Centennial History Trail
The Morgan Hill Centennial History Trail was created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Morgan Hill. Starting at the center marker and then proceeding along an expanding spiral trail, you will pass approximately 100 raised post markers describing events in the history of Morgan Hill and the surrounding area. Also in the walking path are granite markers denoting significant events in United States history.
History and Timeline
4000 BC - "Circle of Circles" archaeological sites show evidence of early human presence
4000 BC to 1769 - Ohlone Native Americans live in Morgan Hill area for thousands of years before the arrival of Spanish explorers in 1769
[In path] 1776 - Declaration of Independence
1776 - Juan Bautista de Anza and his party camp at Llagas Creek on the way from Mexico to the City of San Francisco
1797- El Camino Real (Monterey Rd.) connects Mission San Juan Bautista with Pueblo San Jose
1835 - Rancho Ojo de Agua de la Coche granted to Juan Maria Hernandez
1844 - Murphy-Stephens-Townsend Party (Marin Murphy Sr., Captain Elisha Stephens and Dr. John Townsend) bring the first wagon train across the Sierra Nevada
1845 - Rancho Ojo de Aqua de la Coche conveyed to the Bernard Murphy family
[In Path] 1850 - California becomes 31st state and Santa Clara County is formed
1850 - Martin Murphy family moves to property on New Avenue in what is now San Martin
1852 - William Tennant opens 21 Mile House, a roadhouse and stagecoach stop at Tennant Ave and Monterey Rd
1853 - 18 Mile Roadhouse opens in Madrone
1854 - Martin Murphy Sr. donates land and builds St. Martin Catholic Church in what becomes San Martin
1855 - Burnett School in Madrone is established as the first public school between San Jose and Gilroy
1858 - The Butterfield Stage Company begins service to Morgan Hill
1859 - Diana Helen Murphy is born to Daniel Murphy and Maria Fisher Murphy, heiress to Ranco Laguna Seca in Coyote Valley
[In Path] 1860 - United States Civil War begins
1869 - Malquerra Winery built in Madrone
1869 - Santa Clara and Pajaro Railroad comes to Morgan Hill, later purchased by Southern Pacific Railroad
1873 - Tiburcio Vasquez raids 21 Mile House. He was later hung at San Jose Jail by Sheriff John H. Adams for whom Adams School was named. The killings for which he was hung took place in Tres Pinos in San Benito county.
1880 - Italian immigrants came to Morgan Hill in the years of the great Mediterranean migration to the United States, between 1880-1930. Their commitment to family, strong work ethic and passion to succeed laid the cultural foundation for a strong agrarian economy that lasted into the 1960s. They planted orchards and vineyards across the valley floor. April brought a sea of snow white prune blossoms, followed by warm summer days and cool nights, ideal for the growing prunes, apricots and wine grapes
1880 - Madrone Soda Springs resort opens at Pine Ridge with transportation from Madrone
1882 - Martin Murphy's granddaughter Diana Helen Murphy secretly marries Hiram Morgan Hill
1882 - Daniel Murphy, "largest landowner in the world" dies
1884 - Morgan and Diane Hill build their country home on Murphy family land at Villa Mira Monte
1892 - The Hills sell most of their land holdings to C.H. Phillips, who subdivided it into town lots
1892 - Henry Coe Jr. and Charles Coe purchase Pine Ridge Ranch which later becomes Coe Park
1893 - First church (Methodist - Episcopal) built at 4th St. and Monterey Rd
1894 - The Ward family establishes Oak Glen Ranch in Paradise Valley
1894 - George Edes starts publishing Morgan Hill Sun, now Morgan Hill Times
1894 - First Morgan Hill grammar school built on 4th Street
1894 - First 4th of July parade held in Morgan Hill
1895 - Machado School founded on Sycamore Ave.
1896 - Railroad calls area "Huntington", but passengers ask to get off at "Morgan Hill's Ranch"
1905 - First bank (a branch of Bank of Italy) established by A.P.Giannini is opened in new Votaw Building at NE corner of 2nd St. and Monterey Rd
[In Path] 1906 - San Francisco Earthquake
1906 - Live Oak Union High School built on SE corner at location of current Britton Middle School
1906 - Town of Morgan Hill incorporated with more than 500 residents on November 10, 1906
1907 - Morgan Hill Volunteer Fire Department established on January 17, 1907
1908 - Leonard Coates establishes his nursery on West Dunne Ave. and is credited with developing a larger, juicier French prune
1909 - Isola Kennedy battles a mountain lion to save several boys but dies of rabies
1909 - Catherine Dunne sponsors building of first St. Catherine's Church on SE corner of Dunne Ave. and Monterey Rd.
[In Path] 1911 - California passes Women's Suffrage Amendment
1913 - Hiram Morgan Hill dies in Elko, Nevada at the Nevada Villa Miramonte and is buried in Santa Clara Catholic Cemetery
1914 - First library established in a store on the NW corner of 2nd St. and Monterey Rd.
1915 - Farmers' Union Packinghouse opens at 4th St. and Depot Ave.
1916 - Masonic Lodge established in Morgan Hill
[In Path] 1917 - United States enters World War I
1919 - Original Friendly Inn social hall is constructed on NW corner of Monterey Rd. and Main Ave.
1923 - Original Granada Theater opens on Monterey Rd. between 2nd St. and 3rd Streets
1923 - Morgan Hill Elementary School opens with 202 students at NE corner of Dunne Ave. and Monterey Rd.
1925 - Emilio and Emilia Guglielmo establish family winery on West Main Ave.
