San Carlos, California

From Academic Kids

San Carlos is a city located in San Mateo County, California on the San Francisco Peninsula. It is a small residential suburb located between Belmont to the north and Redwood City to the south. San Carlos' ZIP Code is 94070, and it is within the 650 area code.

As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 27,718.


Contemporary Life

San Carlos aims for a "small town" feel. Its main downtown area is composed mostly of small shops and restaurants. San Carlos was the first city in California to open a charter school (San Carlos Charter Learning Center), and its schools rank consistently well in state-wide lists.

San Carlos is home to San Carlos Airport and Hiller Air Museum, a museum specializing in helicopter history, and the administrative headquarters of SamTrans and Caltrain.

Transportation options include membership in the SamTrans (San Mateo County, California) bus system and a CalTrain station. As of 2003, the city began experimenting with a free shuttle bus service named S.C.O.O.T to help with transportation difficulties for those living in the hills of the town, and especially to make up for a lack of school buses.


Native Americans

Prior to the Spanish arrival in 1769, the land of San Carlos was occupied by a group of Native Americans who called themselves the Lamchins. While they considered themselves to have a separate identity from other local tribes, modern scholars consider them to be a part of the Ohlone or Costonoan tribes that inhabited the Bay Area.

The Lamchins referred to the area of their primary residence - probably on the north bank of Pulgas creek - as "Cachanihtac," which included their word for vermin. When the Spanish arrived, they translated this as "the fleas," or "las Pulgas," giving many places and roads their modern names.

The Native American life was one of traditional hunting and gathering. There was plentiful game and fowl available, and fish could be caught in the San Francisco Bay. There were also grasses, plants and oak trees (for acorns), and achaelogical finds of mortars and pestles indicates that these source were processed for food. No doubt they also participated in the regional trading networks for goods that could not be gathered or grown locally.

The Lamchin permanent village is thought to been here: Template:Mapquest between the modern streets of Alameda de los Pulgas and Cordilleras Avenue, near San Carlos Avenue.


In 1769, Gaspar de Portolá was the first westerner to reach the San Francisco Bay. While early historians placed his approach to the Bay from the Pacific Ocean as coming over the San Carlos hills, present researchers believe this "discovery" actually occurred in present day Belmont.

The Spanish, with overwhelming military and economic advantages over the native population, quickly dominated the Bay Area. A mission was established in San Francisco, and land was deeded in large "ranchos", or ranches, to prominent and wealthy Spaniards, with no concern for the native populations that lived on them.

The new ranch owners raised cattle on the lands, displacing the native game populations and disrupting the food supply of the indigenous population. As well, the Spanish strongly discouraged the Native Americans from their periodic controlled burns, which helped maintain the grasslands.

Facing the end of their way of life, the local population had little choice but to seek assistance from the missions and convert to Christianity. Traditional trade routes and alliances fell apart by 1800. While the missions continued to receive converts throughout the first half of the 19th century, the Native American way of life in the Bay Area was all but destroyed by that time.

The land now occupied by the city of San Carlos was deeded as a single large rancho to Don José Darío Argüello. He and his family did not live there, but rather raised cattle and crops for money on "Rancho Cachinetac" (a Spanish derivation of "Cachanihtac"). José's son Luis Argüello was the first California-born governor of the state, and after his death in 1830 the remaining family moved to the ranch, now known as "Rancho de las Pulgas." The family adobe was located at the present-day intersection of Magnolia and Cedar streets.

Late 19th Century

While the California California gold rush of 1849 found no gold nearby, disappointed Sierra Nevada prospectors made their way to the region, bringing the first non-Spanish western settlers. The Argüello family retained deed to their ranch through the transfer of governments to the United States, and, in the 1850s, began selling parcels of it through their agent S. M. Mezes.

While the port of Redwood City, to the south, and the town of Belmont, to the north, both grew quickly in the late 19th century, San Carlos' growth was much slower. Major portions were purchased by the Brittan Family, the Hull Family, the Ralston family and Timothy Guy Phelps.

Timothy Phelps, a wealthy politician, was the first to attempt to develop the San Carlos area. He paid for significant improvements such as sewer lines and street grading, and began to promote lot sales in what he modestly called "The Town of Phelps."

