An incorporated town in Santa Clara County, Los Gatos, California, lies in the San Francisco Bay Area, south of the bay, in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It makes up an area of almost 11 square miles, and is home to a population that has seen slight growth of about 2.5% since the 2000 census to about 30,000 in July 2008. The city is quite diverse, with about 15% of its residents born outside of the United States. State Route 17 runs north-south through the city. Los Gatos is a known destination for antique shopping, and it has 10 vineyards.
Los Gatos was first founded in the mid 1850s, when a flour mill was founded here alongside Los Gatos Creek. The subsequent settlement was first named after the mill but changed its name to Los Gatos after a Spanish Land Grant. The name comes from the land grant in 1839 of much of the area, called Rancho Rinconada de Los Gatos (“the corner of the cats”). The town was incorporated in 1887 and became an important stop on the logging industry through the 19th century. At the turn of the 20th century, its agriculture industry began to flourish, with apricots, grapes and prunes. In the post-war era, the area began to experience swift development and the city became more suburban in feel.
Today, Los Gatos residents are more affluent than most of their counterparts throughout the state, and Los Gatos real estate is likewise higher. The estimated median household income in 2008 was around $113,000, with per capita income around $70,000. At that same time, Los Gatos homes were estimated to have a median value of around $1.3 million. Because of its proximity to Silicon Valley, many residents work there: about 35% of the population is employed in the computer and electronic products sector. Los Gatos has managed to withstand the financial crisis slightly better than many surrounding areas. As of October 2009, the city had an unemployment rate of just 7.9%, compared with California’s state average of 12.3%. Buongiorno, Cryptic Studios and Netflix are headquartered here.
Children who live in Los Gatos are served by 10 public elementary, three middle schools and four high schools. Private schools in the community include Yavneh Day School, Los Gatos Christian School, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Elementary School, and four secular private schools, Los Gatos Academy, Hillbrook School, Mulberry School and Stratford School. The Los Gatos Public Library serves residents, and medical attention can be received at the Community Hospital Los Gatos. For access to transportation, residents can take the Valley Transit Authority-operated buses, which travel from Santa Cruz and Main to the Winchester Transit Center. Connections can be made to Caltrain trains in nearby Santa Clara or to VTA light rail trains in Campbell. The nearest international airports are San Jose International Airport, San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport.
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