1925 - The Grange and Flower Lover's Club founded
1926 - Henry and son Harry Skeels build the Skeels Hotel on the NW corner of Monterey Rd. & 3rd Street; Lloyd Skeels becomes Constable and later Fire Chief of Morgan Hill and Madrone
1926 - Sweden Crown Prince and Princess visit Morgan Hill for dedication of Sveadal, a Swedish resort in Uvas Canyon
1927 - Eastman Kodak heiress Gertrude Achilles builds Fountain Oaks (near Tennant Ave. and Foothill Ave.) and house nearby for her friend Charles Kellogg - "The Nature Singer"
1930 - First City Hall built at SW corner of Main Ave. and Monterey Rd.
1937 - Lady Diana Murphy Hill Rhodes dies in Cannes, France
1938 - Lions Club formed in Morgan Hill
[In Path] 1941 - Pearl Harbor attacked; United States enters World War II
1941 - Department of Civil Defense establishes an aircraft lookout station on Nob Hill (100' west of original city water tank) for duration of World War II. Station identifier was "26GRACE3". Doug Downer and his school friend (both 11 years old) did their shift every Wednesday morning from 6:00am to 8:00am and then headed down the hill to the Morgan Hill School
1942 - Evacuation and internment of Morgan Hill Japanese-Americans, many later joined 442nd US Army Regimental Combat Team and fought in Europe, earning unprecedented decorations. The "Go For Broke" patch is their official emblem. It was designed by Mitch Miyamoto after an original patch designed by the U. S War Department was rejected by the men of the 442nd. The original design depicted a yellow hand holding a bloody sword. The now famous "Liberty" design of the hand holding a torch was officially adopted by the 442nd on December 16,1943. The patch symbolizes freedom and liberty and was proudly worn by over 18,000 Japanese American soldiers during World War II
1945 - John Moreno begins 30 years on police force, serving as Chief for 25 years
1948 - First traffic light installed on Monterey Rd. at 2nd St.
1950 - Anderson Dam constructed in the east foothills
1950 - Chamber of Commerce formed in Morgan Hill
1952 - Kiwanis Club chartered in Morgan Hill
1953 - Sada Coe donates Pine Ridge Ranch for Coe Park
1954 - Morgan Hill Airport operates off Cochrane Road near current Sutter Blvd. Closed in 1980
1954 - Chesbro Dam constructed in western foothills
1955 - Rotary Club of Morgan Hill chartered
1958 - Madrone annexed by City of Morgan Hill
1961 - Bonfante family opens first Nob Hill Foods Center at Main and Hale Avenues
1966 - Morgan Hill-Burnett, San Martin, Machado, Encinal Elementary and Live Oak Union High School Districts merge to form Morgan Hill Unified School District
1967 - Buddhist Community Center opens on Murphy Avenue
1969 - Flying Lady Restaurant and Hill Country Aircraft Museum open on Foothill Avenue
1970 - Section of US 101 Freeway opens between Cochrane on the north and S. Monterey in Gilroy, bypassing both downtown Morgan Hill and Downtown Gilroy
1971 - Morgan Hill Historical Society incorporated
1972 - George Chiala Farms begins operations
1973 - Morgan Hill opens new City Hall and Library on the Civic Center site
[In Path] 1976 - United States Bicentennial Celebration
Early 70s - After heavy rains raw sewage flowed down Monterey Road: Alone Ranger, Wayne Winger, sparked controversy and action to push for slower growth and a buildup of the city infrastructure.
1976 - Live Oak Emerald Regime Band & Color Guard wins first National Championship title
1976 - Virginia Mae Days becomes first female mayor, later becoming a judge
1977 - "Measure E" passes, Morgan Hill's first residential growth control initiative
1980 - Morgan Hill Ranch Business Park opens south of Cochrane Road
1980 - The First Mushroom Mardi Gras Festival
1981 - American Association of University Women, Morgan Hill Branch is chartered, promoting education and equity for women and girls
1982 - El Toro Mountain becomes permanent open space
1983 - Morgan Hill Historical Museum is established at Civic Center in the relocated 1911 Acton House
1984 - Morgan Hill earthquake, 6.2 on the Richter Scale
1984 - 101 Freeway section north of Morgan Hill opens, eliminating "Blood Alley" on Old Monterey Highway
1987 - Sunsweet fruit drying plant closes at 3rd and Depot Streets
1990 - The first Taste of Morgan Hill downtown celebration
1991 - Veterans Memorial Square dedicated at First St. and Monterey Rd.
1998 - Renovated Hiram Morgan Hill House, a registered National Historic Site, opens to the public at Villa Mira Monte.
[In Path] 2001 - "9/11" World Trade Towers attacked
2002 - Cultural and Community Center Playhouse and Gavilan College branch open on NE corner of Dunne Avenue and
2004 - Poppy Jasper Film Festival established in Morgan Hill
2004 - Sobrato High School opens on Burnett Avenue Aquatic Center opens on Condit Road
2005 - Morgan Hill Museum (former 1911 Acton Home) relocated to the Villa Mira Monte site on Monterey Road
2006 - Morgan Hill Sister Cities: San Martin de Hidalgo, Mexico; San Casciano Val di Pesa, Italy; Headford, Ireland; and Mizuho, Japan
2006 - Morgan Hill's year-long Centennial Celebration culminated on November 10, 2006, the centennial anniversary date
2006 - Belle's Bell -- Donated by local teacher Belle McCormick who turned 100 on May 2, 2006. The resides at Villa Mira Monte
The following relevant and current milestones are not depicted on the Centennial History Trail:
1950 - Residents vote down a plan to extend Santa Teresa. The impact of that decision is felt today.
2012 - The District’s $198,250,000 General Obligation Bond (Measure G) successfully passed in the November 6, 2012 election, enabling the District to finance technology and facility improvements.
2014 - Planning for new downtown, including a parking Garage and purchase of property
2015 - Renovation of downtown and testing the elimination of second lane each way on Monterey Road