San Mateo ( SAN m?-TAY-oh; Spanish for "Saint Matthew") is a city in San Mateo County, California, in the high-tech enclave of Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Bay Area. With a population of 97,207 as of the 2010 census, it is one of the larger suburbs on the San Francisco Peninsula, located between Burlingame to the north, Foster City and San Francisco Bay to the east, Belmont to the south, and Highlands-Baywood Park and Hillsborough to the west. As of 2013, the city’s population exceeded 101,000. San Mateo was incorporated in 1894. By car, San Mateo is about thirty minutes from downtown San Jose and twenty-five minutes from downtown San Francisco.
Documented by Spanish colonists as part of the Rancho de las Pulgas (literally "Ranch of the Fleas") and the Rancho San Mateo, the earliest history is held in the archives of Mission Dolores. In 1789 the Spanish missionaries had named a Native American village along Laurel Creek as Los Laureles or the Laurels (Mission Dolores, 1789). At the time of Mexican Independence there were 30 native Californians at San Mateo, most likely from the Salson tribelet
Captain Fredrick W. Beechey in 1826 traveling with the hills on their right, known in that part as the Sierra del Sur, began to approach the road, which passing over a small eminence, opened out upon “a wide country of meadow land, with clusters of fine oak free from underwood… It strongly resembled a noblemans park: herds of cattle and horses were grazing upon the rich pasture, and numerous fallow?deer, startled at the approach of strangers, bounded off to seek protection among the hills… This spot is named San Matheo, and belongs to the mission of San Francisco.” An 1835 sketch map of the Rancho refers to the creek as arroyo de los Laureles. In the 21st century, most of the laurels are gone, removed for development.
In 1810 Coyote Point was an early recorded feature of San Mateo. Beginning in the 1850s, some wealthy San Franciscans began building summer or permanent homes in the milder mid-peninsula. While most of this early settlement occurred in adjacent Hillsborough and Burlingame, a number of historically important mansions and buildings were constructed in San Mateo.
A.P. Giannini, founder of the Bank of Italy (which later became the Bank of America), lived here most of his life. His mansion, Seven Oaks, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places (No.99001181). Located at 20 El Cerrito Drive, it has been deteriorating as it has not been preserved or occupied for years.
In 1858 Sun Water Station, a stage station of the Butterfield Overland Mail route, was established in San Mateo. It was located 9 miles south of Clarks Station in what is now San Bruno and 9 miles north of the next station at Redwood City.
The Howard Estate was built in 1859 on the hill accessed by Crystal Springs Road. The Parrott Estate was erected in 1860 in the same area, giving rise to two conflicting names for the hill, Howard Hill and Parrot Hill. After use of the automobile changed traffic patterns, neither historic name was commonly applied to that hill (Brown, 1975). The Borel Estate was developed near Borel Creek in 1874. It has been redeveloped since the late 20th century for use as modern offices and shops. The property is managed and owned by Borel Place Associates and the Borel Estate Company.
Hayward Park, the 1880 American Queen Anne-style residence of Alvinza Hayward (often said to be "Californias first millionaire" from his silver and banking fortunes), was built on an 800-acre (3.2 km2) estate in San Mateo which included a deer park and racetrack, roughly bounded by present-day El Camino Real (on the west), 9th Avenue (on the north), B Street (on the east) and 16th Avenue (on the south). A smaller portion of the property and the mansion, was converted into The Peninsula Hotel in 1908, following Haywards death in 1904. The Hotel burned down in a spectacular fire on 25 June 1920.
The Eugene J. De Sabla Japanese Teahouse and Garden was established in 1894 at 70 De Sabla Road, designed by Makoto Hagiwara, designer of the Japanese garden in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. He arranged for Japanese artisans to be brought to the United States primarily for its teahouse construction. The parcel was purchased in 1988 by San Francisco businessman Achille Paladini and wife Joan, who have restored it. The garden features hundreds of varieties of plants and several rare trees. A large koi pond surrounds an island. The property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
The best-known natural area is Coyote Point Park, a rock outcropped peninsula that juts out into the San Francisco Bay. The early Spanish navigators named it la punta de San Mateo. Crews of American cargo ships carrying grain in the bay renamed it Big Coyote (BLM, 1853). Sailors had a penchant for naming promontories at the edge of San Francisco Bay after the coyote; across the bay in Fremont are the Coyote Hills, part of Coyote Hills Regional Park. By the 1890s the shore area was developed as a popular beach called San Mateo Beach. In 1842 the Spanish had named it playa de San Mateo. Today Coyote Point is home to CuriOdyssey, formerly known as the Coyote Point Museum, a major natural history museums and wildlife centers in the state. The Peninsula Humane Society is also situated at Coyote Point.
The variety of natural habitats include mixed oak woodland, riparian zones, and bayland marshes. One endangered species, the California clapper rail, was sighted feeding on mudflats by the Third Avenue bridge in San Mateo. The marsh areas are also likely habitat for the endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse, which inhabit the middle and high zones of salt and brackish marshes, as well as for the endangered marsh plant, Point Reyes birds beak.
Sugarloaf Mountain, whose name has been documented in 1870, is a prominent landform between the forks of Laurel Creek (Brown, 1975). In the late 20th century, this mixed oak woodland and chaparral habitat was a site of controversy related to proposals to develop a portion of the mountain for residential use. It has been preserved for use as park and open space area, and is home to the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly.
San Mateo is located at 37°33?15?N 122°18?47?W (37.554286, ?122.313044). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.9 square miles (41 km2), of which, 12.1 square miles (31 km2) is land and 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) (23.63%) is water.
The economy of San Mateo would best be considered very diverse with jobs in the technology, health care, financial services, government, and retail trade fields being among the most numerous. Companies based in San Mateo include Franklin Templeton Investments and GoPro.