San Clemente is a city in Orange County, California, United States. The population was 63,522 at the 2010 census. Located on the California Coast, midway between Los Angeles and San Diego at the southern tip of the county, it is known for its ocean, hill, and mountain views, a pleasant climate and its Spanish Colonial style architecture. San Clemente's city slogan is "Spanish Village by the Sea". The official city flower is the Bougainvillea, the official city tree the Coral.
Prior to colonization by Spaniards, the area was inhabited by the Juaneño native people. Long admired by explorers and passing settlers, it remained virtually uninhabited until 1776, when Mission San Juan Capistrano was established by Father Junipero Serra, which led both Indians and Spanish settlers to establish villages nearby. After the founding of Mission San Juan Capistrano, the local natives were conscripted to work for the mission.
Property rights to the land exchanged hands several times, but few ventured to build on it until 1925, when former Mayor of Seattle, Ole Hanson, an out-of-town, major land developer, with the financial help of a syndicate headed by Hamilton Cotton, purchased and designed a 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) community. Hanson believed the area's pleasant climate, beautiful beaches, and fertile soil would serve as a haven to Californians tired of "the big city." He named the city after San Clemente Island, which in turn was named by the explorer Vizcaino in 1602 after Saint Clement, whose feast day occurs on November 23, the day of Vizcaino's arrival on the island. Hanson envisioned it as a Mediterranean-style coastal resort town, his "San Clemente by the Sea." He had a clause added to the deeds requiring all building plans to be submitted to an architectural review board in an effort to ensure that future development would retain red tile roofs and white exteriors. But this proved to be short-lived; in the oldest parts of town you find an eclectic mix of building styles.
Hanson succeeded in promoting the new area and selling property. He built public structures such as the Beach Club, the Community Center, the pier and San Clemente Plaza, now known as Max Berg Plaza Park, which were later donated to the city. The area was officially incorporated as a City on February 27, 1928 with a council-manager government.
Referring to the way he would develop the city, Hanson proclaimed, "I have a clean canvas and I am determined to paint a clean picture. Think of it--a canvas five miles (8 km) long and one and one-half miles wide! ... My San Clemente by the Sea."
Soon after San Clemente was incorporated, the need for a "Fire House" was realized. The headlines in San Clemente’s first newspaper, El Heraldo de San Clemente June 1928 read: "Building to house local fire department will be constructed by popular subscription and turned over to the city when completed!" Individual subscriptions were received in the amounts from $6.00 to $1500.00 from the citizenry.
In 1969, President Richard Nixon bought part of the H. H. Cotton estate, one of the original homes built by one of Hanson's partners. Nixon called it "La Casa Pacifica," but it was nicknamed the "Western White House," a term for a President's vacation home. It sits above one of the West Coast's premier surfing spots, Trestles, and just north of historic surfing beach San Onofre. During Nixon's tenure it was visited by many world leaders, including Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev, Mexican President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, Prime Minister of Japan Eisaku Sato, and Henry Kissinger, as well as businessman Bebe Rebozo. Following his resignation, Nixon retired to San Clemente to write his memoirs. He sold the home in 1980 and moved to New York City, later to Saddle River, New Jersey, and then eventually to Park Ridge, New Jersey. The property also has historical ties to the Democratic side of the aisle; prior to Nixon's tenure at the estate, H.H. Cotton was known to host Franklin D. Roosevelt, who would visit to play cards in a small outbuilding overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The Old City Plaza also at one time had a small Nixon museum when the city occupied the premises.
San Clemente has long been known for its Mediterranean renaissance style architecture. Downtown San Clemente restaurants and shops are adorned with red tile roofs, cream stucco walls, and dark wood doors and windows. The homes in the area range in style, but stick to the Mediterranean theme for the most part. The oldest homes in the area are located in Southwest San Clemente, directly south of downtown. The homes in the Riviera neighborhood include several cape cod new construction, as well as new modern residences. The more traditional, older homes sit in the Lasuen "boot" district. The neighborhood surrounding Lasuens or "Lost Winds" beach consist strictly of Mediterranean renaissance, both in single and double story fasion. Newer construction homes are rare to come by especially in the Lasuens Boot.
