburgh (also, Harrisburg and Peacock's) a short distance east from the small settlement of Warm Springs A post office opened in Harrisburgh in 1865 and changed its name to Warm Springs in 1885. The name Harrisburgh commemorated Abram Harris, who settled there in 1858. The name Peacock's commemorated George W. Peacock, its first postmaster. The post office name changed to Warmsprings in 1895 and reverted to Warm Springs in 1950.