Half Moon Bay is a coastal city in San Mateo County, California, USA. Its population was 11,842 as of the 2000 census. Immediately at the north of Half Moon Bay is the Pillar Point Harbor and the unincorporated community of Princeton-by-the-Sea.
Half Moon Bay is located at approximately 25 miles (40 km) south of San Francisco, 10 miles (16 km) west of San Mateo, and 45 miles (72 km) north of Santa Cruz. Neighboring towns include Montara, Moss Beach, and El Granada to the north and Purissima, San Gregorio, and Pescadero to the south. Primary access is via State Route 1 (the Cabrillo Highway) from the north and south and State Route 92 from the east.,
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.5 square miles (16.8 km²), of which, 6.5 square miles (16.8 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.31%) is water.
It is situated on a bay of the same name. Major local industries include agriculture (houseplants, floriculture, Christmas trees, pumpkins, artichokes), fishing, and tourism. Historically, Half Moon Bay has been known as San Benito and Spanishtown.
A popular spot at Half Moon Bay is the 'Jetty,' or as it is sometimes called, 'The Breakwater.' This is a man-made break with unusual waves shaped by reflections from the breakwater at Pillar Point Harbor. Streams in Half Moon Bay include Frenchmans Creek, Pilarcitos Creek and Naples Creek.
Half Moon Bay usually has mild weather throughout the year. Hot weather is rare; the average annual days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher is only 0.2 days. Cold weather is also rare with an annual average of 2.5 days with lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower. Typical of central California, most of the rain falls from November to April. The normal annual rainfall is 27.96 inches (71.02 cm). Snowfall along the coast in Half Moon Bay has never been measurable; however, snow flurries were observed on December 12, 1972, and February 5, 1976. There is often fog and overcast during the night and morning hours, usually clearing to offshore during the afternoon. Persistent sea breezes help to moderate the climate along the coast; farther from the ocean, in places such as Pilarcitos Creek, days are often warmer and nights cooler than on the coast.
January is the coolest month with an average high of 58.0 °F (14.4 °C) and an average low of 43.4 °F (6.3 °C). September is the warmest month with an average high of 66.5°F (19.2°C) and an average low of 52.0 °F (11.1 °C). The highest temperature ever recorded in Half Moon Bay is 96°F (36 °C), which occurred on May 16, 2008. It reached 94°F (34°C) on August 29, 1968; September 11, 1983; October 4, 1985; June 14, 2000; and May 15, 2008. For many years the record lowest temperature in Half Moon Bay was 27 °F (-2.8 °C); on December 3, 1983, calm conditions, low humidity, and clear skies produced a low of 18 °F (-7.8 °C).
The most rainfall recorded in Half Moon Bay in one month was 15.70 inches (39.88 cm) in February 1998. The heaviest 24 hour rainfall was 5.33 inches (13.5 cm) on January 4, 1982. There is an average of 94.6 days with measurable rainfall.
|Weather data for Half Moon Bay, California|
|Average high °F||58.0||58.8||59.1||60.7||61.3||63.4||64.6||65.6||66.5||65.0||61.6||58.2||61.9|
|Average low °F||43.4||44.3||44.6||44.8||47.5||49.9||52.0||53.2||52.0||48.8||45.7||43.4||47.5|
|Average high °C||14.4||14.9||15.1||15.9||16.2||17.4||18.1||18.7||19.2||18.3||16.4||14.6||16.6|
|Average low °C||6.3||6.8||7.0||7.1||8.6||9.9||11.1||11.8||11.1||9.3||7.6||6.3||8.6|
|Source: "Climatography of the United States," National Climatic Data Center (www.ncdc.noaa.gov)|
As of the census of 2000, there were 11,842 people, 4,004 households, and 2,774 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,829.8 people per square mile (706.7/km²). There were 4,114 housing units at an average density of 635.7/sq mi (245.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.27% White, 3.91% African American, 0.44% Native American, 3.39% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 11.04% from other races, and 3.83% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.23% of the population.
There were 4,004 households out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.3% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.7% were non-families. 23.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.20.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 31.9% from 25 to 44, 28.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 112.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $78,473, and the median income for a family was $92,204. Males had a median income of $60,913 versus $41,265 for females. The per capita income for the city was $37,963. 6.1% of the population and 3.4% of families were below the poverty line. 7.0% of those are under the age of 18 and 6.2% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
In the state legislature Half Moon Bay is located in the 8th Senate District, represented by Democrat Leland Yee, and in the 19th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Jerry Hill. Federally, Half Moon Bay is located in California's 14th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +18 and is represented by Democrat Anna Eshoo.
Half Moon Bay began as a rural agriculture area, primarily used for grazing of cattle, horses, and oxen used by Mission San Francisco de Asis (established in June 1776). In the early nineteenth century land grants were given to Spanish settlers, who established farms and ranches.
The community began to develop in the 1840s as the first real town in San Mateo County. Known originally as San Benito, the town was renamed Spanishtown and attracted a thriving fishing industry in addition to its continued importance to coastal agriculture. Spanishtown became a racially diverse community, settled by Canadians, Chinese, English, Germans, Irish, Mexicans, Italians, Scots, Portuguese, and Pacific Islanders. Regular stagecoach service was established with San Mateo; coaches also served the communities of Purissima, Lobitos, and San Gregorio. Levy Brothers opened a department store in downtown Half Moon Bay. Spanishtown was officially renamed Half Moon Bay in 1874.
The area grew very slowly, even after the Ocean Shore Railroad began serving the community in 1907. The construction of Pedro Mountain Road in 1914 provided better access to San Francisco and probably contributed to the demise of the railroad by 1920. During Prohibition "rum runners" took advantage of dense fog and hidden coves in the area to serve a number of roadhouses and inns, some of which operate today as restaurants. Real growth in the area came after World War II with the construction of numerous subdivisions, eventually leading to the incorporation of Half Moon Bay in 1959. The city preserves a historic downtown district which includes historic buildings dating as far back as 1869.