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On November 7, 2002, Mountain View marked its Centennial, celebrating 100 years since the City's incorporation.
On that date in 1902, the 611 residents of the town, located 35 miles south of San Francisco and 10 miles north of San Jose voted to incorporate under State law. Since that time, Mountain View has grown into a modern and dynamic metropolitan area in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Before incorporating, Mountain View was home to Ohlone Indians, Spanish missionaries and settlers lured to California by the Gold Rush. In 1850, when California became a state, a new stage line opened between San Francisco and San Jose, with a new settlement forming at the corner of present-day Grand Road and El Camino Real.
Mountain View's First Board of Trustees
The Castro Family Home, 1851
In 1851, the Castro familiy built their first home and, later, donated land to the railroad, creating Mountain View's first flag stop. S.O. Houghton donated property near Castro Street and Evenlyn Avenue for another train stop, shifting the focus of the growing community from the original settlement to what we know now as Downtown Mountain View.
The final decades of the 1800s brought new immigrants who introduced orchards and vineyards to the area. One of the most ambitious of these was new arrival Henry Rengstorff, who built a boat landing along the Bay, located in present-day Shoreline at Mountain View park. Another young adventurer was Charles Morse, who worked as a house painter until he was able to save up for a 100-acre seed farm that ultimately became Ferry-Morse Seeds.
The success of Morse and other ranchers and farmers helped contribute to the nickname for the entire region, "Valley of the Heart's Delight."
Castro Street, 1904
By the time of its incorporation in 1902, there were 611 residents living in downtown Mountain View. By 1910, the main streets had been scraped and graveled, and the first two blocks of Castro Street were sporting concrete gutters and curbs. The city paper touted the newly incorporated City's virtues, including electric lights, a water system, a $10,000 high school and rural mail delivery.
In 2002, the City of Mountain View hosted numerous events to celebrate the Centennial, including the "Within The Walls of City Hall" exhibit, showcasing 100 years of city historical documents and artifacts from the City departments.
Centennial Historical Mountain View Feature* (PDF—5 MB)
Other events included a lively Kids, Kites and Cookies event out at Shoreline at Mountain View, an Ice Cream Social in Cuesta Park and a rainy, but enthusiastic opening of Centennial Plaza.
Centennial Plaza, located at Castro Street and Evelyn Avenue, features a train station building designed in the style of Mountain View's original 1888 Southern Pacific train station.
The building is surrounded by a formal plaza with an entry arbor, antique-style streetlights, and a sitting area encircled with personalized, commemorative bricks honoring the City's Centennial.
Centennial Brick Quadrant* (PDF—113K)
More Centennial Publications