The city is adjacent to, but does not include San Francisco International Airport (located in an unincorporated area under county jurisdiction) and Golden Gate National Cemetery (owned by the federal government).
San Bruno is located at The city is located between South San Francisco and Millbrae, near San Francisco International Airport and about 12 miles (19 km) south of downtown San Francisco. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.5 square miles (14.1 km²), all of it land. The city spreads from the mostly flat lowlands near San Francisco Bay into the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, which rise to more than 600 feet above sea level (183 m) in Crestmoor and more than 700 feet (213 m) above sea level in Portola Highlands. San Bruno City Hall sits at an official elevation of 41 feet (12.5 m) above sea level..
Portions of Mills Park, Crestmoor, and Rollingwood are very hilly and feature some canyons and ravines. Creeks, many of them now in culverts, flow from springs in the hills toward San Francisco Bay. Just west of Skyline Boulevard is San Andreas Lake, outside the city limits, which gave its name to the famous San Andreas Fault in 1895. The lake is actually one of several reservoirs used by the San Francisco Water Department, providing water to San Francisco and some communities in San Mateo County, including San Bruno west of I-280.
San Bruno enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate characterized by warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters.
Since 1927, the National Weather Service (formerly the U.S. Weather Bureau) has maintained a weather station at the nearby San Francisco International Airport (formerly Mills Field). According to the official records, January is the coldest month with an average high of 55.9°F (13.3°C) and an average low of 42.9°F (6.1°C). Frost occurs occasionally during the winter months; snowfall is very rare, but 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) fell on January 21, 1962 (with as much as four inches (10 cm) reported in Crestmoor). Measurable snowfalls also occurred on December 11, 1932 and February 5, 1976. In recent years, traces of snow have been reported on December 27, 1988; January 8, 1989; and February 24, 1996.
Freezing temperatures occur on an average of only 1.3 days annually. The coldest winter temperature on record was 20°F (-6.7°C) on December 11, 1932, the same day 1.0 inch (2.5 cm) of snow fell. A week-long cold spell in December 1972 caused hard freezes throughout the area, damaging trees and plants and causing some water pipes to break; the temperature dropped as low as 24°F (-4.4°C) at the airport and 20°F (-6.7°C) in Crestmoor, which also reported snow flurries several times that week.
September is the warmest month with an average high of 72.7°F (22.6°C) and an average low of 55.1°F (12.8°C). Temperatures exceed 90°F (32°C) on an average of 4.0 days annually. Fog and low overcast are common during the night and morning hours in the summer months, which are generally very dry except for occasional light drizzle from the fog. On rare occasions moisture moving up from tropical storms has produced thunderstorms or showers in the summer. Gusty westerly winds are also common in the afternoon during the summer. The highest summer temperature was 106°F (41.1°C) on June 14, 1961, breaking a record of 104°F (40°C) set in June 1960. A high of 105°F (40.6°C) was recorded on July 17, 1988, and a high of 103°F (39.4°C) was recorded on September 14, 1971. Until August 1, 1993, it had never reached 100°F (37.8°C) in August, which is one of the foggier months in the area. Due to thermal inversions, summer temperatures in the higher hills are often much higher than at the airport.
Thunderstorms occur several times a year, mostly during the winter months, but are usually quite brief. Total annual precipitation, most of which falls from November to April, ranges from 20.11 inches (51.08 cm) at the nearby National Weather Service station at San Francisco International Airport to over 32 inches (81.3 cm) in the higher hills (according to observations by Gayle Rucker for the Army Corps of Engineers and Robert E. Nylund for the U.S. Geological Survey from 1962 to 1985). Nylund also took temperature observations for several years and published weekly weather reports in the San Bruno Herald from 1966 to 1969, which were included in official reports for the Golden Gate National Cemetery. The annual average days with measurable precipitation is 65.2 days. The most rainfall in a month at the airport was 13.64 inches (34.65 cm) in February 1998, and the most rainfall in 24 hours was 5.59 inches (14.2 cm) on January 4, 1982. Nylund reported 6.09 inches (15.5 cm) in Crestmoor during a 24-hour period in January 1967. Winter storms are often accompanied by strong southerly winds.
