Saratoga is a city in Santa Clara County, California. It is located on the west side of the Santa Clara Valley, directly west of San Jose, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 29,926 at the 2010 census. Located on the Western edge of the Silicon Valley, Saratoga is known locally for its suburban small-town feel, wineries, and high-end boutiques. In 2008 CNN/Money ranked Saratoga number 4 in its listing of top-earning towns.Saratoga also was ranked by Forbes in 2009 as one of America’s top 20 most-educated small towns.In 2010 Bloomberg Businessweek named Saratoga the most expensive suburb in California. Bloomberg Businessweek also named Saratoga’s zip code 95070 the 18th richest zip code in America in 2011. Major attractions of Saratoga include Villa Montalvo, Hakone Gardens, and the Mountain Winery. The 2013 Home Listing Report listed Saratoga as the 3rd most expensive housing market in the United States.
The European settlement of what is now Saratoga occurred in 1847, when William Campbell (father of Benjamin Campbell, the founder of nearby Campbell, California), constructed a sawmill about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) southeast of the present downtown area. An early map noted the area as Campbell’s Gap. In 1851 Martin McCarthy, who had leased the mill, built a toll road down to the Santa Clara Valley, and founded what is now Saratoga as McCarthysville.The toll gate was located at the present day intersection of Big Basin Way and 3rd St., giving the town its first widely used name: Toll Gate. In 1867 the town received a post office under the name of McCarthysville.
Industry soon sprang up and at its pinnacle the town had a furniture factory, grist mill, tannery, and a paper factory. To commemorate this newfound productivity the town was renamed again in 1863 as Bank Mills. In the 1850s Jud Caldwell discovered springs which were called Pacific Congress Springs because the water had a mineral content similar to Congress Springs, in Saratoga Springs, New York. In 1865 the town received its final name, Saratoga, after the city in New York. At the same time a resort hotel called Congress Hall was constructed at the springs, named after the famous resort Congress Hall at Saratoga Springs, New York. California’s Congress Hall attracted tourists to the area until it burned down in 1903. These events would eventually lead to Saratoga being listed as a California Historical Landmark in 1950
Saratoga became agricultural, as did much of the rest of the valley; a few vineyards and orchards from this period remain today. After World War II the town quickly became urbanized, and it incorporated in 1956 mostly to avoid being annexed to San Jose. A slogan during the campaign to incorporate the city of Saratoga was “Keep it rural,” according to historian Willys I. Peck. Today the city serves as a bedroom community for upper-middle class Silicon Valley tech workers.