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Fremont

Fremont /ˈfrmɒnt/ is a city in Alameda County, California. It was incorporated on January 23, 1956, from the merger of five smaller communities: Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs. The city is named after American explorer John Charles Frémont, “the Great Pathfinder.”

Located in the southeast section of the San Francisco Bay Area in the East Bay region primarily, Fremont has a population of around 220,000.[10] It is the fourth most populous city in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the largest suburb in the metropolis. It is the closest East Bay city to Silicon Valley, and is thus sometimes associated with it.

The area consisting of Fremont, Newark (an enclave of Fremont), and Union City (formed from the communities of Alvarado and Decoto), is now known as the Tri-City Area.

 

Geography

Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs were the original five small independent towns that combined and incorporated to form Fremont in 1956. Today, these places have greatly expanded, are no longer separate communities, and are considered districts or community plan areas of the more or less developed city of Fremont. The town of Newark declined to join Fremont, and is now an enclave of it. Since incorporation, Fremont has created six more districts, which it calls “community plan areas” for planning purposes. These include Central, North Fremont, South Fremont, and Bayside. The two other districts, Baylands and the Hill Areas, are primarily open space.

Centerville District

Centerville was perhaps the main town in Washington Township. Centerville is located at 37°33′15″N 121°59′57″W. It lies at an elevation of 52 feet (16 m). Centerville was started by George Lloyd who started selling cold beer to stage passengers from a tent in 1850. Capt. George Bond set up a general store and the name Centerville was chosen. The post office opened Centreville post office in 1855 and changed the spelling to Centerville in 1893. The Centerville Pioneer Cemetery contains the burial places of many of the city’s founding pioneers.

Centerville can be traced back to its native American roots. Spanish, Mexican, Italian, Portuguese and Swiss (Swiss Park), peoples were among the early settlers that contributed greatly to the growth Centerville. Most of Centerville was and still is Catholic Holy Spirit Church.

Early Centerville was a quiet farming community, which consisted of large Spanish land grants divided into smaller farms. The Freitas Ranch on Thornton Ave was probably the largest of the working farms. There were acres of Apricot along with other fruit and nut orchards and large fields of various types of fresh produce.

Centerville was also a main stop for the early railways. This gave the local farmers a way to quickly get their produce to market. With the access to railway service there was once a large cannery on Baine Ave. west of Fremont Ave. next to the tracks. That was until the late 1950s when the cannery burnt to the ground. Cans of produce could be seen for days afterward shooting into the sky. The cannery was never rebuilt.

Prior to the end of WWII housing developments,in the area, were largely nonexistent. Most of the early housing stood along Fremont Blvd. from Decoto Road, south to Washington High school, along Thornton Ave. from Fremont Blvd., west to the Newark city boarder and along Peralta Blvd, from Fremont Blvd. to Niles.

For city planning purposes, Centerville was enlarged to encompass most of the north central residential section of Fremont, from Mowry Ave to Decoto Rd, from I-880 to the BART line. This Centerville community plan area includes the sprawling subdivisions, developed in the 1950s and 1960s, of Glenmoor Gardens, bounded by Central Avenue, Fremont Boulevard, Mowry Avenue, and the I-880 freeway. and the Cabrillo Park subdivision bound by, Thornton Ave, Fremont Blvd, Decoto Road and the I-880 freeway. Also the Brookvale subdivisions, the Quarry Lakes Regional Park, and part of Parkmont. The area is served by two high schools, Washington Union High School Washington High School (Fremont, California) established in 1892, which for a long time was the only high school in the area andAmerican High School. It also has two junior high schools, Centerville Junior High School and Thornton Junior High School. American High School and Thornton Junior High, which now stands on the old main site of the Freitas ranch. were not built until the late 1960s to handle the ever growing population of Centerville. Early elementary schools were Allen G. Norris and Glenmore Elementary.

Niles District

Niles Art Walk 2005.