|Weather data for San Bruno, California|
|Average high °F||55.9||59.3||61.2||64.3||66.8||69.9||71.1||71.7||72.7||69.7||62.0||56.1||65.1|
|Average low °F||42.9||45.5||46.8||48.1||50.5||52.9||54.5||55.5||55.1||52.4||47.5||43.0||49.6|
|Average high °C||13.3||15.1||16.2||17.9||19.3||21.1||21.7||22.1||22.6||20.9||16.7||12.4||18.4|
|Average low °C||6.1||7.5||8.2||8.9||10.3||11.6||12.5||13.1||12.8||11.3||8.6||6.1||9.8|
|Source: "Climatography of the United States," National Climatic Data Center (www.ncdc.noaa.gov)|
As of the census of 2008, there were 42,401 people, 15,486 households, and 10,561 families residing in the city. The population density was 8,353.6 people per square mile (3,840.3/km²). There were 16,403 housing units at an average density of 3,742.6/sq mi (2,059.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 36.9% White, 2.8% African American, 1.6% Native American, 24.2% Asian, 2.88% Pacific Islander, 14.1% from other races, and 4.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 44.12% of the population.
There were 15,486 households out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.72 and the average family size was 4.29.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 35.5% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 97.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $60,081, and the median income for a family was $69,251 (these figures had risen to $71,869 and $80,401 respectively as of a 2008 estimate). Males had a median income of $47,843 versus $39,851 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,360. About 5.1% of families and 7.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.8% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature San Bruno is located in the 8th Senate District, represented by Democrat Leland Yee, and in the 19th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Gene Mullin. Federally, San Bruno is located in California's 12th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +22 and is represented by Democrat Jackie Speier.
San Bruno City Park, bordered by Crystal Springs Avenue and El Crystal School, is the major municipal park. It offers shaded walkways and hiking trials, picnic tables, a playground, a small ballpark, a municipal swimming pool, and a recreation center that includes an indoor basketball court once used for training by the San Francisco Warriors basketball team. There are smaller municipal parks in other parts of the city.
Junipero Serra County Park, also accessible from Crystal Springs Avenue, is a 100-acre (.405 square kilometer) park owned by San Mateo County and includes numerous hiking trails, as well as picnic shelters, barbecue pits, and picnic tables. The wilderness area was named for Junipero Serra, a Franciscan friar who founded many of the Spanish missions in California during the eighteenth century; Serra regularly passed through what is now San Bruno whenever he visited the mission at San Francisco. The park is administered by the San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Department, which charges a five dollar entry fee for vehicles.
San Bruno was the location of the Ohlone village Urebure. It was explored in November 1769 by a Spanish expedition led by Gaspar de Portola. Later, more extensive explorations by Bruno Hecate resulted in the naming of San Bruno Creek after St. Bruno of Cologne, the founder of a medieval monastic order. This creek apparently later gave its name to the community.
With the establishment of the San Francisco de Asis (St. Francis of Assisi) mission, much of the area became pasture for the mission livestock. Following the decline of the missions, the area became part of Rancho Buri Buri granted to José de la Cruz Sánchez, the eleventh Alcalde (mayor) of San Francisco. Dairy farms later became common in much of the area.
The city began as a stop on the Butterfield stagecoach route, utilizing an inn built in 1849, which was initially called Thorp's Place and later Uncle Tom's Cabin. The inn was demolished in 1949 and replaced with a Lucky's supermarket (now a Walgreens drugstore, on the corner of El Camino Real and Crystal Springs Avenue). Gus Jenevein (for whom Jenevein Avenue was named) built another landmark called San Bruno House, which burned several times and was not rebuilt after the third fire. A few homes and farms were developed in the area. The railroad between San Francisco and San Jose built a train station at San Bruno in the 1860s. The railroad eventually became part of the Southern Pacific system, which ran both passenger and freight trains on the line. Today it is known as Caltrain.
