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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Morgan Hill in Santa Clara County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

[Morgan Hill] Centennial Project

A History Trail

 

—Dedicated November 10, 2006 —

 
[Morgan Hill] Centennial Project Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 12, 2011
1. [Morgan Hill] Centennial Project Marker
Inscription. [The Morgan Hill Centennial Project is a very unusual ‘marker’. It was created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Morgan Hill. One starts at the center of the marker and then proceeds along an expanding spiral walkway. As one walks, they pass approximately 100 markers describing events in the history of Morgan Hill and the surrounding area. Periodically one crosses a granite paver denoting significant events in United States history. The markers listed below are in the order in which they are encountered.]

4000 BC – Circle of Circle archaelogical [sic] site near Morgan Hill has evidence of early human settlement.

4000 BC to 1769 – Ohlone Native Americans live in Morgan Hill area for thousands of years before the arrival of Spanish explorers.

1776- Declaration of Independence[granite marker]

De Anza Expedition 1775-1776 - [brass plaque - See "Nearby Marker"]

1797– El Camino Real (Monterey Rd.) connects Mission San Juan Bautista with Pueblo San Jose.

1828 – Catherine O’Toole Murphy Dunne Born in Wexford, Ireland, immigrated to Canada and in 1851 married Bernard Murphy in Quebec. Following his father, Martin Murphy Sr., the couple moved to California.
[Morgan Hill] Centennial Project Markers and History Trail image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 12, 2011
2. [Morgan Hill] Centennial Project Markers and History Trail
She was widowed when there was a boiler explosion on the steamboat “Jenny Lind” while crossing the San Francisco Bay. In 1862 Catherine married James Dunne. Widowed again in 1874, Catherine found herself the wealthiest property owner in California. She died in 1925 at the age of 96.

1835 – Rancho Ojo de Agua de la Coche granted to Juan Maria Hernandez.

1844 – Murphy-Stephens-Townsend Party, the first wagon train across the Sierra Nevada.

1845 – Rancho Ojo de Aqua de la Coche conveyed to the Murphy family.

1850 – California becomes 31st state and Santa Clara County is formed. [granite marker]

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 – A 1912 photo of the original Burnett School in Madrone that was established in 1855 as the first public school between San Jose and Gilroy

1858 – The Butterfield Stage Company begins service
Illustrating the Several Styles of Markers Along the Trail image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 12, 2011
3. Illustrating the Several Styles of Markers Along the Trail
Far Left Marker: 1882 - Martin Murphy's granddaughter Diana Murphy secretly marries Hiram Morgan Hill. A photo of Diana Murphy is displayed on the marker.
Center bronze plaque seen in background: De Anza Expedition marker.
Center marker embedded in walkway: 1776 Declaration of Independence.
Far right marker: 1882 - Daniel Murphy ("largest landowner in the world") dies. A photo of Daniel Murphy is displayed on the marker.
to Morgan Hill

1859 – Diana Helen Murphy Hill Rhodes [see photo of marker for family tree]

1860–1865 - United States Civil War [granite marker]

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, later was hanged there from an oak tree

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 Diane Murphy secretly marries Hiram Morgan Hill.

1882 - Daniel Murphy (“largest landowner in the world”) dies

1884 – Morgan and Diane
1776 - The De Anza Expedition Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 12, 2011
4. 1776 - The De Anza Expedition Marker
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.
Henry Coe Jr. and Charles Coe purchase Pine Ridge Ranch (later becomes Coe Park)

1893 - First church (Methodist – Episcopal) built at 4th St. and Monterey Rd.

1884 - 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

1895 – Machado School founded on Sycamore Ave.

1896 – Railroad calls area “Huntington” but passengers ask off at “Morgan Hill’s Ranch”

1905 – First bank (a branch of Bank of Italy) established by A.P.Giannini in new Votaw Building at NE corner of 2nd St. and Monterey Rd.

1906 – San Francisco Earthquake, Votaw Building is damaged [granite marker]

1906 – Live Oak Union High School built on SE corner of location of current Britton Middle School

1906 – Town of Morgan Hill incorporated with more than 500 residents
1835 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 9, 2011
5. 1835 Marker
Rancho Ojo de Agua de la Coche granted to Juan Maria Hernandez
on November 10, 1906

1907 – Morgan Hill Volunteer Fire Department established on January 17, 1907

1908 – Leonard Coates establishes nursery on West Dunne Ave.

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.

1911 - California passes Women’s Suffrage Amendment [granite marker]

1913 - Hiram Morgan Hill dies in Elko, Nevada; 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 – Framers’ Union Packinghouse opens at 4th St. and Depot Ave.

1916 – Masonic Lodge established in Morgan Hill.

1917 – United States enters World War I [granite marker]

1919 – Original Friendly Inn social hall constructed on Northwest corner of 2nd and Monterey.

1923 – Original Granada Theater opens on Monterey Rd. between 2nd St. and 3rd St.

1923 – Morgan Hill Elementary School opens at NE corner of Dunne Ave. and Monterey Rd.

1925 – Emilio and
1859 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 9, 2011
6. 1859 Marker
Diana Helen Murphy Hill Rhodes
Emilia Guglielmo establish family winery on West Main Ave.

1925 – Grange and Flower Lover’s Club founded.