Niles retains a small town feel anchored by a tight-knit community. Geography partly explains the community’s cohesion; in addition to sitting against the base of Fremont’s hills, the town is physically divided from other parts of Fremont and neighboring Union City by Mission Boulevard (State Route 238) to the east and north, Alameda Creek to the south, Union Pacific Railroad to the west and southeast, and the Quarry Lakes to the southwest. The hills of Niles are lower than those of the area south of the Alameda Creek in Mission San Jose. Old Town Niles features its own library, post office, and silent movie theater as well as a large number of antique and craft stores. The town is named after Addison Niles. Niles is located at 37°34′44″N 121°58′40″W. It lies at an elevation of 112 feet (34 m).

Niles was the home of one of the first West Coast motion picture companies, Essanay Studios. Charlie Chaplin and Broncho Billy Anderson filmed some of their most famous silent movies in Niles. Scenic Niles Canyon stretches between Niles and Sunol. The nonprofit Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum offers both artifacts of Niles’ early years, and each Saturday evening, screenings of early-twentieth-century silent films, many of which were filmed locally.

The Niles Canyon Railway runs along Alameda Creek, and carries passengers on weekend excursions, including a holiday ‘train of lights’ which is extremely popular – tickets for these trains typically sell out by early October. The Niles Canyon Railroad has a small but well-maintained collection of historic rail stock.

Of special note is the annual antique fair and flea market which takes place on the last Sunday in August. The entire town turns out with things to sell as early as Saturday morning, with bargain hunters from the Bay Area and beyond visiting in search of bargains. Niles is also home to the Fremont Gurdwara, which serves the large American Sikh community of Fremont as a religious shrine open to not only the Sikhs but to everyone regardless of their caste and religion.

The place was originally known as Vallejo’s Mills for Vallejo Flour Mill built there. Niles was named by the Central Pacific Railroad in 1869 for Judge Addison C. Niles, who later was elected to the California Supreme Court. A post office was opened at Niles in 1873.

Part of historic Niles is Mayhew Spring, also known as Mayhew’s Sulphur Spring, which was located 600 feet (180 m) north of the Niles railroad depot. The facility was owned by H.A. Meyhew.[23] The coast to coast completion of Transcontinental Railroad is reported to have occurred in nearby Niles Canyon. In September 1869, four months after the famous golden spike ceremony at Promontory Summit, Utah, the Central Pacific Railroad completed the transcontinental rail link between Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay, finishing the track through the canyon. The Central Pacific had acquired the Western Pacific and other local railroads and built track to connect them at a waterfront terminal at Alameda Point.

Also part of Niles is Niles Junction on the Western Pacific Railroad, located at 37°34′35″N 121°58′17″W, and situated at an elevation of 79 feet (24 m).

Irvington District

This area has gone through a series of name changes. Originally, shortly after the US Civil war, a freed male black slave left the southern United States and traveled to California reportedly in search of wealth, likely in gold. During his travels he came across a very busy crossroads. People traveling towards Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, Livermore, and even Sacramento would pass through this cross roads, since the Transcontinental Rail Road ended in Sacramento until later years. Realizing the financial possibilities of the area, this former slave constructed the first building at the cross roads, a tavern with an inn. For many years due to a lack of a formal name, the cross roads area was only known as “Nigger Corners”. This corner, now the intersection of Fremont and Washington Boulevards, Union and Bay Streets, is now known as “Five Corners” or Irvington Square. Irvington Square’s marker, Irvington Plaza park, is located at 37°31′22″N 121°58′18″W. The inn and several of the other original buildings were demolished by the city of Fremont in the early 1980s. The corner was soon home to Washington College, the first industrial educational institution in California. As a result, The US Postal Service established a post office called Washington Corners at the college in 1870.

In 1884, realizing the need for a proper township name, local inhabitants selected the name of Irving. The name was chosen in honor of Judge Irving, the local traveling circuit judge of the time. Later as the railroad came through the area, the published train schedule pamphlets erroneously listed the Irving train depot as Irvington. The township protested to the railroad about the error. The railroad company notified the township that it was too costly for them to replace the train schedule pamphlets (over $100,000.00) and in 1887 following the recommendation, the people of Irving changed the township name to Irvington.

