San Marcos, California
According to historical legends, the San Luis Rey Mission flocks were robbed by a small band of Indians one named santo and the other named scuanto, in the late 1700s. Fleeing the Spanish troops, the Indians escaped to the hills. While pursuing the Indians, the¬†Spaniards¬†came upon a fertile valley in 1797 which was named Los Vallecitos de San Marcos (Little Valleys of Saint Mark) to honor the day of discovery: April 25, ‚ÄúSt. Mark‚Äôs Day‚ÄĚ. On April 22, 1840, Governor¬†Juan B. Alvarado¬†granted¬†Rancho Vallecitos de San Marcos¬†to his relative,¬†Jose Mar√≠a Alvarado. Jose Alvarado was killed at the¬†Pauma Massacre¬†in 1846, and the land was left to his wife; she then sold the land to Lorenzo Soto. In the late 1850s, Soto sold part of his land to Cave Couts and his family was soon raising livestock. Although Cave Couts owned the land, Major Gustavus French Merriam from Topeka, Kansas made the first permanent settlement. Merriam homesteaded 160¬†acres (0.65¬†km2) in the north Twin Oaks Valley and began wine and honey production.
After Major Merriam‚Äôs settlement, German and Dutch immigrants began moving into the area in the early 1880s. Then in 1883 a few miles south of the settlement, John H. Barham founded the first town in the area. By 1884, the town of Barham had a post office, blacksmith, feed store and a weekly newspaper. In 1887 the San Marcos Land Company bought almost all of the San Marcos land formerly owned by the Couts family and promptly divided the land into tracts. Soon the beautiful hills began attracting home-seekers.
The original town of San Marcos was at the intersection of what is now Grand Avenue and Rancho Santa Fe Road. In 1887 the Santa Fe Railroad announced that it was going to lay tracks going through the valley, but to the disappointment of the citizens, the tracks were laid one mile (1.6¬†km) away from the center of the town. By 1896, San Marcos was a community with its own stores, post office, blacksmith and railroad depot. In 1903, the town appeared to be going downhill so the people of San Marcos picked up their homes and moved along the railroad tracks to what now are Mission Road and Pico Avenue. In 1905, the town had every convenience, including rural mail delivery and telephone service. The first school in the area, which had started in Barham in 1880, was moved in 1889 to San Marcos. Later that same year, the Richland School was built, being the second school in San Marcos. The main business in San Marcos in the 1800s and early 1900s was farming. Then in the mid-1900s, dairies and poultry production became a big part of the business in the town.
San Marcos experienced a period of growth from 1956 onward, when the first water from the Colorado River arrived. Several small businesses were founded and the population rapidly increased to 2,500. San Marcos became an incorporated city on January 28, 1963. In the 1970s, San Marcos was flourishing as the third fastest-growing city in the state with a population of 17,479 by 1980. The population continued to boom over the next two decades, reaching 33,800 in 1990 and 82,743 in 2000.
San Marcos is located at¬†33¬į8‚Ä≤31‚Ä≥N¬†117¬į10‚Ä≤13‚Ä≥W¬†(33.142077, -117.170233).
According to the¬†United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 61.7¬†km¬≤ (23.8¬†mi¬≤). 61.5¬†km¬≤ (23.8¬†mi¬≤) of it is land and 0.2¬†km¬≤ (0.1¬†mi¬≤) of it (0.29%) is water.
San Marcos is quickly becoming known as the educational hub of San Diego North with its award-winning school district, Palomar Community College and California State University San Marcos. Easy commutes are also available to other nearby colleges/universities as well as several employee skills training opportunities.
San Marcos Unified School District
San Marcos Unified School District is arguably one of the best school districts in San Diego County and even in the state of California. It is apparent, that students enrolled in SMUSD schools tend to score higher on California State Tests than their peers. The similar schools ranking of the CA API scores is the best indicator of how students perform when compared to other schools with similar demographics, socioeconomic status, etc. For the 2008 CA state test, SMUSD schools received an average similar schools ranking of 8.875,¬†the highest average of any K-12 district in San Diego County.¬†In addition, Caucasian, Filipino, and African American students enrolled within SMUSD have the highest API scores for their ethnicity among all K-12 districts.
The San Marcos Unified School District is one of the largest school districts in San Diego County and includes 19 schools with diverse educational programs for kindergarten through adult education students. SMUSD has 11 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 2 comprehensive high schools, 1 charter high school,1 independent study high school and 1 continuation school. SMUSD serves more than 17,851 students in San Marcos, as well as sections of Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and some unincorporated areas of the County.
High Tech High & Middle, North County
High Tech High and Middle are both charter schools located in San Marcos. High Tech High, which started with a single school in 2000, is known for its small-school settings, where students learn through projects, internships and interaction with professionals.
