Morgan Hill would not exist if it weren’t for the fact that our city’s namesake and his wife built a gorgeous country home and Southern Pacific built a train depot here over a century ago.
Ironically, Morgan Hill’s fate is once again being shaped by the railroad. This time, it’s a multi-billion dollar bullet train system called the California High Speed Rail.
Hiram Morgan Hill and Diana Murphy Hill built Villa Mira Monte (1884-86) to welcome family and friends to gather and enjoy one of the most beautiful spots in the Valley of Heart’s Delight. In 1893, Southern Pacific Railroad opened a nearby depot. They named it Huntington Station, but passengers always asked the train conductor to stop at Morgan Hill’s place, and the name caught on.
When the city was established in 1906, it too was named Morgan Hill. The presence of the station helped put Morgan Hill on the map in terms of regional commerce and tourism until it was retired in 1956.
For nearly 50 years, the Morgan Hill Historical Society has worked to preserve this property, assure its perpetual listing in the National Registry of Historic Places, and operate it for the benefit of the local community.
Despite Morgan Hill’s history as a train stop, the High Speed Rail Authority bypassed it when planning stations. Its trains will run through our city at the rate of 8 trains per peak hour, per direction, traveling an average of 120 miles/hour.
The Authority has defined four alignment alternatives, including one that will run along the Eastern boundary of Villa Mira Monte and through Morgan Hill’s historic downtown core. If this alignment is chosen, visitors’ “historic” experience of Villa Mira Monte exhibits and events will be interrupted every 7.5 minutes by the sight, sound and feel of bullet trains whizzing by.
Read the Morgan Hill Historical Society's letter to the High Speed Rail Authority.
High Speed Rail website: www.meethsrnorcal.org
Make your voice heard. Public comment period ends June 23, 2020.