The "Town Clock" tower at the head of Pacific Avenue
|Nickname(s): Surf City|
Location in Santa Cruz County and the state of California
|• Mayor||Hilary Bryant|
|• Senate||Joe Simitian (D)|
|• Assembly||Bill Monning (D)|
|• U.S. Congress||Sam Farr (D)|
|• Total||15.828 sq mi (40.996 km2)|
|• Land||12.740 sq mi (32.997 km2)|
|• Water||3.088 sq mi (7.999 km2) 19.51%|
|Elevation||36 ft (11 m)|
|• Total||60,049 |
|• Density||4,705.3/sq mi (1,816.7/km2)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC−8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC−7)|
|GNIS feature ID||1659596|
Santa Cruz (/ /, Spanish: Holy Cross) is the county seat and largest city of Santa Cruz County, California. As of the 2011 U.S. Census, Santa Cruz had a total population of 60,049. Situated on the northern edge of the Monterey Bay, about 32 mi (51 km) south of San Jose, the city is part of the U.S. Census-designated 11-county San Francisco Bay Area Combined Statistical Area.
Santa Cruz is known for its moderate climate, the natural beauty of its coastline such as at Natural Bridges State Beach, redwood forests, alternative community lifestyles, and socially liberal leanings. It is also home to the University of California, Santa Cruz, a premier research institution and educational hub, as well as the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, an oceanfront amusement park operating continuously since 1907.
The present-day site of Santa Cruz was the location of Spanish settlement beginning in 1791, including Mission Santa Cruz and the pueblo of Branciforte. Following the Mexican–American War of 1846–48, California became the 31st state in 1850. The City of Santa Cruz was chartered in 1866. Important early industries included lumber, gunpowder, lime and agriculture. Late in the 19th century, Santa Cruz established itself as a beach resort community.
Prior to the arrival of Spanish soldiers, missionaries and colonists in the late 18th century, the Santa Cruz area was home to the Ohlone Native Americans. The Ohlone had no written language, and lived in small villages scattered around the Monterey Bay and San Francisco Bay regions. Within fifty years of the Spaniards' arrival, the Ohlone culture and way of life had virtually disappeared in the Santa Cruz area. The only remnants of their spoken language are three local place names: Aptos, Soquel and Zayante.
The first European land exploration of Alta California, the Spanish Portolà expedition led by Gaspar de Portolà, passed through the area on its way north, still searching for the "port of Monterey" described by Sebastian Vizcaino in 1602. The party forded the river (probably near where the Soquel Avenue bridge now stands) and camped nearby on October 17, 1769. Franciscan missionary Juan Crespi, traveling with the expedition, noted in his diary that, "This river was named San Lorenzo." (for Saint Lawrence).
Next morning, the expedition set out again, and Crespi noted that, "Five hundred steps after we started we crossed a good arroyo of running water which descends from some high hills where it rises. It was named Santa Cruz." (which translates as "Holy Cross Creek").
In 1791, Father Fermín Lasuén continued the use of Crespi's name when he declared the establishment of La Misión de la Exaltación de la Santa Cruz (also known as Mission Santa Cruz) for the conversion of the Awaswas of Chatu-Mu and surrounding Ohlone villages. Santa Cruz was the twelfth mission to be founded in California. The creek, however, later lost the name, and is known today as Laurel Creek or Laurel Street Brook because it parallels Laurel Street. It is the main feeder of Neary Lagoon.
In 1797, Governor Diego de Borica, by order of the Viceroy of New Spain, Miguel de la Grúa Talamanca y Branciforte, marqués de Branciforte, established the Villa de Branciforte, a town named in honor of the Viceroy. One of only three civilian towns established in California during the Spanish colonial period (the other two became Los Angeles and San Jose), the Villa was located across the San Lorenzo River, less than a mile from the Mission. Its original main street is now North Branciforte Avenue. Villa de Branciforte later lost its civic status, and in 1905 the area was annexed into the City of Santa Cruz.
In the 1820s, newly independent Mexico assumed control of the area. Following the secularization of the Mission in 1834, the community that had grown up around the Mission was renamed Pueblo de Figueroa. The name didn't catch on, however, and later reverted to Santa Cruz. After 1834, immigrants from the United States began to arrive in steadily increasing numbers. In 1848, following the Mexican–American War, Mexico ceded the territory of Alta California to the U.S. in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. California was the first portion of the territory to become a state, in 1850. Santa Cruz became a city in 1866.
