San Jose is the third-largest city in California, and the tenth-largest in the United States. It is the county seat of Santa Clara County. San Jose is located in Silicon Valley, at the south end of San Francisco Bay. Once a small farming city, San Jose became a magnet for suburban newcomers in new housing developments between the 1960s and the 1990s, and is now the largest city in Northern California. The official United States Census Bureau population estimate for July 1, 2006 is 929,936.
Originally known as El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, San Jose was founded on November 29, 1777 as the first town in the Spanish colony of Nueva California, which later became Alta California. The city served as a farming community to support Spanish military installations at San Francisco and Monterey. When California gained statehood in 1850, San Jose served as its first capital. After more than 150 years as an agricultural center, increased demand for housing from soldiers and other veterans returning from World War II, as well as aggressive expansion during the 1950s and 1960s, led San Jose to become a bedroom community for Silicon Valley. Growth in the 1970s attracted more businesses to the city. In the late 1980s, after four decades of heavy development and population growth, San Jose surpassed San Francisco in population to become the third most populous city in California. By the 1990s, San Jose's location within the booming local technology industry earned the city the nickname Capital of Silicon Valley.
On April 3, 1979, the San José City Council adopted San José as the spelling of the city name on the city seal, official stationery, office titles and department names. Also, by city council convention, the spelling of San José is used when the name is stated in both uppercase and lowercase letters, but not when the name is stated only in uppercase letters. The name is still more commonly spelled without the diacritical mark as San Jose. The official name of the city remains The City of San Jose with no diacritical mark, according to the City Charter
Prior to western settlement, the area was inhabited by several groups of Ohlone Native Americans Though visited briefly by the English two centuries prior, the first lasting European presence began with a series of Franciscan missions established from 1769 by Father Junípero Serra. On orders from Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa, Spanish Viceroy of New Spain, San Jose was founded as Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe (in honor of Saint Joseph) on November 29, 1777, to establish a farming community. The town was the first civil settlement in Alta California.
In 1797, the pueblo was moved from its original location, near the present-day intersection of Guadalupe Parkway and Taylor Street, to a location in what is now Downtown San Jose. San Jose came under Mexican rule in 1825 after Mexico broke with the Spanish crown. It then became part of the United States, after it capitulated without bloodshed in 1846 and California was annexed. Soon afterwards, on March 27, 1850, San Jose became the first incorporated city in the state, with Josiah Belden its first mayor. The town was the state's first capital, as well as host of the first and second sessions (1850-1851) of the California Legislature.
Though not impacted as severely as San Francisco, San Jose suffered damage from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Over 100 people died at the Agnews Asylum (later Agnews State Hospital) after its walls and roof collapsed,and the San Jose High School's three-story stone was also destroyed. During World War II many Japanese were sent to internment camps and, following the Los Angeles zoot suit riots, anti-Mexican violence took place in the summer of 1943.
As World War II started, the city's economy shifted from agriculture (the Del Monte cannery was the largest employer) to industrial manufacturing with the contracting of the Food Machinery Corporation (FMC) by the United States War Department to build 1000 Landing Vehicle Tracked. After World War II, FMC (later United Defense) continued as a defense contractor, with the San Jose facilities designing and manufacturing military platforms such as the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and various subsystems of the M1 Abrams. IBM established its West Coast headquarters in San Jose in 1943 and opened a downtown research and development facility in 1952. Both of which would prove to be harbingers for the economy of San Jose, as Reynold Johnson and his team would later invent RAMAC, as well as the disc drive, and the technological side of San Jose's economy grew.
