The Morgan Hill Unified School District strives to provide students with educational excellence. Primary and secondary public schools are available, as well as a community adult school. The district has been awarded distinctions such as the National Blue Ribbon School award and four local schools have received the California Distinguished Schools award. Also within Morgan Hill are private schools for all grade levels. Gavilan Community College is a short drive away in Gilroy and offers a variety of higher education classes. Other post-secondary schools located nearby include the University of Santa Cruz, California State University at Monterey Bay, and Stanford University.
In addition to excellent schools, Morgan Hill provides an abundance of recreational activities. Within the city limits are two community parks, Coyote Creek Parkway and the Henry Coe State Park. The Coyote Creek Parkway includes multiple-use trails and is located near the Jackson Ranch historic park site and Anderson Lake, Santa Clara County's largest reservoir at 2,365 acres. Boating facilities, equestrian trails, picnic areas and nature trails are popular attractions. The town also boasts five golf courses.
Shopping & Entertainment
Morgan Hill provides residents with plenty of entertainment options. Shoppers will enjoy the city's charming downtown district, which offers boutiques, coffee shops, movie theaters and a bookstore. The city also has several shopping centers housing major department stores and more shopping opportunities can be found in nearby Gilroy, just 10 miles south of Morgan Hill. Visitors can browse a variety of antique shops as well as the Premium Outlet mall, which provides 145 stores offering name brands at discounted prices.
Each year residents and visitors alike attend Morgan Hill's many community events. There are annual Halloween activities and each December locals enjoy the Holiday Parade. The city hosts a major Memorial Day weekend event called Mushroom Mardi Gras, an annual fund-raising event for local non-profit groups. Another highlight is the 4th of July parade and fireworks display. Wine lovers will enjoy the local wine-tasting festival and those thirsty for more can visit some of the area's nine wineries.
Frequent travelers will appreciate Morgan Hill's excellent transportation system. Cal Train provides rush-hour commuter service to San Francisco and there is a bus system connecting local residential areas to Silicon Valley's industrial centers. San Jose Airport is located 20 miles away and San Francisco and Oakland airports are both approximately 60 miles to the north.
The history of Morgan Hill dates back hundreds of years. The area was inhabited first by Native Americans and then by Spanish explorers. Martin Murphy, Sr. was the leader of the first party of pioneers to cross the Sierra Nevada at Truckee Pass. He acquired 9,000 acres of land, an area that grew to over 70,000 acres as it was passed down through his family. Martin's granddaughter Diana secretly married Hiram Morgan Hill in 1886 and the couple built a home between the railroad and Monterey Road. The first Southern Pacific station was built in 1898 and the railway officially named the stop "Huntington." Travelers paid no mind to this "official" name and instead would request the stop at "Morgan Hill's Ranch," thereby establishing the town's name as Morgan Hill.
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