California Powder Works began manufacturing blasting powder for California mining when normal supplies were interrupted by the American Civil War. A powder mill built on the San Lorenzo River upstream of Santa Cruz used charcoal and powder kegs manufactured from local forests. The mill later manufactured smokeless powder used in United States Army Krag-Jørgensen rifles and guns of the United States Navy Pacific and Asiatic fleets. The mill was heavily damaged by a series of explosions on the evening of April 26, 1898. The explosions caused flaming debris to fall on Mission Hill and caused fires threatening the city. The powder works employed 150 to 275 men until operations ceased in 1914.
Santa Cruz was hard hit by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. It was also hit by ocean surges caused by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, wherein the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor sustained an estimated $10 million of damage, with another $4 million of damage to docked boats there.
Santa Cruz has an activist Veteran community. The United Veterans Council sponsors a community-based program for Veterans dealing with re-entry into society as an alternative to government remedies. The Bill Motto VFW post #5888 sponsors anti-war and peace efforts in Santa Cruz and throughout the country. The Veterans Memorial Building is host to punk, reggae, and hip-hop acts from Santa Cruz and around the world. It is also the home of the Bill Motto Post-sponsored Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. These dinners were started by post #5888 in the late seventies. In 2006, the Thanksgiving dinner served 1,400 people. Founded in 1976, The Resource Center for Nonviolence is one of the oldest and most centrally located non-profit organizations committed to political and social activism in Santa Cruz County. The center is "dedicated to promoting the principles of nonviolent social change and enhancing the quality of life and human dignity". In 1998, the Santa Cruz community declared itself a Nuclear-free zone, and in 2003, the Santa Cruz City Council became the first City Council in the U.S. to denounce the Iraq War. The City Council of Santa Cruz also issued a proclamation opposing the USA PATRIOT Act.
As a center of liberal and progressive activism, Santa Cruz became one of the first cities to approve marijuana for medicinal uses. In 1992, residents overwhelmingly approved Measure A, which allowed for the medicinal uses of marijuana. Santa Cruz also became one of the first cities in California to test the state's medical marijuana laws in court after the arrest of Valerie Corral and Mike Corral, founders of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, by the DEA. The case was ruled in favor of the growers. In 2005, the Santa Cruz City Council established a city government office to assist residents with obtaining medical marijuana. On November 7, 2006, the voters of Santa Cruz passed Measure K by a vote of 64-36 percent. Measure K made adult non-medical cannabis offenses the lowest priority for law enforcement; this does not apply to cultivation, distribution, sale in public, sale to minors, or driving under the influence. The measure requests the Santa Cruz city clerk send letters annually to state and federal representatives advocating reform of cannabis laws.
Notable feminist activists Nikki Craft and Ann Simonton resided in Santa Cruz where they formed the "Praying Mantis Brigade". This collection of activists organized the "Myth California Pageant" in the 1980s protesting "the objectification of women and the glorification of the beauty myth." Myth California was staged concurrently with the Miss California pageant held in Santa Cruz since the 1920s. The protests ran for nine years and eventually contributed to the Miss California pageant leaving Santa Cruz. Simonton founded and coordinates the non-profit group "Media Watch" which monitors and critiques media images of women and ethnic minorities. Beginning in 1983 Santa Cruz has hosted an annual Take Back the Night candlelight vigil, rally, march, and protest focusing on the issue of violence against women.
Riots occurred on May 1, 2010, sparked when participants threw jugs of paint at police cars and painted anarchist symbols and anti-capitalist phrases onto buildings. Property damages are estimated to top roughly $100,000. Prior to the riot, a May Day rally was being held for worker and immigrant rights. According to police, the rally was infiltrated by a local anarchists group, who used the rally as a cover for attacking corporate premises. The riots started when the protesters started vandalizing nearby buildings, by 10:30 pm, approximately, a dozen buildings were already vandalized. It then intensified when a group of about ten people began breaking storefront windows at approximately 11:05 pm. Several police officers were stationed downtown, but retreated after protesters threw stones at their vehicles. After calling in backup resources from around the county, law enforcement reached the riots at 11:23 pm, over 45 minutes after it began, this was due to a large number of phony 911 calls, which diverted the police force all around the county.
