Millbrae is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States, just west of San Francisco Bay, with San Bruno on the north and Burlingame on the south. The population was 20,718 at the 2000 census.
Darius Ogden Mills purchased land in the 1860s from the Sanchez family to build a country estate. The former Mills estate was bordered by what Skyline Boulevard, Bayshore Highway U.S. Route 101, Millbrae Avenue and Trousdale Drive. The estate became known as "Millbrae" from "Mills" and the Scottish word "brae," which means "rolling hills." Children swam in three lakes situated on the estate and sold acacias to tourists before the Mills family began to sell the land for development. The estate's spectacular mansion burned down during a realistic "fire drill" in 1954.
Millbrae used a private patrol financed by fees from merchants and residents until 1941, when the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors created the Millbrae Police District. Records of the Internal Revenue Service document the licensing of several Millbrae bars for gambling; only after incorporation were gambling laws enforced in Millbrae and not until the 1950s was gambling defeated. In 1931, citizens organized a volunteer fire department, which remained entirely volunteer until 1938. The police and fire departments were housed together for several years at Hillcrest Boulevard and El Camino Real before the vital services moved to their permanent location in Millbrae's civic center, a few blocks west of El Camino.
For many Millbrae residents, the original Sixteen Mile House was a direct link to Millbrae's early days. The rest stop was built in 1872 by members of the Sanchez family, the original landholders of the Rancho Buri Buri, which at one time comprised parts of present-day Millbrae and Burlingame. The building faced demolition but was moved to its current location on Broadway and serves today as a tavern and restaurant.
Spurred largely by the desire to secure the Mills' estate for residential use and by the efforts of Millbrae's weekly newspaper, the Millbrae Sun, residents heatedly discussed incorporation for over a decade before voting to incorporate. Finally, on January 14, 1948, residents of Millbrae traveled to Sacramento to present their new City's charter. W.F. Leutenegger was elected mayor to represent Millbrae's nearly 8,000 residents. That year, Green Hills Elementary School opened as Millbrae's first new school in over 25 years, in anticipation of the educational needs of the post-war "baby boom" children. The new City's chief industries were agriculture, floriculture, dairy, and porcelain manufacturing. Many families that built the new City have never left.
In the 1950s, Millbrae residents united to resist efforts to divide the City by the planned Junipero Serra Freeway (I-280), which was later routed parallel to Junipero Serra Boulevard, then through a canyon in San Bruno up to Skyline Boulevard. An unsuccessful effort to save the original Sixteen Mile House in the 1970s led to the birth of the Millbrae Historical Society and eventual successful crusades to save the Millbrae train station and the historic building that has become the Millbrae Historical Museum. Such challenges, though inevitable, have only strengthened Millbrae's resolve to preserve the City's unique character and rich history.
Millbrae is also the home of Green Hills Country Club which was designed by famed golf course architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie (who designed other noteworthy courses such as Cypress Point, Augusta National, Royal Melbourne, Pasatiempo, and many more). The course was originally known as the Union League Golf Club of San Francisco (1930 to 1933) and Millbrae Country Club (1933 to 1945). The course provides a green belt in the center of the city that is the home of many animals, such as the red-tail fox, that otherwise would not be able to survive in the urban setting. It also may be the only area of the city where natural creeks still flow overground.
Transportation has shaped Millbrae's growth. From the turn of the century, the #40 "interurban" streetcar traveled through Millbrae, linking the City with San Francisco and San Mateo. Millbrae's high school children rode the streetcar to attend Burlingame High School until Capuchino High School opened on September 11, 1950. The streetcar line was dismantled just after Millbrae's incorporation, leaving the Southern Pacific Railroad as the only railway linking Millbrae with surrounding areas. The Sixteen Mile House marked Millbrae along the railroad route, located where Millbrae's first Corner Frame Shop stands today. In the 1940s, as long-time residents vividly recall, a hilltop literally was shaved away to produce landfill for expanding San Francisco Airport, which received an "international" designation in 1954 with the completion of the Central Terminal.
Today, Millbrae boasts over 21,000 residents. Residents are employed in various industries throughout the Bay Area and children attend one of five public elementary schools, or private schools. The City's senior citizen community recently dedicated a new senior wing within the Millbrae community center. Millbrae has Sister City relationships with La Serena, Chile, and Mosta, Malta.