The main 200-acre (0.81¬†km2) campus of Palomar College is located in northern San Marcos. It is a public two-year¬†community college¬†and is a member of the¬†California Community Collegessystem. Palomar enrolls approximately 30,000 full-time and part-time students. Palomar offers more than 250 associate degree and certificate programs, and residents of California are charged $26 per unit.
A giant letter P (for “Palomar”) on the hillside above the campus is a ubiquitous landmark for San Marcos, visible miles away.
CSU San Marcos
CSU San Marcos is a smaller campus in the¬†California State University¬†system. It was founded in 1989 and built on a 304-acre (1.23¬†km2) hillside in northern San Marcos. It enrolls about 9,000 students and offers 44 undergraduate programs, 10 graduate programs and 1 Doctorate in Education in three colleges and one nursing school.
University of St. Augustine
The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences is a Physical and Occupational Therapy graduate institution. The university’s mission is the professional development of health care providers through innovative and individualized education. They offer a unique, hands-on curriculum which provides students with the tools it takes to become skilled clinicians.
San Marcos is governed by a¬†council-manager¬†system. The city council consists of a mayor and four City Council Members, who are elected at-large to alternating four-year terms. The current mayor is Jim Desmond. The current Vice Mayor is Hal Martin. Current City Council Members are Rebecca Jones, Chris Orlando, and Mike Preston. The current City Manager is Paul Malone.
As of the¬†census¬†of 2010, there were 84,391 people, 18,210 households, and 13,201 families residing in the city. The¬†population density¬†was 893.4/km¬≤ (2,314.3/mi¬≤). There were 18,862 housing units at an average density of 306.5/km¬≤ (794.0/mi¬≤). The racial makeup of the city was 52.39%¬†White, 3.10%¬†Black, 0.82%¬†Native American,11.67%¬†Asian, 0.24%¬†Pacific Islander, 25.39% from¬†other races, and 4.48% from two or more races.¬†Hispanic¬†or¬†Latinos¬†were 43.87% of the population.
There were 18,210 households out of which 39.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.6% were¬†married couples¬†living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.0% were non-families. 20.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.03 and the average family size was 3.46.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.1% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 17.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 98.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $45,908, and the median income for a family was $51,292. Males had a median income of $36,297 versus $27,015 for females. The¬†per capita income¬†for the city was $18,657. About 7.8% of families and 12.0% of the population were below the¬†poverty line, including 14.5% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.
According to estimates by the¬†San Diego Association of Governments, the¬†median household income¬†of San Marcos in 2005 was $63,558 (not adjusted for¬†inflation). When adjusted for¬†inflation¬†(1999 dollars; comparable to¬†Census¬†data above), the median household income was $51,611.
In the¬†state legislature¬†San Marcos is located in the 38th¬†Senate¬†District, represented by¬†Republican¬†Mark Wyland, and in the 74th¬†Assembly¬†District, represented by Republican¬†Martin Garrick. Federally, San Marcos is located in¬†California’s 50th congressional district, which has a¬†Cook PVI¬†of R +5¬†and is represented by Republican¬†Brian Bilbray.
- Coronado Hills
- Creek District
- Discovery Hills
- Lake San Marcos
- Rancho Coronado
- San Elijo Hills
- Santa Fe Hills
- Twin Oaks Valley
- University District
San Marcos is known for having some of the best restaurants in North County. Old California Restaurant Row features a large concentration of restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. San Marcos is also known for its very popular chain restaurants throughout the city. Notable Restaurants and Restaurant Chains Include:
- Panera Bread
- Chins Schezwan
- Mr. Taco
- Cold Stone
- Boudin San Francisco (one of three locations in SoCal)
- Elephant Bar (one of 2 SD locations)
- Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza
- Phil’s BBQ ( one of 2 locations in SD county, opening fall 2010)
- Broken Yolk Cafe (one of 5 in the county)
- Chick Fila (one of 5 in the county)
- In N Out
San Marcos is also known for the abundance of shopping as well:
- Nordstrom Rack
- Frys Electronics
- Sprouts Market
- Best Buy
- Home Depot
- Sports Chalet
- Harley Davison
San Marcos features several golf courses, notably¬†Lake San Marcos, which itself is a recreational venue. Recently, the growth of Cal State San Marcos has led to great opportunities for youth (such as the high-tech sector) are increasingly setting up workshop in the city’s robust economy.
San Marcos is has also become known for its abundance of open space and parks in recent years. Miles of trails have been planned and constructed to facilitate biking throughout the city. A popular destination is the top of Double Peak Park, which features a panorama of northern San Diego County from the highest coastal peak in the county. On a clear day one can see the San Bernardino Mountains in Los Angeles and the skyscrapers of downtown San Diego.
A lighted cross, which stands on a hill above Lake San Marcos and is visible at night from many parts of the city, has been a community landmark for decades.