1926 – Skeels Hotel built on NW corner of 3rd St. and Monterey Rd., 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 chartered in Morgan Hill

1941 – Pearl Harbor Attacked United States enters World War II [granite marker]

1942 – Department of Civil Defense established an aircraft lookout station on Nob Hill for duration of World War II. Station Identifier was “26GRACE3”.

1942 – Evacuation and internment of Morgan Hill Japanese-Americans, many later joined 442nd US Army Regimental Combat Team and fight in Europe, earning unprecedented decorations.

1945
1873 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 9, 2011
7. 1873 Marker
Tiburcio Vasquez raids 21 Mile House, later was hanged there from an oak tree
– John Moreno begins 30 years on police force, serving as chief for 25.

1948 – First traffic light installed on Monterey Rd. at 2nd St.

1950 – Anderson Dam constructed.

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 Rd. near current Sutter Blvd. Closed in 1980.

1954 - Chesbro Dam constructed.

1955 – Rotary Club of Morgan Hill chartered.

1958 – Madrone annexed by City of Morgan Hill.

1961 – Bonfante family opens first Nob Hill Food Center at Main and Hale Aves.

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 Ave.

1969 – Flying Lady Restaurant and Hill Country Aircraft Museum open on Foothill Ave.

1970 – Section of US 101 Freeway opens, bypassing downtown.

1971 – Morgan Hill Historical Society incorporated 1971.

1973
1884 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 9, 2011
8. 1884 Marker
Morgan and Diane Hill build their country home on Murphy family land at Villa Mira Monte
– Morgan Hill opens new City Hall and Library on the Civic Center site.

1976 – United States Bicentennial Celebration [granite marker]

1976 – Live Oak Emerald Regime Band & Color Guard wins first national title.

1976 – Virginia Mae Days becomes first female mayor, later becoming a judge.

1977 – “Measure E” Morgan Hill’s first residential growth control initiative passes.

1980 – Morgan Hill Ranch Business Park opens south of Cochrane Rd.

1980 – The First Mushroom Mardi Gras Festival.

1981 – American Association of University Women, Morgan Hill Branch chartered 1981 Promoting education and equity for women and girls.

1982 – El Toro becomes permanent open space.

1983 – Morgan Hill Historical Museum established at Civic Center in relocated 1911 Acton House.

1984 – 6.2 (Richter Scale) Morgan Hill earthquake.

1985 – 101 Freeway section north of Morgan Hill opens, eliminating “Blood Alley” on Old Monterey Highway.

1987 – Sunsweet fruit drying plant closes at 3rd St. and Depot Ave.

1990 – The First Taste of Morgan Hill downtown celebration.

1991
1909 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 9, 2011
9. 1909 Marker
Isola Kennedy battles a mountain lion to save several boys but dies of rabies
– 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.

2001 – “9/11” World Trade Towers Attacked [granite marker]

2002 – Cultural and Community Center Playhouse and Gavilan College branch open on NE corner of Dunne Ave. and Monterey Rd.

2004 – Poppy Jasper Film Festival established in Morgan Hill.

2004 – Sobrato High School opens on Burnett Ave.; Aquatic Centre opens on Condit Rd.

2005 – Morgan Hill Museum (former 1911 Acton Home) relocated to the Villa Mira Monte site on Monterey Rd.

Our Sister Cities San Martin de Hidalgo, Mexico; San Casciano Val di Pesa, Italy; Headford, Ireland; Mizuho, Japan

2006 – Morgan Hill Centennial 1906-2006 Morgan Hill’s year long Centennial Celebration
 
Location. 37° 8.067′ N, 121° 39.458′ W. Marker is in Morgan Hill, California, in Santa Clara County. Marker is on Monterey Road (California Route 82). Touch for map. The marker is on the grounds of the Morgan Hill History Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 17860 Monterey Road, Morgan Hill CA 95037, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
1926 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 9, 2011
10. 1926 Marker
Sweden Crown Prince and Princess visit Morgan Hill for dedication of Sveadal, a Swedish resort in Uvas Canyon
At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. De Anza Expedition 1775 - 1776 (here, next to this marker); The Granary (approx. 0.4 miles away); Site of Skeels Hotel (approx. 0.4 miles away); Votaw Building (approx. half a mile away); Waiting For The Train (approx. half a mile away); Morgan Hill United Methodist Church (approx. 0.6 miles away); John Page House (approx. 0.7 miles away); Site of 21-Mile House (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Morgan Hill.
 
Also see . . .  The History of Morgan Hill. (Submitted on August 14, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
 
Categories. 20th CenturyNotable EventsNotable Persons
 
1948 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 9, 2011
11. 1948 Marker
First traffic light installed on Monterey Rd. at 2nd St
1976 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 9, 2011
12. 1976 Marker
Live Oak Emerald Regime Band & Color Guard wins first national title
1984 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 9, 2011
13. 1984 Marker
6.2 (Richter Scale) Morgan Hill earthquake
Morgan Hill Centennial Project image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 12, 2011
14. Morgan Hill Centennial Project
Sponsor's Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 9, 2011
15. Sponsor's Plaque
Click image to enlarge.
Morgan Hill's house image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 9, 2011
16. Morgan Hill's house
The house is located on the Morgan Hill Historical Museum grounds.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 14, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 1,594 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. submitted on August 14, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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