Phelps' sales were largely unsuccessful, and he eventually sold much of his land to Nicholas T. Smith's San Carlos Land Development Company. Other developers were not overly fond of Phelps' eponymous efforts, and decided to rename the town. Some maps are existent referring to the area as "Lomitas" ("little hills" in Spanish) but eventually due to historical legend, the name "San Carlos" was chosen. As noted previously, it was believed that Portolá had first seen the San Francisco Bay on November 4 from the San Carlos hills. November 4 is the feast day of St. Charles. As well, the Spanish king at the time was King Carlos III, and the first ship to sail into San Francisco bay was the San Carlos.

The newly named region - not yet incorporated - received a boost with the construction of the Peninsula Railroad Corridor in 1863, and the addition, of a station at San Carlos in 1888.

Growth remained slow through the turn of the century, with most residents enjoying the short 35-minute train ride to San Francisco while living in a rural setting. The Hull family operated a dairy located at the modern intersection of Hull and Laurel. Many of the other residents which were not involved in agriculture were wealthy business and professional men who worked with the railroad or in San Francisco.

Despite the efforts of the developers, growth was very slow in this period, and San Carlos ended the 19th century with fewer than one hundred houses and families.

1900 - 1941

The turn of the century saw the layout of the initial town streets. While "Old County Road" east of the railroad track had been in use as a stage line since at least 1850, the present-day layout west of the railroad track was constructed in the first years of 1900. Cedar, Elm, Laurel, Magnolia, Maple (renamed El Camino Real) and Walnut were put down in this time.

Growth remained slow through the first fifteen years of the new century, but in 1918 the town had grown enough to build a school at 600 Elm street. One year previously Fred Drake ("The Father of San Carlos") had purchased 130 acres (526,000 m²) of real estate in San Carlos in foreclosure, and began marketing it. Growth came quickly, and the early 1920s saw Drake build an office at the southwest corner of Cyprus (now San Carlos Ave) and El Camino Real, which is still existent, and as of 2004 is home to a Cingular store and a Quiznos.

In the early 1920s, the Cyprus along Cyprus Ave were removed, and the street widened and renamed San Carlos Ave. In 1923 the growing munincipality founded a fire station, and in 1925 the founders voted to incorporate.

The Great Depression affected families in San Carlos, as it did everywhere, but growth continued, and population grew from approximately 600 at incorporation in 1925 to 5,000 in 1941.

While services such as stores increased in this period, by the beginning of World War II San Carlos was still known in the Bay Area as a rural community. Most of the land in the munincipality was still used for agricultural purposes, and photographs of the time show a landscape with few houses separated by large fields.

1941 - 1960

(In Progress)

1960 - Present

(In Progress)


Missing image
Location of San Carlos, California

San Carlos is located at 37°29'57" North, 122°15'48" West (37.499187, -122.263278)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.4 km² (5.9 mi²). 15.3 km² (5.9 mi²) of it is land and 0.17% is water.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 27,718 people, 11,455 households, and 7,606 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,807.8/km² (4,685.1/mi²). There are 11,691 housing units at an average density of 762.5/km² (1,976.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 84.54% White, 0.75% African American, 0.19% Native American, 7.87% Asian, 0.40% Pacific Islander, 2.40% from other races, and 3.85% from two or more races. 7.70% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 11,455 households out of which 29.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.5% are married couples living together, 7.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 33.6% are non-families. 25.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.40 and the average family size is 2.93.

In the city the population is spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 33.0% from 25 to 44, 26.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 40 years. For every 100 females there are 92.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 88.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $88,460, and the median income for a family is $103,971. Males have a median income of $70,554 versus $51,760 for females. The per capita income for the city is $46,628. 2.7% of the population and 1.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 2.3% of those under the age of 18 and 3.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

External links



San Carlos Stories: An Oral History for the City of Good Living (,1124,deptid-31_isid-382,00.html), by Linda Wickett Garvey, Copyright 2000 The City of San Carlos, California.

de:San Carlos (Kalifornien)

Template:Cities of San Mateo County, California


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