Real growth and development began after the 1906 earthquake and fire. The city's first public school was completed in late 1906. With the construction of Edgemont Elementary School in 1910, all classes were moved there and the original school building became a public facility named Green Hall. Another school, North Brae Elementary School, opened in 1912; among its earliest students was future actor Eddie "Rochester" Anderson. Paving of California's first state highway, El Camino Real, began in 1912 in front of San Bruno's Uncle Tom's Cabin; the highway is now designated as State Route 82. The adjoining San Francisco International Airport opened in early 1927 and included a Weather Bureau station, now operated by the National Weather Service. Charles Lindbergh was an early visitor to the airport, during his national tour following his successful transatlantic flight; unfortunately, his airplane (Spirit of St. Louis) became stuck in the mud!
On January 18, 1911, aviator Eugene Ely made naval aviation history when he took off from Tanforan and made a successful landing on the armored cruiser USS Pennsylvania anchored in San Francisco Bay. This marked the first successful shipboard aircraft landing.
Following a campaign by the local newspaper, the San Bruno Herald, the community was incorporated in 1914, mainly so the streets could be paved. Green Hall became the first city hall. San Bruno grew rapidly, passing 1,500 residents by 1920 and 3,610 residents in 1930. Additional schools, including New Edgemont (later renamed Decima Allen) and Crystal Springs, were built during the 1940s.
In 1930, the El Camino Theater opened at the corner of El Camino Real and San Mateo Avenue. The popular theater, wired for sound, replaced the earlier Melody Theater, which had presented silent films. The El Camino showed double features, cartoons, short comedies, adventure serials, and newsreels during its history, including Saturday matinees and summer Wednesday matinees for children. Normally, films changed every week, but in 1958 Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments ran for two weeks to packed audiences. The theater closed in the early 1970s when a four-screen movie theater opened in the Tanforan shopping center. The El Camino Theater building was remodeled and currently houses several businesses. A larger, multi-screen complex was later built north of Tanforan, but it has been replaced by an even larger complex in Tanforan.
Following World War II, there was continued growth and new subdivisions in Mills Park, Rollingwood, and Crestmoor. In 1947, the Bayshore Freeway (U.S. Route 101) was opened from South San Francisco to Redwood City and included an interchange at San Bruno.
Prior to 1950, San Bruno's high school students attended San Mateo High School (opened in 1902) and then Burlingame High School (opened in 1923), traveling to and from school on the street cars that ran next to the Southern Pacific railroad. Finally, on September 11, 1950, Capuchino High School opened in San Bruno. After years of using Green Hall as a multi-purpose building, the city dedicated a library and city hall in 1954. That same year saw the dedication of the current central terminal at the airport, part of a major expansion program. A central fire station was later built next to the city hall; an additional station was built in Crestmoor.
The city's most famous native, actress and businesswoman Suzanne Somers was born in San Bruno in 1946. She attended local schools and graduated from Capuchino High School in June 1964. During her senior year at Capuchino, Suzanne had a featured role (as Adelaide) in the school's 1964 production of the musical comedy Guys and Dolls.
In 1953, San Bruno annexed the adjoining unincorporated community of Lomita Park, bounded by San Felipe Avenue, El Camino Real, San Juan Avenue, and the railroad tracks. Until the annexation, Lomita Park had its own Southern Pacific train station and some community services.
Parkside Intermediate School was opened in 1954, followed by additional elementary schools: Rollingwood, Crestmoor, John Muir, and Carl Sandburg. A second intermediate school, Engvall, was built in Crestmoor Canyon, only to be closed, along with North Brae and Sandburg, when enrollment fell. These were all part of the San Bruno Park School District. Students in northwestern San Bruno were included in the Laguna Salada district. The private school, Highlands Christian School, is also located in San Bruno. Founded in 1966, Highlands Christian School is an interdenominational school, a ministry of Church of the Highlands, and teaches from toddlers to college preparatory school.
San Bruno considered new annexations in the mid-1950s that would have extended the city limits to the Pacific Ocean. The unincorporated communities west of San Bruno decided they did not want to become part of San Bruno, so they incorporated in 1957 as the city of Pacifica.