The Irvington district has two main neighborhoods: Irvington Woods and the Irvington Square. The neighborhood is ethnically mixed and is primarily working class. For city planning purposes, the Irvington area was enlarged to encompass most of the south central residential section of Fremont, from Auto Mall Parkway to Mowry Avenue, from I-880 to roughly the BART line (excluding the Central District described below). This Irvington community plan area includes the Sundale neighborhood, the South Sundale neighborhood, 28 Palms, Blacow, and Grimmer subdivisions. The area is served by three high schools: Irvington High School, Robertson High School, and John F. Kennedy High School.

Mission San Jose District

At the time of the California Gold Rush, a boom town grew up around the old Mission, to equip and transport 49ers overland to the gold fields. A post office was opened at Mission San Jose in 1850.

The district, like Niles, is surrounded by hills. The hills are higher and steeper than Niles, with the highest points being on the Mission Ridge. Mission San Jose district lies close to the northern two peaks, Mission Peak and Mount Allison. Mission Peak is very distinctive and is one of Fremont’s emblems. These peaks go from 2,517 to 2,604 ft (794 m), taller than Mount Tamalpais, a great height for the San Francisco Bay Area. They see some deep snow occasionally.

Fremont’s community college, Ohlone College, is situated one block away from the mission and serves over 12,000 students.

Mission San Jose has the highest concentration of Asian Americans in Fremont – over 50% of the population as of the 2000 census. The local high school is Mission San Jose High School, it is ranked 67 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The median family income for the Mission San Jose area (ZIP code 94539) exceeded $114,595 in 2005. Owing to an influx of professionals and other affluent families seeking access to the top-performing local public schools, Mission San Jose’s median home value reached $831,000 in 2006, earning the community a rank of 237 on Forbes magazine’s list of the 500 most affluent communities in the United States.

In 2001 an attempt by community organizations in the Mission San Jose district to withdraw from the Fremont Unified School District caused state-wide controversy and led to accusations of racism from both sides. The attempt was prompted by a re-drawing of the school enrollment areas, under which some Mission San Jose residents would send their children to Horner Junior High and Irvington High schools. The controversial effort to secede was dropped later that year. Fremont’s public schools continue to rank among the best in California.

Mission San Jose

The main facade of the restored 1809 Mission San José chapel

Nestled at the base of Fremont’s rolling hills is the Mission San José, one of the oldest of the historic Spanish missions in California, for which this district is named. The church building that exists today is a re-construction (dedicated in 1985 for daily Mass and tours) of the original 1809 adobe church that was destroyed by the 1868 Hayward-fault earthquake. One side of the original mission quadrangle remains and houses a museum. Mission San Jose is located at 37°31′59″N 121°55′13″W; and lies at an elevation of 305 feet (93 m).

Warm Springs District

Warm Springs is located on Rancho Agua Caliente and is so named for the springs that are located there. In early times, there was a settlement called Harrisburgh (also, Harrisburg and Peacock’s) a short distance east from the small settlement of Warm Springs. A post office opened in Harrisburgh in 1865 and changed its name to Warm Springs in 1885. The name Harrisburgh commemorated Abram Harris, who settled there in 1858. The name Peacock’s commemorated George W. Peacock, its first postmaster. The post office name changed to Warmsprings in 1895 and reverted to Warm Springs in 1950.

The Warm Springs district is the southernmost portion of Fremont whose hub is the Warm Springs and Mission Boulevard intersection. It is located at 37°29′14″N 121°55′45″W, and lies at an elevation of 62 feet (19 m). Due to its proximity to the center of Silicon Valley, Warm Springs has attracted the headquarters of many high-tech companies including Nielsen Norman Group, Lam Research, Corsair Memory and Lexar of the US as well as foreign high-tech companies such as Elitegroup Computer Systems, and Asus. The district is also home to blue-collar industry. The San Jose mission is also present.