During the 1950s and 1960s, city manager Dutch Hamann led the city in a major growth campaign. The city annexed adjacent areas, such as Alviso and Cambrian Park, providing large areas for suburbs. An anti-growth reaction to the effects of rapid development emerged in the 1970s championed by mayors Norman Mineta and Janet Gray Hayes. Despite establishing an urban growth boundary, development fees, and incorporations of Campbell and Cupertino, development was not slowed, but rather directed into already incorporated areas. San Jose's position in Silicon Valley triggered more economic and population growth, which led to the highest housing costs increase in the nation, 936% between 1976 and 2001.Efforts to increase density continued into 1990s when an update of the 1974 urban plan kept the urban growth boundaries intact and voters rejected a ballot measure to ease development restrictions in the foothills. Sixty percent of the housing built in San Jose since 1980 and over three-quarters of the housing built since 2000 have been multifamily structures, reflecting a political propensity toward Smart Growth planning principles.
The large concentration of high-technology engineering, computer, and microprocessor companies around San Jose has led the area to be known as Silicon Valley. As the largest city in the valley, San Jose has billed itself "the capital of Silicon Valley." Area schools such as San José State University, Santa Clara University, and Stanford University pump thousands of engineering and computer science graduates into the local economy every year.
High economic growth during the tech bubble caused employment, housing prices, and traffic congestion to peak in the late 1990s. As the economy slowed in the early 2000s, employment and traffic congestion diminished somewhat. In the mid-2000s, traffic along major highways again began to worsen as the economy improved. San Jose had 405,000 jobs within its city limits in 2006, and an unemployment rate of 4.6%. In 2000, San Jose residents had the highest median household income of any city with a population over 300,000, and currently has the highest median income of any city with over 225,000 people.
San Jose lists 25 companies with 1,000 employees or more, including the headquarters of Adobe Systems, BEA Systems, Cisco, and eBay, as well as major facilities for Flextronics, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Hitachi and Lockheed Martin. Sizable government employers include the city government, Santa Clara County, and San José State University.
The cost of living in San Jose and the surrounding areas is among the highest in California and the nation.Housing costs are the primary reason for the high cost of living, although the costs in all areas tracked by ACCRA are above the national average. Despite the high cost of living in San Jose, households in city limits have the highest disposable income of any city in the U.S. with over 500,000 residents.
Previously, San Jose was home to the San Jose Rhinos of Roller Hockey International (1994–1997;1999), the San Jose Grizzlies (1993–1995) of the Continental Indoor Soccer League, the San Jose Golddiggers (1987–1989) of Major League Volleyball (women's), the San Jose Jammers (1989–1991) of the Continental Basketball Association, the San Jose Lasers of the American Basketball League, the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (while Oakland Arena was being renovated, 1996–1997), the San Jose CyberRays of the Women's United Soccer Association (2001–2002), and the San Jose Ballers of the International Basketball League, now the Tri City Ballers.
In addition to professional teams, San Jose hosts several sporting events. The SAP Open (formerly the Sybase Open) is an annual men's tennis tournament held at the HP Pavilion. San Jose was the host of ArenaBowl XVI on August 18, 2002 in which the San Jose SaberCats defeated the Arizona Rattlers, 52-14. The San Jose Grand Prix, first held in July 2005, brings Champ Car racing on a temporary road course on Downtown streets. Downtown San Jose hosted the finish for daily stages of the Amgen Tour of California in February of 2006 and 2007, and hosted the individual time trial in 2006. The city is also one of five host cities for the Dew Action Sports Tour season; the San Jose event is held in September.
In college sports, the San José State Spartans are the local college team, however, many residents support the Cal Golden Bears or the Stanford Cardinal; local sports news coverage tends to focus more on these two schools. The Pac-10 Women's Basketball Championship is held at the HP Pavilion at San José as well as either the men's or women's West Regional tournament during the NCAA's March Madness.
In 2004, the San Jose Sports Authority hosted the U.S. Olympic team trials for judo, taekwondo, trampolining and rhythmic gymnastics at the San Jose State Event Center. In August 2004, the Authority hosted the USA All-Star 7-Aside Rugby Championships at Watson Bowl, east of Downtown. San Jose is also home to the St Joseph's Hurling Club.
