A suburban community on the west side of the Santa Clara Valley, directly west of San Jose, Saratoga, California, lies within in the San Francisco Bay Area on more than 12 square miles in Santa Clara County. The mid-sized city has experienced slight growth over the past decade, with estimates in 2008 putting the population at around 30,500, a 2% increase since the 2000 census. The population is richly diverse, with nearly a quarter of residents having been born outside the United States.
Saratoga was originally settled in 1848, when William Campbell, father of the founder of nearby Campbell, California, opened a sawmill about 2 miles south of what is now the downtown area. It name changed several times: In 1855, a post office opened in the town under the name McCarthysville; in 1863, after the town had experienced some positive growth and development, it was renamed Bank Mills; and finally, in 1865, it was renamed Saratoga because a spring with content similar to the spring in Saratoga Springs, New York, was discovered. The city incorporated in 1956.
Saratoga sits on the western edge of the Silicon Valley, and more than 35% of residents are employed in the computer and electronic products industry. The city has a low unemployment rate and has weathered the financial crisis much better than many of its neighbors. In October 2009, its unemployment rate was just 6.1%, half that of the state's average of 12.3%. Residents here tend to be quite affluent and as a result, Saratoga real estate prices can be quite high. In 2008, median annual household income was measured at more than $167,000, with per capita income at more than $80,000. The estimated value for Saratoga homes at that time was more than $1.7 million.
Children living in Saratoga will be zoned to one of four elementary and three high school districts serving the city, operating seven elementary, five middle schools and five high schools. Three major private schools are here as well, the Challegner School, St. Andrew's and Sacred Heart, as well as several smaller schools. For post-secondary education, West Valley Community College is in Saratoga. The nearest hospital is just four miles away in Los Gatos. Attractions in Saratoga include the Villa Montalvo and Villa Montalvo Arboretum, home of the Montalvo Center for the Arts, the Saratoga Historical Museum, the Youth Science Institute Sanborn Discovery Center and Hakone Gardens, a Japanese garden. The city maintains 13 city parks, and Sanborn County Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains is between Saratoga and Skyline Boulevard. Mountain Winery is a seasonal concert venue and major vineyards include Savannah-Chanelle and Cooper Garrod Estate. There are more than half a dozen shopping centers providing a multitude of products.
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