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Ashwick Valley, CA
Downtown Ashwick Valley in 2016
|Mayor||Austin Hackett (D)|
|Area||19.88 sq mi/51.49 sq km (w/ forest)|
Ashwick Valley is a city in Monterey County, California, United States, about about 80 miles (128 km) south of San Francisco. As of the 2010 census estimate, the city had a population of 34,832 residents.
The town of Ashwick Valley, California was founded in 1904, but even before that it had been a mining settlement for about ten years. Owing it's success to the abundant resource of silver in the surrounding hills, the city that is currently Ashwick Valley was founded by accident by three families.
Abraham Geddy, Martin Thomason, and Percival Hackett each brought a wagon, family members, and each of their dreams to reach the New Mexico settlement sometime before summer arrived in 1893, in hopes of being a few of the several thousand prospectors mining the rivers for gold. In those times when prospectors gathered everything with them, the three men formed a small group to overcome the hurdles that the American West brought onto them. Setting out in the tail end of winter, the three families hoped to be in New Mexico before summer had arrived, when the heat was at it's worst and would surely be the downfall of their journey. The families had reached Kansas by spring, although half the group was struck down by an unknown, unrecorded disease at the time and was forced to stay in the city for several weeks.
By the time the family had made it over the Sierra Nevada, they had been forced to deviate from their plan. The deserts of Nevada and Utah proved too harsh for their horses and health, forcing the family to go over the mountain pass and into the lush, green valleys of Northern California.
The three families established a small settlement after discovering silver nuggets in the area of what is now Forest Lake Wildlife Preserve, and before they knew it, almost two hundred settlers have been living there by the end of 1894. It certainly help drove the local economy to skyrocket, and several stores and other services began to pop up from the ground.
Early Ashwick was a lawless town, and was not called Ashwick at all. It was simply called Valley, where each looked after their own. It was far from the modern cities of the time, though the crime rate alone made it a pleasant settlement by most standards. One of the earliest established businesses on the town was a station for the Pony Express, where mail and parchment alike were delivered across the continent. The Valley Silver Company too was founded by Abraham Geddy and Percival Hackett, with each family owning fifty percent of each half. As the population reached a whopping one thousand two hundred thirty by the year 1899, a local government branch is finally imposed, with John Gustaffson being appointed as the first town sheriff. Many facilities continued to open up in the town, which in itself has garnered a reputation for being a service town in between the San Diego - San Francisco - Oregon routes.
It has been deemed by one settler as "An important haven, a place to gather some strength and supplies as you head to the northwestern territories," and indeed the town businesses soon began to match the number of households in the area.
Things in Valley town didn't stay quiet for long though. For tax reasons, many of the business owners pushed for the town to be officially accepted as a city within the state, and in 1904 their wishes were granted. The official name was picked as Ashwick Valley, after a species of pine found locally in the Cortes Range Valley pictured to the left, and the year started off with a huge celebration which we know celebrate as Founder's Day, celebrated each year on March 1st. The city grew in population well beyond the twentieth century, when modern architecture and facilities were added. In 2016, Ashwick Valley is proud to be one of the most safest cities in California from a recent poll, to have two finishing colleges, a modern medical facility able to treat the most serious of cases, and a local airport.
Ashwick Valley is located on the west coast of the United States, 187 miles southwest of the San Francisco Peninsula and includes a significant stretch of the Pacific Ocean within it's boundaries. The picturesque island of Santa Veronica located 7 miles offshore is also part of the city.The valley is covered on two sides by mountain ranges, the Cortez Range on the south, and the Sierra Madre range on the northeast. Near the geographic center of the city, east of the downtown, are a series of hills making up the area that overlooks the neighborhood of Sandy Shoals.
Ashwick is known for the abundance of it's marine life, which includes sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals, bat rays, kelp forests, pelicans and dolphins as well as several specis of whales. Only a few miles offshore is the Monterey Canyon, the largest and deepest underwater canyon off of the Pacific coast of North America, which grants scientists access to the deep sea within hours.