The San Jose area has a freeway system, including three Interstate highways—I-280, I-880, and I-680—in addition to several state and one US Highway, US 101, CA-85, CA-87, CA-17, and CA-237. It is, however, the largest city in the country not served by a primary, "two-digit" interstate. Additionally, San Jose contains many expressways of the Santa Clara County Expressway System, including the Almaden Expressway, Capitol Expressway, San Tomas Expressway, and Lawrence Expressway.
Rail service to and within San Jose is provided by Amtrak (the Sacramento-San Jose Capitol Corridor and the Seattle-Los Angeles Coast Starlight), Caltrain (commuter rail service between San Francisco and Gilroy), ACE (commuter rail service to Pleasanton and Stockton), and a local light-rail system connecting downtown to Mountain View, Milpitas, Campbell, and Almaden Valley, operated by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). Historic streetcars from the San Jose History Museum operate on the light rail lines in downtown during holidays. Long-term plans call for BART to be expanded into the San Jose area via the East Bay. Diridon Station (formerly Cahill Depot, 65 Cahill Street) is the meeting point of all regional commuter rail service in the area. It was built in 1935 by the Southern Pacific Railroad, and was refurnished in 1994.
VTA also operates many bus routes in San Jose and the surrounding communities, as well as offering paratransit services to local residents. Additionally, the Highway 17 Express bus line connects central San Jose with Santa Cruz.
San Jose is served by Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport, two miles (3 km) northwest of downtown, and by Reid-Hillview Airport of Santa Clara County. San Jose residents also use San Francisco International Airport, a major international hub located 35 miles (56 km) to the northwest, and Oakland International Airport, another medium-sized airport located 35 miles (56 km) to the north.
San Jose is home to several colleges and universities. The largest and most well known is San José State University, which was founded by the California Legislature in 1862 as the California State Normal School and is the original campus of the California State University system. Located in downtown San Jose since 1870, the university's 30,000 students in bachelor's and master's degree programs are primarily commuters from many areas in the South Bay. National Hispanic University, with an enrollment of 600, offers associate and bachelor's degrees and teaching credentials to its students, focusing on Hispanic students. Lincoln Law School of San Jose offers law degrees, catering to working professionals. The San Jose campus of Golden Gate University offers business bachelor and MBA degrees. San Jose's community colleges, San Jose City College and Evergreen Valley College, offer associate degrees, general education units to transfer to CSU and UC schools, and adult and continuing education programs. The West campus of Palmer College of Chiropractic is also located in San Jose.
The University of California, Santa Cruz operates Lick Observatory atop Mount Hamilton. In addition, San Jose residents attend several other area universities, including Santa Clara University, De Anza College in Cupertino, Stanford University in Palo Alto, Carnegie Mellon West in Mountain View and the University of California, Berkeley.
Most San Jose students go to schools in the San Jose Unified School District. Prior to 1954, California law required cities and school districts to have the same boundaries. When San Jose began expanding, rural school districts became one of the major opponents, as their territory and tax base was taken by the city. The city's legislators pushed a bill through the California Legislature, removing that requirement, and ending much of the opposition. The result is a patchwork of local school districts in the areas annexed after 1954. Public education in the city is provided by four high school districts, fourteen elementary districts, and four unified school districts (which provide both elementary and high schools).
In addition to the main San Jose Unified School District, the unified school districts are Milpitas Unified School District, Morgan Hill Unified School District, and Santa Clara Unified School District.
The following districts use the "feeder" system:
Private schools in San Jose are primarily run by religious groups. The Catholic Diocese of San Jose has the second largest student population in the Santa Clara County, behind only SJUSD; the diocese and its parishes operate several schools in the city, including four high schools: Archbishop Mitty High School, Bellarmine College Preparatory, Notre Dame High School, and Presentation High School. There are two Baptist high schools, Liberty Baptist School and White Road Baptist Academy. Valley Christian High School is a Protestant high school in the North Valley neighborhood. There is also the nonsectarian K-12 Harker School.
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