ⓘ Saratoga, California. Saratoga is a town in Santa Clara County, California, United States. It is located on the west side of the Santa Clara Valley, directly we ..

Saratoga, California

ⓘ Saratoga, California

Saratoga is a town in Santa Clara County, California, United States. 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 restaurants. Major attractions of Saratoga include Villa Montalvo, Hakone Gardens, and the Mountain Winery.

The 2016 Coldwell Banker Home Listing Report listed Saratoga as the most expensive housing market in the United States. In 2010 Bloomberg Businessweek named Saratoga the most expensive suburb in California. According to CNN Money 70.42% of Saratoga households have an income greater than $100.000. Saratoga also was ranked by Forbes in 2009 as one of Americas top 20 most-educated small towns. Bloomberg Businessweek also named Saratogas zip code 95070 the 18th richest zip code in America in 2011. In 2018, data from the American Community Survey revealed that Saratoga was the 8th wealthiest city in the United States.


1. History

This area was earlier inhabited by the Ohlone Native Americans. European settlers imposed a displacement and created a settlement of what is now Saratoga in 1847, when William Campbell, constructed a sawmill about 2.5 miles 4.0 km southeast of the present downtown area. An early map noted the area as Campbells 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.

  • Saratoga in 1906

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. Californias 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.


2.1. Government Local

Saratoga is a general law city under California law, meaning that the organization and powers of the city are established by state law. It has a council–manager form of government.

The city council is made up of five members elected by the public. The council appoints a mayor and vice mayor from its membership, with the vice mayor serving in the absence of the mayor. The mayor has no veto power, but acts as chairman for council meetings, and serves as a visible head of government. Council members serve four-year terms, with the election of two and three members staggered every two years.

The city manager is the administrative head of the government, and also serves as city treasurer. The managers duties include preparing financial reports, submitting an annual budget, managing city employees, seeing that city ordinances are enforced, supervising city property, and investigating complaints against the city. The manager also appoints the city clerk.

In addition to the council and manager, the city has a number of commissions that serve to advise the council on various issues. Commission members are appointed by the council, and serve a maximum of two four year terms. Currently, the city has commissions for finance, youth issues, heritage preservation, the library, parks and recreation, planning, and traffic safety.

The Saratoga City Council has had to make many controversial decisions in a community with residents known to be protectionist of their existing exclusivity. The council was a leader in dealing with the unfunded pension crisis in California.


2.2. Government State and federal representation

In the California State Legislature, Saratoga is in the 15th Senate District, represented by Democrat Jim Beall, and in the 28th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Evan Low.

In the United States House of Representatives, Saratoga is in Californias 18th congressional district, represented by Democrat Anna Eshoo.


3. Geography

Saratoga is bordered by Cupertino and San Jose to the north, a small portion of Campbell and Los Gatos to the east, and Monte Sereno to the southeast. Saratoga is located at 37°16′21″N 122°01′10″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.4 square miles 32 km 2, all of it land. Within its borders, Saratoga includes lush redwood forests, foothills suitable for wine grapes and sunny valley floor once covered with prune and apricot orchards, now with suburban homes, schools and churches.

Neighborhoods in Saratoga include Brookview and Prides Crossing in the north part of the city, Blue Hills and Greenbrier in the northwest area, and Congress Springs in the southwestern corner of Saratoga. The Golden Triangle, a name invented by real estate agents, is an area bounded by Saratoga Avenue, Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road and Cox Avenue. The Golden Triangle consists mostly of four-bedroom ranch homes values ranging between 1 and 3 million dollars on quarter acre lots gradually being replaced by Mediterranean custom designs. Northeast of the Golden Triangle is a neighborhood known as Saratoga Woods, a small community located behind Prospect High School north of Cox. Bellgrove Circle is a popular neighborhood located next to highway 85. The land of Bellgrove Circle, once used as a vineyard, was previously owned by Paul Masson Winery and is east of Saratoga Avenue and north of Rt 85. Kentfield is south of Rt 85 and also east of Saratoga Avenue. Parker Ranch is a very affluent neighborhood with 1-acre 4.000 m 2 minimum lots, west of Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road and up into the hills. The downtown area along Big Basin Way is known as the Village.


4.1. Demographics 2010

The 2010 United States Census reported that Saratoga had a population of 29.926. The population density was 2.416.9 people per square mile 933.2/km². The racial makeup of Saratoga was 16.125 53.9% White, 94 0.3% African American, 41 0.1% Native American, 12.376 41.4% Asian, 23 0.1% Pacific Islander, 202 0.7% from other races, and 1.065 3.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.034 persons 3.5%.

The Census reported that 29.727 people 99.3% of the population lived in households, 34 0.1% lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 165 0.6% were institutionalized.

There were 10.734 households, out of which 4.024 37.5% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 7.893 73.5% were opposite-sex married couples living together, 608 5.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 213 2.0% had a male householder with no wife present. There were 159 1.5% unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 44 0.4% same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1.740 households 16.2% were made up of individuals and 1.115 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77. There were 8.714 families 81.2% of all households; the average family size was 3.11.

The population was spread out with 7.173 people 24.0% under the age of 18, 1.390 people 4.6% aged 18 to 24, 4.678 people 15.6% aged 25 to 44, 10.598 people 35.4% aged 45 to 64, and 6.087 people 20.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.6 males.

There were 11.123 housing units at an average density of 898.3 per square mile 346.8/km², of which 9.258 86.2% were owner-occupied, and 1.476 13.8% were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.7%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.3%. 26.201 people 87.6% of the population lived in owner-occupied housing units and 3.526 people 11.8% lived in rental housing units.

In 2011 Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the average household income was $237.804 with an average household net worth of $1.516.018.