Occupy Santa Cruz formed as an autonomous organization in solidarity with the worldwide Occupy movement, a broad-based protest against economic and social inequality. Occupy Santa Cruz was most active in the fall of 2011, and included over a thousand active members at its peak. The organization gained most of its publicity when members occupied an empty bank building owned by Wells Fargo. and occupied the building for 72 hours. 11 criminal charges were filed, at least seven of which have been since been dropped.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city covers an area of 15.8 square miles (41 km2), of which 12.7 square miles (33 km2) is land, and 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2) (19.51%) is water.
Santa Cruz has mild weather throughout the year, enjoying a Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb) characterized by cool, wet winters and warm, mostly dry summers. Due to its proximity to Monterey Bay, fog and low overcast are common during the night and morning hours, especially in the summer.
|Climate data for Santa Cruz, California (1981–2010 normals)|
|Average high °F (°C)||60.6
|Average low °F (°C)||40.8
|Precipitation inches (mm)||6.40
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||10.6||10.9||10.0||5.9||3.3||1.3||0.3||0.7||1.5||3.5||7.5||10.7||66.2|
The principal industries of Santa Cruz are agriculture, tourism, education (UCSC) and high technology. Santa Cruz is a center of the organic agriculture movement, and many specialty products as well as housing the headquarters of California Certified Organic Farmers. Tourist attractions include the classic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on the beach, the redwood forests, and Monterey Bay, which is protected as a marine sanctuary.
According to Santa Cruz's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||University of California, Santa Cruz||7,364|
|2||County of Santa Cruz||2,319|
|3||City of Santa Cruz||780|
|5||Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk||347|
|9||New Teacher Center||211|
|10||Santa Cruz Biotechnology||204|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Santa Cruz had a population of 59,946. The population density was 3,787.2 people per square mile (1,462.3/km²). The racial makeup of Santa Cruz was 44,661 (74.5%) White, 1,071 (1.8%) African American, 440 (0.7%) Native American, 4,591 (7.7%) Asian, 108 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 5,673 (9.5%) from other races, and 3,402 (5.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11,624 persons (19.4%).
The Census reported that 51,657 people (86.2% of the population) lived in households, 7,910 (13.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 379 (0.6%) were institutionalized.
There were 21,657 households, out of which 4,817 (22.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 7,310 (33.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,833 (8.5%) had a female householder with no husband present, 862 (4.0%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,802 (8.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 379 (1.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 6,773 households (31.3%) were made up of individuals and 1,862 (8.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39. There were 10,005 families (46.2% of all households); the average family size was 2.92.
The population was spread out with 8,196 people (13.7%) under the age of 18, 17,449 people (29.1%) aged 18 to 24, 15,033 people (25.1%) aged 25 to 44, 13,983 people (23.3%) aged 45 to 64, and 5,285 people (8.8%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29.9 years. For every 100 females there were 100.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.7 males.
There were 23,316 housing units at an average density of 1,473.0 per square mile (568.7/km²), of which 9,375 (43.3%) were owner-occupied, and 12,282 (56.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 3.4%. 22,861 people (38.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 28,796 people (48.0%) lived in rental housing units.
Recorded from the census of 2000, there were 54,593 people total with 20,442 households and 10,404 families residing in the city. The population density includes 1,682.2/km² (4,356.0/sq mi). There were 21,504 housing units at an average density of 1,715.8 per square mile (662.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.7% White, 17.4% Hispanic or Latino, 1.7% African American, 0.9% Native American, 4.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 9.1% from other races, and 4.5% from two or more races.
There were 20,442 households out of which 25.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.0% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.1% were non-families. 29.3% 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 2.44 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the city the population was spread out with 17.3% under the age of 18, 20.5% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 8.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.9 males age 18 and over.
The median income for a household in the city was $50,605, and the median income for a family was $62,231 (these figures had risen to $59,172 and $80,496 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $44,751 versus $32,699 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,758. About 6.6% of families and 16.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.5% of those under age 18 and 4.8% of those age 65 or over.
Santa Cruz consistently suffers the highest property crime rates per capita for medium and large-sized cities in the state of California, in addition to some of the highest violent crime rates in the state of California for medium and large-sized cities. Additionally, Santa Cruz suffers some of the highest rates of homelessness in the nation, with 9,041 estimated homeless in Santa Cruz county in 2011, approximately 3.5% of the total county population. with over 52% of homeless experiencing some form of mental illness, including depression or PTSD and over 26% suffering unspecified mental illness. Additionally, 38% of homeless surveyed in Santa Cruz county in 2011 experienced drug and/or alcohol dependency. In recent years, citizen groups such as Take Back Santa Cruz have lobbied city government and officials to address a perceived public safety crisis that has gathered national attention.
