Spreckels is a census-designated place (CDP) located in the Salinas Valley of Monterey County, California, United States. Spreckels is located 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Salinas, at an elevation of 62 feet (19 m). The population was 485 at the 2000 census.
Spreckels is one of the best-preserved company towns in the United States. It was built to house workers for the Spreckels Sugar Company plant which operated there from 1899 until 1982, named after its founder "Sugar King" Claus Spreckels. When it opened, the Spreckels plant was the world's largest sugar beet factory, each day consuming 13 million gallons of water (much of it pumped from wells) to process 3000 tons of beets.
One of the many remarkable aspects of this town are its abrupt boundaries, surrounded on all sides by rich agricultural fields that begin immediately where town's streets and lots end. This produces an experience akin to being on a small island in a sea of green vegetation.
Spreckels is associated with the writer John Steinbeck, who lived and worked there for a time, and used it as a setting in Tortilla Flat. (Spreckels was used as a location for the 1955 Steinbeck movie East of Eden.)
In 2004 controversy erupted in Spreckels when the Tanimura family, which owns the fields around the town, declared that a 1907 plat in its possession gave it the right to build 73 housing units on its land—which would increase the town's size by 40%. A legal battle over the status and definition of "antiquated maps" has ensued. The building of the houses has begun; sales are slow because of the housing market decline.
Spreckels is located at It is about 4 miles south of Salinas, California..
The Spreckels post office opened in 1898. The name honors Claus Spreckels, who built a sugar mill at the site.
As of the census of 2000, there were 485 people, 171 households, and 127 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 3,629.3 people per square mile (1,440.5/km²). There were 176 housing units at an average density of 1,317.0/sq mi (522.7/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 86.39% White, 0.62% African American, 1.65% Native American, 2.68% Asian, 6.80% from other races, and 1.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 27.63% of the population.
There were 171 households out of which 40.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.7% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.7% were non-families. 17.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.20.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 29.1% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 25.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 94.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.3 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $58,009, and the median income for a family was $51,250. Males had a median income of $22,250 versus $24,750 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $19,752. None of the families and 1.1% of the population were living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and none of those over 64.
The elementary school is the only school in town.