The March 22, 1957, earthquake (5.3 magnitude) caused minor damage throughout the city, especially in some of the schools, where windows were broken and plaster cracked. A large chunk of plasterboard fell on the table where school district administrators were meeting; fortunately, no one was injured. Numerous cans and bottles were knocked off shelves at local stores, some of which were closed temporarily. Capuchino High School closed for the day following the quake, while other schools evacuated students to open areas. Many residents reported damage to crockery.
Eitel-McCullough operated a large manufacturing plant in San Bruno for many years. William Eitel and Jack McCullogh formed the company in 1934. It specialized in the manufacture of power grid tubes. Known as Eimac, the company also made vacuum tubes used in communication equipment, as well as other products for military and commercial applications. Due to its work on broadcast transmission parts, Eimac operated an FM radio station, KSBR, which transmitted on 100.5 megahertz. The station began operations in 1947 and, that same year, was one of only two in the nation to test Rangertone tape recorders. (The other station was WASH in Washington, D.C.) The recorders were based on the German Magnetophon. In need of more space, the company moved to San Carlos in 1959. Eimac's San Carlos plant was dedicated on April 16, 1959. In 1965, Eimac merged with Varian Associates and became known as the Eimac Division. In 1995, Leonard Green & Partners purchased the entire Electron Devices Business from Varian and formed Communications & Power Industries.
A major landmark in San Bruno for many years was the Tanforan Racetrack, which opened in 1899. Such famous racehorses as Seabiscuit and Citation raced there. Famed Hollywood director Frank Capra filmed scenes for two of his films, Broadway Bill and Riding High, at the racetrack. For six months in 1942, it served as a one of the main Bay Area centers for those forced into Japanese American internment, processing about 7800 Japanese, usually for about four-five months before they were sent out to larger facilities in the desert of Utah and Manzanar in the Owens Valley.The track closed in 1964 and was about to be demolished when it was destroyed in a major fire on July 31, 1964. The city's only shopping mall was later built on the site; surrounding city streets were named for some of the racehorses who appeared at Tanforan.
During the late 1960s, the I-280 (Junipero Serra Freeway), followed by I-380, was built through San Bruno. The San Bruno Planning Commission (then chaired by Peter Weinberger, brother of Caspar Weinberger) reviewed and approved plans for two major shopping centers, Bayhill (located on the old U.S. Navy property between San Bruno Avenue and Sneath Lane) and Tanforan. With final approval by the San Bruno City Council, construction proceeded on these major retail developments. Prior to that most of the city's stores were located on San Mateo Avenue and El Camino Real.
San Bruno became one of only two cities in the Bay Area that manages its own cable TV and internet system. San Bruno Cable
The October 17, 1989, Loma Prieta earthquake (6.9 magnitude) caused some damage in the city. The U.S. Postal Service's Western Regional headquarters, then the tallest building in San Bruno, had to be demolished due to severe structural damage. The world headquarters for The Gap clothing company is now the tallest building in the city. For more details, see Loma Prieta earthquake.
The San Bruno Beacon, started publishing news and commentary online in 1995. A few years later, The San Bruno Herald ceased publication as a weekly newspaper.
San Bruno acquired its own BART station in 2003, when the transit system was extended to Millbrae and the San Francisco International Airport. The city has hosted offices for many businesses through out the years, including The Gap. In 2007, Youtube had moved its headquarters from San Mateo, California to San Bruno, on Cherry Avenue next to Interstate 380.
During World War II the United States Navy established a base on what was a dairy opened by Richard Sneath. There it operated a Classification Center and a Naval Advance Base Personnel Depot. After the war it continued operation, and became host to the consolidated Western Division of Naval Facilities supporting the multiple navy bases that were operating in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Due to the 1993 BRAC and its closure of neighboring bases although recommended for realignment, the Navy decided to close the facility, carrying through with its decision in October 1994.
The Federal Government retained part of the former Naval Facility. The Pacific Region (San Francisco) facility of the National Archives and Records Administration was established. One of the buildings became a Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center, which hosts the Headquarters Company of the 23rd Marine Regiment, amongst other units. The rest of the facility was sold to a private developer who have since built multi-story apartment buildings on the former base. The 20 acre area of the former U.S. Navy complex is bounded by San Bruno Avenue, El Camino Real, Sneath Lane, and I-280.