In the state legislature Santa Cruz is located in the 11th Senate District, represented by Democrat Joe Simitian, and in the 27th Assembly District, represented by Democrat and Speaker Pro Tempore Nora Campos. Federally, Santa Cruz is located in California's 20th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +17 and is represented by Democrat Sam Farr.
State Routes 1 and 17 are the main roads in and out of Santa Cruz, with the latter being the primary route north to San Jose and the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area. Geographically constrained between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Monterey Bay, the narrow transportation corridor served by SR 1, California's Pacific Coast Highway, suffers excessive congestion. The ramp from SR 1 northbound to SR 17 southbound, onto Ocean Street, is commonly known as the "fish hook" due to its tightening curve. A project to widen the highway and this interchange was begun in 2006 and completed in the fall of 2008.
Amtrak serves Santa Cruz via Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach from rail connections at Amtrak San Jose Diridon Train Station operated by the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District by way of a partnership with the Amtrak, Capitol Corridor, and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Other rail connections such as ACE train and CalTrain are also available at Amtrak's San Jose passenger station.
Greyhound Lines bus service is another, albeit less commonly used, option for visiting Santa Cruz.
The nearest airports served by major commercial airlines are San Jose International Airport, Monterey Regional Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and Oakland International Airport. The nearest public airport of any kind is Watsonville Municipal Airport, about eight miles to the southeast, which serves general aviation users.
Santa Cruz has an extensive network of bike lanes and bike paths. Most major roads have bike lanes, and wide bike lanes were recently installed on Beach Street, near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Additionally, there are levee bike paths along the San Lorenzo River. A Rail Trail – a bicycle and pedestrian path beside an existing coastal train track—is under consideration.
The Santa Cruz, Big Trees and Pacific Railway operates diesel-electric tourist trains between the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Roaring Camp in Felton, through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, with its famous Redwood Grove walking trail.
Santa Cruz is home to several notable educational institutions, including Soquel High School, Aptos High School, Harbor High School, Pacific Collegiate School (a grade 7–12 charter school), Cypress Charter High School, Georgiana Bruce Kirby Preparatory School (a grade 6–12 private school), Santa Cruz Montessori (an 18 months to 15 years private school) Monterey Coast Preparatory (also a 6–12 private school), Santa Cruz High School, the University of California, Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College, (which is located in nearby Aptos and holds some classes within Santa Cruz city), and Five Branches University.
The Long Marine Laboratory is a marine research facility on the western edge of the city.
By the 1860s, Pacific Avenue had become the main street of downtown Santa Cruz, and remains so today. Local architect Kermit Darrow and landscape architect Roy Rydell were engaged in 1969 to convert several blocks of Pacific Avenue into a semi-pedestrian street named the Pacific Garden Mall. The Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 destroyed nearly all of the 19th-century buildings in the downtown area. After the earthquake, the Pacific Garden Mall theme was eliminated, and an updated downtown design plan by ROMA Design Group was implemented. As of 2012, only one empty lot remains on Pacific Avenue from the destruction of the 1989 earthquake.
Santa Cruz is home to several state parks and beaches, including Lighthouse Field State Beach, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, Twin Lakes State Beach, and Seabright State Beach.
Santa Cruz has five greenbelt districts, including Arana Gulch, Lighthouse Field, Moore Creek, Neary Lagoon, and Pogonip. Pogonip is a city-run park and open space located adjacent to the University of California, Santa Cruz. It includes second-growth redwoods and meadows as well as several streams, and is crossed by several hiking trails. The Pogonip also includes a former country club, with its golf courses and polo fields. The park is named after a type of freezing fog called pogonip, that forms beard-like ice crystal accumulations on almost any surface, but especially on the branches of trees and bushes, where the ice crystals form hanging structures with a distinctly beard-like appearance. The name "pogonip" is descriptive of the characteristic, beard-like, ice crystal formations associated with this type of freezing fog. There are also three regional parks and twenty-one neighborhood parks.
Año Nuevo State Marine Conservation Area, Greyhound Rock State Marine Conservation Area, and Natural Bridges State Marine Reserve are marine protected areas off the coast of Santa Cruz. Like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.