According to the National Weather Service, Millbrae enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate featuring cool, wet winters and dry, mild summers. Night and morning fog are common during the summer months. Frequent, westerly sea breezes keep temperatures relatively mild throughout the year with highs in the middle fifties (~15°C) and lows in the lower forties (~8°C) during the winter and highs in the lower seventies (~22°C) and lows in the lower fifties (~13°C) during the summer. Annual precipitation ranges from 20 inches (51 cm) in the lowlands to 32 inches (81 cm) in the hills near Skyline Boulevard and I-280; most of the rain falls from November through April. Snow is very rare; the last measurable occurrence was on February 5, 1976. The nearest National Weather Service station is at the nearby San Francisco International Airport, where records go back to early 1927. For more details, see San Bruno, California.
A wetland area in the eastern part of the city adjacent to U.S. highway 101 is habitat to the endangered species San Francisco garter snake, a species endemic to San Mateo County. At the western edge of the city the San Andreas Lake and the San Andreas Fault may be found.
According to the CA Department of Finance, in 2008 there were 21,387 people in Millbrae. As of the census of 2000, there were 20,718 people, 7,956 households, and 5,513 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,446.4 people per square mile (2,492.0/km²). There were 8,113 housing units at an average density of 2,524.4/sq mi (975.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 63.04% White, 27.28% Asian, 11.47% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 1.15% Pacific Islander, 0.80% African American, 0.23% Native American, 3.60% from other races, and 3.91% from two or more races.
There were 7,956 households out of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.7% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the city the population was spread out with 20.6% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 20.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.0 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $70,712, and the median income for a family was $85,419. Males had a median income of $51,867 versus $40,249 for females. The per capita income for the city was $33,193. About 2.2% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.2% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Millbrae is located in the 8th Senate District, represented by Democrat Leland Yee, and in the 19th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Gene Mullin. Federally, Millbrae is located in California's 12th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +22 and is currently held by Jackie Speier, who won in a special election to fill the vacancy left by Tom Lantos upon his death.
Millbrae has a reputation for having some of the best schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. Parents are actively involved in their children's scores and school functions.
Millbrae School District oversees four public elementary schools (Meadows, Green Hills, Spring Valley, and Lomita Park) and one middle school (Taylor Middle School, named after the family that owned land along Taylor Boulevard prior to the city being laid out).
Millbrae has one private school at Saint Dunstan's, a Catholic church. The school provides education for grades K-8.
Millbrae has one public high school, Mills High School, which is part of the San Mateo Union High School District. Mills High School is considered to be one of the top high schools in San Mateo County. Although surrounded by land that is part of Millbrae, nearby Capuchino High School is located in San Bruno. Mills High School is situated about a block away from the southern border of Millbrae with Burlingame.
Millbrae, is located between San Francisco and San Jose. U.S. Route 101 and Interstate 280 run along the eastern and western boundaries of the city, respectively. San Francisco International Airport is adjacent to the city.
The Millbrae Intermodal Station serves as a major transit hub for the Peninsula, connecting the BART, Caltrain, and SamTrans networks. It is the largest intermodal station west of the Mississippi river, in terms of construction size and land usage. The BART Dublin/Pleasanton - SFO/Millbrae Line and Richmond – Millbrae line serve the Millbrae station. SamTrans' Route 342 connects the rest of Millbrae to the station. A SamTrans local line 43 also serves Millbrae.
Millbrae's economy is driven mainly by its long strips of hotels. Because of it close proximity to San Francisco International Airport and to the city of San Francisco many tourists opt to stay in Millbrae. Its downtown is mainly along El Camino Real and Broadway Avenue. There are many small shops, restaurants, a Safeway, Walgreens, Trader Joe's, The Children's Place, Dress Barn, and Orchard Supply Hardware or OSH.
Since the inception of the new BART terminal and SFO International terminal, businesses have seen the potential for a booming market and have responded by opening restaurants and stores. Places such as In-N-Out, Panera Bread, and L&L's are among the few chain stores that have made their home in Millbrae. The growing Asian population in Millbrae has also spurred the already exceptional Asian cuisine to compete and elevate the standard of Chinese fare. Tapioca places, such as Quickly and Tapioca Express, as well as openings of many late-night Asian cafes, appeal to the younger crowd.