Santa Clara, officially the City of Santa Clara, is a city in Santa Clara County, California. The city’s population was 116,468 at the 2010 United States Census, making it the ninth most populous city in the San Francisco Bay Area.Located 45 miles southeast of San Francisco, the city was founded in 1777 and incorporated in 1852. The city is the site of the eighth of 21 California missions, Mission Santa Clara de Asís, and was named after the mission. The Mission and Mission Gardens are located on the grounds of Santa Clara University. Saint Clare is the patron saint of Santa Clara.
Santa Clara is located in the center of Silicon Valley and is home to the headquarters of several high-tech companies. It is the site of Levi’s Stadium, the future home of the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers and the future site of Super Bowl L and WWE’s premier event WrestleMania 31. It is also home to Santa Clara University, the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of California. The city is bordered by San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Cupertino.
The first European to visit the valley was José Francisco Ortega in 1769. He found the area inhabited by Native Americans, whom the Spanish called the Costanos, “coast people”, later known as the Ohlone. The Spanish began to colonize California with 21 missions and the Mission Santa Clara de Asis was founded in 1777.
In 1846, the American flag was raised over Monterey and symbolized the transfer of the sovereignty of the California Republic over to the United States of America. In 1851, Santa Clara College was established on the grounds of the original Mission. In 1852, Santa Clara was incorporated as a town; it became state-chartered by 1862.
For the next century the economy centered on agriculture since orchards and vegetables were thriving in the fertile soil. By the beginning of the 20th century, the population had reached 5,000 and stayed about the same for many years.
In 1905, the first public high-altitude flights by man were made over Santa Clara in gliders designed by John J. Montgomery. The semiconductor industry, which sprouted around 1960, changed the city and surrounding valley forever; little of its agricultural past remains.
Santa Clara’s first medical hospital was built in 1963. This structure, on Kiely Boulevard, was replaced in 2007 with the new Kaiser Permanente medical center located on Lawrence Expressway at Homestead Road.
Santa Clara was also home to a major mental health facility, Agnews State Hospital. According to the National Park Service, more than 100 persons were killed at this site in the 1906 earthquake. The site is the former home to Sun Microsystems and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Santa Clara owns and operates an electric utility called Silicon Valley Power. In 2005 Silicon Valley Power brought online the Donald Von Raesfeld (DVR) Power Plant. The new combined cycle gas turbine plant produces 147 megawatts of electricity for the city and its residents. As a result, the going rate for electricity in Santa Clara is considerably cheaper than that offered by Northern California’s dominant utility, Pacific Gas and Electric.
Affymetrix, Agilent Technologies, Applied Materials, Atheros, Extreme Networks, Intel, Intevac, McAfee, National Semiconductor, Nvidia, OmniVision Technologies, Palo Alto Networks, PMC-Sierra, Rovi, Synaptics, Marvell Technology Group and Trident Microsystems are among the companies headquartered in Santa Clara. Namco Bandai Games’s United States office is in Santa Clara.