San Clemente is located at (33.437828, −117.620397).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.5 square miles (51 km2). 18.7 square miles (48 km2) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) of it (3.89%) is water.
San Clemente has a Mediterranean climate where temperatures tend to average in the 70s °F. The warmest month of the year is August, with an average temperature of 79 °F (26 °C). The coldest month is December with an average temperature of 64 °F (18 °C). The annual rainfall in 2010 was 10.5 inches (270 mm) and the annual days of sunshine 310.
Interstate 5 runs through San Clemente. The Foothill Transportation Corridor has proposed to connect Mission Viejo to the Orange/San Diego county line, running along the east side of San Clemente and through San Onofre State Beach on its way to I-5. The California Coastal Commission rejected this proposal 8–2. Reasons cited for rejection included: the road's alignment through a state park, endangered species habitat, and a Native American archaeological site, and the runoff from the road damaging the state park and surf break. The Federal Government rejected the proposal to place the toll road in accordance with the TCA proposal. This decision was viewed as a major defeat for the TCA and great victory for The Surfrider Foundation (which is based in San Clemente), and for assorted environmental groups.
At the south end of town is located Camp Pendleton and Trestles surf beach. Additionally, the city is served by trains by Amtrak and Metrolink between Los Angeles and San Diego, and which provide beachside service in San Clemente.
The 2010 United States Census reported that San Clemente had a population of 63,522. The population density was 3,262.9 people per square mile (1,259.8/km²). The racial makeup of San Clemente was 54,605 (86.0%) White (76.0% Non-Hispanic White), 411 (0.6%) African American, 363 (0.6%) Native American, 2,333 (3.7%) Asian, 90 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 3,433 (5.4%) from other races, and 2,287 (3.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10,702 persons (16.8%).
The Census reported that 63,249 people (99.6% of the population) lived in households, 245 (0.4%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 28 (0.04%) were institutionalized.
There were 23,906 households, out of which 8,210 (34.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 13,873 (58.0%) were marriage living together, 1,898 (7.9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 986 (4.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,207 (5.0%) unmarried partnerships, ]. 5,184 households (21.7%) were made up of individuals and 1,972 (8.2%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65. There were 16,757 families (70.1% of all households); the average family size was 3.
The population was spread out with 15,506 people (24.4%) under the age of 18, 5,006 people (7.9%) aged 18 to 24, 16,474 people (25.9%) aged 25 to 44, 18,122 people (28.5%) aged 45 to 64, and 8,414 people (13.2%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.7 years. For every 100 females there were 100.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.8 males.
There were 25,966 housing units at an average density of 1,333.8 per square mile (515.0/km²), of which 15,309 (64.0%) were owner-occupied, and 8,597 (36.0%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.8%. 41,164 people (64.8% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 22,085 people (34.8%) lived in rental housing units.
According to the 2010 United States Census, San Clemente had a median household income of $87,184, with 7.9% of the population living below the federal poverty line.
The Federal census statistics from the 2000 census reported that San Clemente had a population of 49,936. Population density was 2,833.4 inhabitants per square mile (1,094.2/km²). There were 20,653 housing units at an average density of 1,171.8 per square mile (452.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.92% White, 0.77% African American, 0.61% Native American, 2.64% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 5.11% from other races, and 2.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.89% of the population.
As of the city's 2010 census, there were 68,763 people and 25,514 housing units in the city. Ninety percent of the adult population is a high school grad or higher, and 5.5% of the population are considered below the poverty line.
In the city, the population was spread out with 24.1% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 102.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.9 males.
The following companies have their corporate headquarters in San Clemente:
According to the City's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the largest employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of employees|
|1||Capistrano Unified School District||553|
|3||City of San Clemente||306|
|4||Cross Section Ventures||300|
A sprawling new retail project called The Outlets At San Clemente offers ocean-view shopping and bargains from well known brands in the form of an open roof, outdoor mall. