Gilroy is a city in Northern California's Santa Clara County, south of Morgan Hill and north of San Benito County. Gilroy is the southernmost city in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a population of 59,520 as of the 2020 Census.

City of Gilroy
Old City Hall in Downtown Gilroy
Old City Hall in Downtown Gilroy
Flag of Gilroy
Official seal of Gilroy
"Garlic Capital of the World"
Location of Gilroy in Santa Clara County, California
Location of Gilroy in Santa Clara County, California
Gilroy is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 37°0′43″N 121°34′48″W / 37.01194°N 121.58000°W / 37.01194; -121.58000
CountryUnited States
CountySanta Clara
CSASan Jose-San Francisco-Oakland
MetroSan Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara
IncorporatedMarch 12, 1870[1]
Named forJohn Gilroy
 • MayorMarie Blankley[2]
 • City AdministratorJimmy Forbis[3]
 • City16.52 sq mi (42.78 km2)
 • Land16.51 sq mi (42.75 km2)
 • Water0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)  0.06%
 • Metro
2,695 sq mi (6,979 km2)
Elevation200 ft (61 m)
 • City59,520
 • Estimate 
 • Density3,576.18/sq mi (1,380.75/km2)
 • Metro
 • Metro density680/sq mi (260/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
95020, 95021
Area code408/669
FIPS code06-29504
GNIS feature IDs277523, 2410591

Gilroy's origins lie in the village of San Ysidro that grew in the early 19th century out of Rancho San Ysidro, granted to Californio ranchero Ygnacio Ortega in 1809.[8] Following Ygnacio's death in 1833, his daughter Clara Ortega de Gilroy and son-in-law John Gilroy inherited the largest portion of the rancho and began developing the settlement.[8] When the town was incorporated in 1868, it was renamed in honor of John Gilroy, a Scotsman who had emigrated to California in 1814, naturalized as a Mexican citizen, adopted the Spanish language, and converted to Catholicism, taking the name of Juan Bautista Gilroy.[8]

Gilroy is known for its garlic crop and the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, featuring various foods containing garlic. These led to the city being nicknamed the Garlic Capital of the World. It is also known for boutique wine production, as part of the Santa Clara Valley AVA, mostly consisting of family vineyards around the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west.[9]

History edit

Spanish era edit

Spanish explorers led by Juan Bautista de Anza first passed through the Santa Clara Valley area in 1776, and in 1797 Mission San Juan Bautista was established near the Pajaro River. In 1809, Ygnacio Ortega was granted the 13,066-acre (5,288 ha) Spanish land concession Rancho San Ysidro. The village of San Ysidro grew nearby, at the foot of Pacheco Pass which linked the El Camino Real and the Santa Clara Valley with the San Joaquin Valley. California's main exports at this time were hides and tallow, of which thousands of barrels were produced and shipped to the rest of New Spain. Trade and diplomatic intercourse with foreigners was strictly forbidden by the royal government but was quietly carried on by Californians desperate for luxury goods.

Mexican era edit

During the War of 1812, the armed merchantman Isaac Todd[10] was sent by the North West Company to seize Fort Astoria, an American trading post at the mouth of the Columbia River. The ship, with a Royal Navy escort, departed from Portsmouth, England, made its way around Cape Horn and proceeded up the Pacific coast of the Americas, stopping at Spanish ports for supplies along the way. In January 1814, having fallen behind its escort, the Isaac Todd arrived at Monterey, California, the Spanish colonial capital of Alta California. During the visit, ordinary seaman John Gilroy (a Scotsman who had changed his name from John Cameron when he went to sea to avoid recognition) either (depending on the historical source) jumped ship[11] or was left ashore to recover from scurvy.[12]

John Gilroy (1794–1869), also known as Juan Bautista Gilroy,[13] spent the next few years moving around among the missions, pueblos and ranchos, plying his trade as a cooper (barrel maker). At first, by his own account in an 1856 letter to Thomas O. Larkin, Gilroy was one of only two English-speakers resident in Alta California.[14] Eventually, he found his way to Rancho San Ysidro, converted to Roman Catholicism and became the first naturalized English-speaking settler in Alta California. In 1821, the same year Mexico won its independence from Spain, Gilroy married a daughter of his employer, ranchero Ygnacio Ortega. Upon Ygnacio's death in 1833, the rancho was divided among his three children—including Gilroy's wife Maria Clara. In 1867, under U.S. property law, the Rancho San Ysidro (Gilroy) was patented to John Gilroy.

The settlement now known as "Old Gilroy" grew up around Gilroy's rancho complex and, after the end of the Mexican–American War in 1848, Gilroy served as alcalde of the village.[15] It served as a stagecoach station of the Butterfield Overland Mail and other stage lines in the late 19th century.

American era edit

The historic Wheeler Hospital, built 1929 in a Mission Revival style.

Following the U.S. Conquest of California and the discovery of gold in the Sierra Nevada in 1848, the trickle of immigrants from the eastern states and abroad became a flood. As many of the earlier Mexican and Californio landowners sold off their land, lost it to squatters, or were dispossessed through title hearings, the area around San Ysidro became known as Pleasant Valley. On March 12, 1870, it was officially incorporated by the state legislature as the town of Gilroy (John Gilroy had died in 1869).[16] By then the town center had been relocated west of the El Camino Real (Old Gilroy is today a sparsely populated agricultural area).

Cattle ranching and timber from the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains were important to the economy for some time but, as in the rest of the valley, agriculture was the town's greatest source of income. During the 1920s, Kiyoshi “Jimmy” Hirasaki began growing garlic commercially in the Gilroy area.[17] Referred to as the "Garlic King", Hirasaki continued to farm garlic into the 1950s.[18][17] In 1979, the Gilroy Garlic Festival was launched. Farming remains significant, but in the 1970s the city began evolving into a bedroom community for Silicon Valley to the north.

There are a number of extant historical buildings dating from the mid-19th century. Built in 1857, the Christian Church at 160 Fifth Street is the oldest wood-framed church in continuous use in Santa Clara County. Blacksmith George Eustice's house at 213 Fifth Street was constructed in 1869; Eustice was an American Civil War veteran who fought at Gettysburg.[19] Samuel Moore was a long-time Gilroy postmaster, whose home was built in the 1870s at 7151 Church Street.[20]

Nearby in the foothills of the Diablo Range to the northeast is the historic resort site Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs, first developed in the 1870s (and now closed to the public).[21] In 1905, the Old City Hall was built in downtown Gilroy; in 1975, it was designated on the list of National Register of Historic Places.[22]

2019 Festival shooting edit

On July 28, 2019, a mass shooting occurred at the 2019 Gilroy Garlic Festival. Three people were killed by the gunman and at least 12 others were injured. The suspect, Santino William Legan, committed suicide after being shot by police.[23][24]

Geography edit

Waterfalls at Gilroy Gardens

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.2 square miles (42 km2), of which 16.1 square miles (42 km2) is land and 0.06% is water.

Primary contributors to environmental noise include U.S. Route 101, El Camino Real, Leavesley Road and other major arterials. The number of people exposed to sound levels above 60 CNEL is approximately 4,000.[25]

Climate edit

The Fifth Street Coffee Shop in Gilroy's downtown area

Due to the moderating influence of the Pacific Ocean, Gilroy experiences a warm Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb, bordering on Csa). Temperatures range from an average midsummer maximum of 90.1 °F (32.3 °C) to an average midwinter low of 33.6 °F (0.9 °C). Average annual precipitation is 18.9 inches (480 mm), and the summer months are typically dry. Snowfall is rare; occurring approximately once every 20 years, it is light and short-lived. Summer months are characterized by coastal fog which arrives from the ocean around 10 p.m. and dissipates the next morning by 10 a.m. During summer afternoons, the maritime influence lowers and, as a result, Gilroy is much more prone to heat waves than nearby geographical areas to its north and west. Winter months have many sunny and partly cloudy days, with frequent breaks between rainstorms. The local terrain is not conducive to tornadoes, severe windstorms, or thunderstorms. The local climate supports chaparral and grassland biomes, with stands of live oak at higher elevations.

Average temperatures in December, the coldest month, are a maximum of 60.4 °F (15.8 °C) and a minimum of 37.0 °F (2.8 °C). Average temperatures in August, the hottest month, are a maximum of 87.2 °F (30.7 °C) and a minimum of 54.4 °F (12.4 °C). There are an average of 7.7 days with highs of 100 °F (38 °C) or higher and an average of 16.1 days with lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower. The record high temperature of 115 °F (46 °C) occurred on July 15, 1972. The record low temperature of 17 °F (−8 °C) occurred on December 22–24, 1990.[26]

There are an average of 55.0 days with measurable precipitation. The wettest year was 1983 with 37.76 inches (959 mm) and the driest year was 1977 and 2007, both with 11.17 inches (284 mm). The most rainfall in one month was 14.64 inches (372 mm) in January 1914.[26]

Climate data for Gilroy, California (1991–2020 averages, extremes 1957–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Mean maximum °F (°C) 71.2
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 60.7
Daily mean °F (°C) 49.4
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 38.1
Mean minimum °F (°C) 28.4
Record low °F (°C) 18
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.55
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.8 9.8 7.8 5.1 2.5 0.6 0.3 0.3 0.6 2.8 6.1 9.3 55.0
Source: NOAA[26][27]

Demographics edit

The historic Spanish Colonial Revival style St. Mary Catholic Church
Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[28]

2000 edit

The Elks Building, built 1931

As of the United States 2000 Census,[29] there were 41,464 people, 11,869 households, and 9,590 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,615.2 inhabitants per square mile (1,009.7/km2). There were 12,152 housing units at an average density of 766.5 per square mile (295.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 58.9% White, 1.8% African American, 1.6% Native American, 4.4% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 27.7% from other races, and 5.4% from two or more races. 53.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 11,869 households, out of which 47.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.8% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.2% were non-families. 14.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.46 and the average family size was 3.74.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 32.6% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 32.7% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 6.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $66,401, and the median income for a family was $80,371. Males had a median income of $45,759 versus $34,710 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,071. About 7.3% of families and 10.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.8% of those under 18 and 6.5% of those 65 and older.

2010 edit

The 2010 United States Census[30] reported that Gilroy had a population of 48,821. The population density was 3,021.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,166.7/km2). The racial makeup of Gilroy was 28,674 (58.7%) White, 942 (1.9%) African American, 831 (1.7%) Native American, 3,448 (7.1%) Asian, 111 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 12,322 (25.2%) from other races, and 2,493 (5.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28,214 persons (57.8%).

The Census reported that 48,015 people (98.3% of the population) lived in households, 642 (1.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 164 (0.3%) were institutionalized.

There were 14,175 households, out of which 7,111 (50.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 8,160 (57.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 2,212 (15.6%) had a female householder with no husband present, 964 (6.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 996 (7.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 102 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 2,136 households (15.1%) were made up of individuals, and 908 (6.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.39. There were 11,336 families (80.0% of all households); the average family size was 3.69.

The population was spread out, with 14,983 people (30.7%) under the age of 18, 4,514 people (9.2%) aged 18 to 24, 14,104 people (28.9%) aged 25 to 44, 11,122 people (22.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 4,098 people (8.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.4 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.1 males.

There were 14,854 housing units at an average density of 919.4 per square mile (355.0/km2), of which 8,624 (60.8%) were owner-occupied, and 5,551 (39.2%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.7%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.6%. 27,798 people (56.9% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 20,217 people (41.4%) lived in rental housing units.

2020 edit

According to the 2020 United States Census,[31] Gilroy is growing with a population standing at 59,520 and 17,023 households. This represents about 3% of Santa Clara County's population. The city's demographic breakdown stands at 58.3% Hispanic or Latino, 26.7% Caucasian, 9.9% Asian, 1.8% African American, 0.5% Native American and 19.8% from two or more races.[32] The median household income was $116,206 and per capita income was $41,393. The average cost of a home was $778,300.[33]

Economy edit

Gilroy, along with Saratoga, San Martin, and Morgan Hill make up the Santa Clara Valley AVA, a designated American Viticultural Area for wineries and vineyards within the historic Santa Clara Valley.

The city is served by the local newspaper Gilroy Dispatch, a weekly newspaper founded in 1868 by John N. Hall and Thomas Losey. CMAP TV, a community accessible television channel, operates channels 17 through 20 on Spectrum and on the internet.[34] Radio stations within Gilroy include KBAY (94.5 FM), which is based in Gilroy with its studio in San Jose, KAZA (1290 AM), and KFAT. The lattermost radio station, founded by Laura Ellen Hopper,[35] ran from c. 1975 to January 16, 1983, until it became KBAY. KFAT was succeeded by KPIG,[35] which broadcasts in the Freedom, California, region.

Top employers edit

The top five employers in Gilroy are: Gilroy Unified School District, Christopher Ranch LLC, Saint Louise Regional Hospital, Walmart, and Olam International.[36]

Arts and culture edit

The Gilroy Garlic Festival.

Annual events edit

Gilroy also has over 20 wineries and tasting rooms located along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail.

Parks and recreation edit

The most notable park in the city is Christmas Hill Park, which was the former site of the Gilroy Garlic Festival and consists of a playground, bike trails, and sports fields.[39]

Gilroy Sports Park edit

Another notable park in the area is Gilroy Sports Park. It is located in the southern portion of the city and currently consists of a playground, sports fields, and bike trails.

Government edit

In the California State Legislature, Gilroy is in the 17th Senate District, represented by Democrat John Laird, and in the 30th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Dawn Addis.[40]

In the United States House of Representatives, Gilroy is split between California's 19th congressional district, represented by Jimmy Panetta (DCarmel Valley) and California's 18th congressional district, represented by Zoe Lofgren (DSan Jose).

Education edit

Public edit

Gavilan College campus

Gilroy Unified School District operates seven elementary schools, three middle schools, and three high schools located in the city.[41] Gilroy is also home to a college, Gavilan College.

Private edit

Private schools in Gilroy are primarily run by religious groups. There are currently two private religious schools:

  • St. Mary's School
  • Pacific Point Christian School.[42][43]

Charter edit

  • Gilroy Prep School[44]

Infrastructure edit

Airports edit

Small general-aviation aircraft are served by the uncontrolled San Martin Airport (E16), located at San Martin, about six miles north of Gilroy. Commercial flights are served by San Jose International Airport, about 36 mi (58 km) away in San Jose.

Transportation edit

Highways edit

Gilroy station was established in 1869. The current station was built in 1917. It is currently served by Caltrain and planned to be served by California High-Speed Rail and Amtrak Capitol Corridor.

Gilroy is served by two major highways:

Public transportation edit

Gilroy station is a planned stop for the California High-Speed Rail. Two different locations were being considered:

  • Downtown at the existing Caltrain station on Monterey Street between 7th & 9th Streets
  • East Gilroy, off Leavesley Road

In 2019, the Authority Board of Directors identified the downtown station location as their choice.

Public libraries edit

The Santa Clara County Library District operates the Gilroy Library located at 350 West Sixth Street. Its activities include poetry contests, summer reading programs,[49] and public speaking.[50]

Sister cities edit

Gilroy is twinned with:[51][52]

Notable people edit

References edit

  1. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date". California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Archived from the original (Word) on November 3, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  2. ^ "City Council | Gilroy, CA - Official Website".
  3. ^ "City Administrator - City of Gilroy".
  4. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  5. ^ "Gilroy". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  6. ^ "Gilroy (city) QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 25, 2023.
  7. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. January 25, 2023. Retrieved March 25, 2023.
  8. ^ a b c "A Brief History of Gilroy | Gilroy, CA - Official Website".
  9. ^ "Gilroy Wine Trail". web site. Archived from the original on December 21, 2019. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  10. ^ "Isaac Todd". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on August 3, 2014. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
  11. ^ "Historical plaque". E Clampus Vitus Chapter 1850. Retrieved January 14, 2007.
  12. ^ "San Francisco History - The Beginning". San Francisco Genealogy. Retrieved January 14, 2007.
  13. ^ "John Gilroy papers, 1846-1853".
  14. ^ Everett Thomas Oliver Larkin; Gordon Hager; Anna Marie Hager (1951). The Larkin Papers. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. pp. 286–87.
  15. ^ "South County towns' names rich in history". Gilroy Dispatch. Retrieved January 14, 2007.
  16. ^ "A trip to the gold mines of California in 1848". California, First Person Narratives. Retrieved January 14, 2007.
  17. ^ a b Cheek, Martin (July 25, 2005), "The original Garlic King", Gilroy Dispatch
  18. ^ Brian, Niiya. "Kiyoshi Hirasaki". Densho. Retrieved November 22, 2022.
  19. ^ Staff, Gilroy Dispatch (April 3, 2015). "Lessons of Civil War still speak to all of us". Gilroy Dispatch. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  20. ^ Santa Clara County Heritage Resource Inventory, Santa Clara County Historical Heritage Commission, published by Santa Clara County, San Jose, Ca., June 1979
  21. ^ "California Historical Landmark: Santa Clara County". Office of Historic Preservation. California State Parks.
  22. ^ Aver, William E. (1975). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form, Old City Hall". National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  23. ^ Hollie Silverman and Amir Vera (July 29, 2019). "At least 3 dead, 11 injured in shooting at Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California". CNN. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  24. ^ "19-year-old suspect identified in deadly shooting at Gilroy Garlic Festival". ABC News. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  25. ^ C. Michael Hogan, Ballard George and Marc Papineau, Noise Element of the General Plan, Earth Metrics, published by the city of Gilroy (1982)
  26. ^ a b c "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  27. ^ "U.S. Climate Normals Quick Access – Station: Gilroy, CA". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 11, 2023.
  28. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  29. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  30. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Gilroy city". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  31. ^ Quick Facts. Gilroy City, CA
  32. ^ "Community Profile". Gilroy, CA - Official Website. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  33. ^ "Census profile: Gilroy, CA". Census Reporter. Retrieved April 11, 2023.
  34. ^ "Community access video workshops available for local teachers". Gilroy Dispatch. March 20, 2003. Retrieved October 25, 2023.
  35. ^ a b "Gilroy Remembers Zany Radio Station With Co-founder's Death". Gilroy Dispatch. June 1, 2007. Archived from the original on October 27, 2019. Retrieved October 25, 2023.
  36. ^ City Of Gilroy, (June 30, 2018).”Comprehensive Annual Fiscal Review” City of Gilroy. Retrieved January 1, 2020
  37. ^ "History". Gilroy Rodeo. Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  38. ^ "7th Annual Tamal Festival and Car Show". Visit Gilroy. Retrieved January 20, 2024.
  39. ^ "Christmas Hill Park". Gilroy, CA. Retrieved May 4, 2024.
  40. ^ "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Archived from the original on February 1, 2015. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  41. ^ "Our Schools - Gilroy Unified School District 2022". Retrieved February 8, 2024.
  42. ^ "St. Mary School | Rooted in the Past, Educating for the Future". Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  43. ^ admin. "Home". Pacific Point Christian Schools. Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  44. ^ "Navigator Schools". Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  45. ^ "Gilroy and Morgan Hill Service" (PDF). Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 10, 2008. Retrieved February 14, 2008.
  46. ^ "Caltrain timetable effective April 2, 2007". Caltrain. Retrieved February 14, 2008.
  47. ^ "Line 55 Monterey - San Jose Express". Monterey-Salinas Transit. Archived from the original on February 16, 2008. Retrieved February 14, 2008.
  48. ^ "Intercounty Routes" (PDF). San Benito County Express. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 10, 2008. Retrieved February 14, 2008.
  49. ^ "Summer reading program kicks off". Gilroy Dispatch. June 3, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2023.
  50. ^ "Santa Clara County libraries hosting series on mental health services". Gilroy Dispatch. July 26, 2023. Retrieved October 25, 2023.
  51. ^ "Portuguese sister city in the works". Gilroy Dispatch. January 26, 2004. Retrieved September 6, 2023. Gilroy currently has four sister cities: Monticelli d'Ongina, Italy; Saint Clar, France; Takko-Machi, Japan; and Tecate, Baja California.
  52. ^ "Sister Cities' Reps Sweep into Town". Gilroy Dispatch. July 25, 2007. Retrieved October 25, 2023.
  53. ^ Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. p. 14. ISBN 0-141-00646-3.
  54. ^ "Display Full Records". The National Archives. Retrieved November 5, 2023.

External links edit