The nearby San Andreas and Hayward Faults are responsible for much earthquake activity, although neither physically passes through the vity itself. The San Andreas fault caused large earthquakes in the San Francisco area north of Ashwick in 1906 and 1989. Minor earthquakes occur on a regular basis. The threat of major earthquakes plays a large role in the city's infrastructure development. The city constructed an auxiliary water supply system and has repeatedly upgraded its building codes, requiring retrofits for older buildings and higher engineering standards for new construction. However, there are still many smaller buildings that remain vulnerable to quake damage.
Santa Veronica Island
Santa Veronica island is the largest island in the area of Ashwick Bay. San Francisco can be seen on the North side of the island on a clear day, and the highest point in the island is Mount Elsinore at a height of 788 feet. The island has been part of Ashwick Valley since 1948, and is located 7 miles off of the coast. The island is home to a small population, mainly centered around the Santa Veronica neighborhood on the eastern shore of the island facing Ashwick Valley. It started out as a fishing village in the 1930's, but became part of the city in less than twenty years. The island is home to an abundance of marine life, and is a popular tourist attraction for scuba diving, as well as whale and shark watching tours.
As of the census of 2010, there were 34,832 people, 7,952 households, and 4,658 families residing in the city. The population is somewhat evenly spread out between its six distinct neighborhoods (not including Santa Veronica Island, which has a much smaller population density), but for several decades the downtown Paineshart neighborhood has consistently been the most heavily populated area.
The racial makeup of the city was 36% White, 27% African American, 0.5% Native American, 7% Asian, 1% Pacific Islander, 12% from other races, and 18% from two or more races at the time of the 2010 census. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15% of the population. The top five ancestries reported in Ashwick Valley as of the 2000 census were Italian, French, English, Mexican, and African American, many of whom are first and second generation immigrants.
The 2010 census found that the population was spread out with 7% under the age of 18, 37% from 18 to 24, 32% from 25 to 44, 19% from 45 to 64, and 6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 95 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $43,325, and the median income for a family was $47,134. Males had a median income of $30,620 versus $26,362 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,638. About 10.7% of families and 13.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18% of those under age 18 and 7% of those age 65 or over.
According to the 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city were:
1. Monterey County
2. City of Ashwick Valley
3. Ashwick Valley Community School District
4. Horton Plaza
5. Self employed
Tourism is a huge part of Ashwick Valley, and one out of every seven jobs are in the tourism sector. Ashwick Valley offers an iconic California experience, with a little something for everyone. From the coastal highway to the ocean view hotel on the beach, Ashwick's greatest assets lie along it's coast. Covering the city on all three sides, some of Ashwick's most famous destinations include the city aquarium, Sunset Cliffs, Santa Veronica State Beach as well as the Centenary Country Club and the Japanese Garden at the New Langrove neighborhood.
The annual town Fall Festival as well as the Ashwick Winter Ball are huge fall and winter events that all of the town attends. The town is also home to the Beach Fest, attracting thousands of visitors from San Diego to Seattle every year.
The cornucopia of marine life makes Ashwick Valley a popular destination for scuba divers of all abilities ranging from the novice to the expert. Scuba classes are offered at many facilities in town, which has been a favorit with divers since the 1960's. Ashwick is home to several museums and more than twenty carefully preserved historic buildings. Most of the buildings are from the early 20th, turn of the century era built in the late 1800's/early 1900's. Ashwick boasts a very active museum and art community, and a very heavy youth-oriented art attraction includes the museum of history as well as the urban art exhibition at Harding University.
Primary and secondary schools
Ashwick Valley is served by the Ashwick Valley Public School District. It serves about 7,000 students in preschool through grade twelve. Ashwick Valley has four early childhood schools, three elementary schools (east, west, and south), and two middle schools (east and west). Lincoln High School is the city's only high school and is located in the Stillcaster neighborhood on the east side of the city. Its mascot is the Bulldogs and its colors are red and gold.
Colleges and universities
Ashwick Valley is home to Harding University (home of the blue and white Lions) with about 4,000 students, and Ashwick Valley Community College (home of the green and gold Wolves) with over 8,000 students.
Dixie MacFarlane (country singer)
Lernernerner DiCarpricorn (Olympic ice dancing bronze medalist)