4.2. Demographics 2000

As of the census of 2000, there are 29.843 people, 10.450 households, and 8.600 families residing in the city. The population density is 951.5/km² 2.465.3/mi². There are 10.649 housing units at an average density of 339.5/km² 879.7/mi². The racial makeup of the city is 67.39% White, 0.39% African American, 0.15% Native American, 29.08% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.57% from other races, and 2.33% from two or more races. 3.14% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 10.450 households out of which 38.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 75.0% were married couples living together, 4.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.7% were non-families. 14.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.13. The population-age distribution is as follows: 26.0% under the age of 18, 4.0% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 29.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.6 males.

According to a 2007 estimate the median income for a household in the city was $137.270, and the median income for a family was $159.765. Males had a median income of $75.000 versus $66.240 for females. The per capita income for the city was $65.400. About 1.8% of families and 2.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.2% of those under age 18 and 2.6% over 64.


5. Politics

According to the California Secretary of State, as of February 10, 2017, Saratoga has 20.163 registered voters. Of those, 7.433 36.9% are registered Democrats, 5.426 26.9% are registered Republicans, and 6.806 33.8% have declined to state a political party.


6. Transportation

Saratoga has several major roads including Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road, Saratoga-Los Gatos Road Highway 9, Cox Avenue, Saratoga Avenue, Fruitvale Avenue, Pierce Road, Quito Road and Congress Springs Road. The original alignment of Highway 85 along Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road was deleted in 1994 when the West Valley Freeway was completed. The freeway passes through northeast Saratoga. Highway 85 has one onramp/offramp within the city, at Saratoga Avenue; while the original plans for the freeway also included exits at Quito Road and Prospect Avenue, objections by residents kept those interchanges from being constructed. Street signs are brown in color.

Union Pacific Railroad operates freight through the region. The rail line travels parallel to Route 85. Passenger trains operated from 1908 to 1964, delivering commuters to San Francisco in 90 minutes. Saratoga has no passenger train service: it has minimal bus service.

Saratoga also has a zoning code aimed at preserving a semi-rural appearance. Saratoga emphasizes its semi-rural appearance by foregoing street lights and sidewalks on most residential streets. This contributes to Saratogas high housing costs.

The Blue Hills neighborhood of Saratoga has many hiking trails for use by residents that are owned by the City of Saratoga.


7. 2012 rape case

Saratoga drew notoriety for the rape and the subsequent suicide of then-15-year-old Saratoga High School student Audrie Pott in September 2012. The three teenagers charged with sexually assaulting Pott pleaded guilty and served time in juvenile hall for the sexual assault.


8. Notable people

  • James Williamson born 1949, electronics engineer and guitarist of the Stooges
  • Devon Graye born 1987, Actor who plays Luke in the Nickelodeon movie Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh
  • Lance Guest born 1960, Actor
  • Dan Rusanowsky born 1960, San Jose Sharks Radio Play-by-Play Broadcaster
  • Joe Thornton born 1979, current San Jose Sharks player
  • Kerri Walsh born 1978, Gold Medal Olympic Athlete in Beach Volleyball
  • Vienna Teng born 1978, Singer
  • Ernest Konnyu born 1937, Republican Congressman who resided in Saratoga while in office.
  • Mekenna Melvin born 1985, actress
  • James Rumbaugh born 1947, Computer scientist
  • Joan Fontaine 1917–2013, Actress
  • Patrick Marleau born 1979, former San Jose Sharks player
  • Abijah McCall, orchardist and inventor of the Fresno Scraper
  • Steve Harwell born 1967, lead singer of the band Smash Mouth
  • Stephanie Elam born 1974, News Anchor CNN; NBC
  • Alex Brightman born 1987, Broadway Actor Beetlejuice, School of Rock
  • Joe Murray born 1961, an Emmy-winning animator, best known as the creator of Rockos Modern Life and Camp Lazlo.
  • Steven Spielberg born 1946, Filmmaker. Graduated from Saratoga High, having attended it for his senior year.
  • Sam Liccardo born 1970, San Jose Mayor
  • Michael Burry born 1971, American physician and hedge fund manager
  • Dan Janjigian born 1972, actor and bobsledder
  • Olivia de Havilland born 1916, Actress
  • Anil Kumar born 1958, management consultant who pled guilty to insider trading
  • Anil Raj 1984–2019, humanitarian activist, killed in terror attack in Kabul in 2019 while working for U.N.
  • Beth Lisick born 1968, spoken-word artist, leader of the band The Beth Lisick Ordeal, and author


9. Attractions

  • Villa Montalvo and Villa Montalvo Arboretum, home of the Montalvo Center for the Arts
  • Madronia Cemetery, final resting place of Mary Ann Day Brown
  • Hakone Gardens, a Japanese garden where scenes from the movie Memoirs of a Geisha were filmed
  • Mountain Winery, a seasonal concert venue
  • Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards
  • Sanborn County Park, a 3.688 acres 14.92 km 2 park

10. Education

Various public school districts serve Saratoga. At elementary level grades K to 8 these include Saratoga Union School District, Campbell Union School District, Cupertino Union School District and Moreland School District. High school districts that serve Saratoga include the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District, Fremont Union High School District and Campbell Union High School District. These districts provide a number of high schools including Saratoga High School, Monta Vista High School located in Cupertino but servicing a portion of Saratoga, Lynbrook High School located in San Jose but servicing a portion of Saratoga as well, Prospect High School and Westmont High School located in San Jose but servicing a portion of Saratoga.

Private schools in the area include Challenger School, Saint Andrews School, and Sacred Heart School.

West Valley Community College provides college-level education in the district whilst the Santa Clara County Library District operates the Saratoga Library.