Santa Cruz is well known for watersports such as sailing, diving, swimming, paddling, and is regarded as one of the best spots in the world for surfing. It is the home of O'Neill Wetsuits and Santa Cruz Surfboards, as well as Santa Cruz Skateboards and Santa Cruz Bicycles. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is California’s oldest amusement park and a designated State Historic Landmark. It is family-operated, and celebrated its Centennial in 2007. It is home to the iconic Giant Dipper roller coaster, which is currently the fifth oldest coaster in the United States. Home to a National Historic Landmark, a 1911 Charles I. D. Looff Carousel and 1924 Giant Dipper roller coaster, the Boardwalk has been owned and operated by the Santa Cruz Seaside Company since 1915.
In one of the first published descriptions of surfing in California, three Hawaiian princes, Prince Edward Keliʻiahonui, Prince David Kawānanakoa and Prince Jonah Kalanianaʻole, surfed on locally milled redwood boards at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River in July 1885. Santa Cruz has 11 world-class surf breaks, including the point breaks over rock bottoms near Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point, which create some of the best surfing waves in the world. The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum at Steamer Lane is staffed by docents from the Santa Cruz Surfing Club who have surfed Santa Cruz waves since the 1930s. Santa Cruz hosts several surf contests drawing international participants each year, including the O'Neill Cold Water Classic, the International Longboard Association contest, and many others.
The Santa Cruz Wharf is known for fishing, viewing marine mammals and other recreation. Local parks offer many opportunities for birding and butterfly watching, as well as outdoor sports such as skateboarding, cycling, camping, hiking, and rock climbing. In addition to its reputation in surfing and skateboarding, Santa Cruz is known for other sports such as disc golf. The Santa Cruz Skatepark is open to the public 7 days a week and is free. The De Laveaga Disc Golf Course hosts PDGA tournaments, including the annual Masters Cup. De Laveaga was the disc golf and discathon venue for the WFDF-sanctioned World Disc Games overall event held in Santa Cruz in July 2005.
In recent years, Santa Cruz has become home to several minor-league and amateur sports teams. The Santa Cruz Warriors (an NBA D-League team), and Santa Cruz Derby Girls (an amateur roller derby league) regularly play games in the Kaiser Permanente Arena.
Santa Cruz has several smaller attractions, including the University of California, Santa Cruz, Arboretum, Mission Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, First Friday Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Art League (which includes an art gallery, theater, and classroom), and the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum which is housed in a lighthouse near Steamer Lane.
The Monterey-Salinas metropolitan statistical (or service) area (MSA) is served by a variety of local television stations, and is the 124th largest designated market area (DMA) in the U.S. with 222,900 homes:
The Santa Cruz Sentinel is Santa Cruz's only daily newspaper. The area is also served by the weekly newspapers Good Times and Santa Cruz Weekly and the legal paper Santa Cruz Record. University of California has its own publication, City on a Hill Press, and an alternative humor publication, Fish Rap Live!. There is also an online newspaper called Santa Cruz Wire.
After Huntington Beach, California, trademarked the "Surf City USA" name, Santa Cruz politicians tried to stop the mark from being registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office because of a 10-year-old controversy over Santa Cruz's nickname "Surf City." Huntington Beach has obtained a total of seven registrations for the "Surf City USA" trademark. None of these registrations of the trademark are on the principal register, but on the secondary register, which means that Huntington Beach has no exclusive right to assert ownership over the "Surf City USA" trademark. Two Santa Cruz surf shops, Shoreline Surf Shop and Noland's on the Wharf, sued the city of Huntington Beach in order to protect the public use of the term "Surf City." The parties reached a confidential settlement in January 2008, in which neither side admitted liability and all claims and counterclaims were dismissed. The Santa Cruz surf shops continue to print t-shirts, and the Visitor's Bureau retains the right to use the trademark. In 2009 Steve Marble, of Los Angeles Times' L.A. Now news blog, wrote an article The real Surf City? It's Santa Cruz, says magazine saying: "But Surfer magazine proclaims Santa Cruz to be 'The Real Surf City, USA,' after it considered the surf, food and vibe of the nations' best known surf towns." Steve Marble quotes Surfer: "Huntington Beach may have won the right to the name ‘Surf City, USA’ in the California courts, but any surfer who’s ever paddled out at Steamer Lane knows the judge got it wrong.”
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