Warm Springs also serves as commercial center for the mainly residential Mission San Jose district, especially since the construction of Pacific Commons, a large, modern regional shopping center. The Oakland Athletics talked about moving their stadium to this area. The large Asian population in Mission San Jose comes to Warm Springs for authentic Asian stores such as the 99 Ranch & Marina Food supermarkets, as well as more traditional supermarkets such as Safeway. It is also home to one of the SF Bay Area’s only two coffee houses to employ baristas who wear bikinis, Your Coffee Cups, a concept that’s gained some controversy from Bay Area newspapers and news stations.[30][31][32][33]

Construction of a 5.4-mile (8.7 km) BART extension to Warm Springs began in 2010. Currently, the southern terminus of the system is in Fremont’s Centerville district. The extension will consist of an aerial track structure immediately south of the existing Fremont station, a subway of approximately one mile under Fremont Central Park and Lake Elizabeth, and at-grade tracks that will parallel Union Pacific tracks through the Irvington and Warm Springs districts.

In addition to the Warm Springs station, the City is also planning a station in Irvington, mid-way between the Fremont and Warm Springs stations. All three Fremont BART stations are expected to incorporate Transit Oriented Development components in the immediate station areas.

Central District

Lake Elizabeth of Fremont Central Park

For city planning purposes, the Central District is roughly the center of Fremont, surrounded by Centerville, Niles, Mission San Jose, and Irvington community plan areas. The Central District contains many retail shopping centers (e.g., the Fremont Hub), the Fremont Bay Area Rapid Transit station, several health care centers, the California School for the Blind and the Deaf, the Cherry/Guardino neighborhood, and Central Park and Lake Elizabeth.

Fremont’s future downtown, bounded by Mowry Ave, Fremont Blvd, Walnut Ave, and Paseo Padre Pkwy, is envisioned to become a mid-density, pedestrian friendly, transit oriented development. The first step to developDowntown Fremont was taken in 2014 with the construction of the Capital Avenue extension to Fremont Blvd. Phase I development is slated for 2016.

North Fremont District

North Fremont is a primarily residential district surrounded by Union City, Centerville District, Newark, and Coyote Hills Regional Park. It is a growing community that includes the Ardenwood neighborhood, the Lakes and Birds neighborhood, and the Northgate neighborhood.[35] It is the site of the Ardenwood Historic Farm and the Ardenwood Technology Park. A 99 Ranch Market is one of many Asian businesses in the North Fremont District. In addition, award-winning Ardenwood Elementary School, Forest Park Elementary School and Warwick Elementary School are located in this area.

South Fremont District

South Fremont is a primarily industrial district, east of Interstate 880 and west of Interstate 680, south of Auto Mall Parkway and north of Brown Rd. It is sandwiched between the Irvington and Warm Springs community plan areas. It is noted as the site of the Tesla Factory as well as the site of the pending Warm Springs / South Fremont BART station.

Bayside Industrial District

Bayside Industrial is a primarily industrial and commercial district, west of Interstate 880 between Newark and Milpitas.[20][34]

Baylands District

Baylands is an open space (bay and land) district that stretches from the Bay and engulfs the western edge of North Fremont, Newark, and Bayside Industrial.[20][34] It is the site of the headquarters and visitor center of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Hill Area District

Hill Area is an open land district that forms the eastern edge of Fremont.[20][34] It is the site of Mission Peak.

Climate

Fremont has a Mediterranean climate, typical of the San Francisco Bay Area. Like nearby San Jose, precipitation is fairly low (under 15 inches per year) because the city lies in the rain shadow of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west.

Climate data for Fremont, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 58
(14)
61
(16)
64
(18)
68
(20)
72
(22)
76
(24)
78
(26)
79
(26)
78
(26)
73
(23)
64
(18)
58
(14)
69.1
(20.6)
Average low °F (°C) 42
(6)
45
(7)
47
(8)
50
(10)
53
(12)
56
(13)
58
(14)
58
(14)
58
(14)
54
(12)
47
(8)
42
(6)
50.8
(10.3)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.97
(75.4)
2.89
(73.4)
2.39
(60.7)
0.94
(23.9)
0.42
(10.7)
0.12
(3)
0.03
(0.8)
0.07
(1.8)
0.20
(5.1)
0.90
(22.9)
1.84
(46.7)
2.08
(52.8)
14.85
(377.2)
Source: The Weather Channel

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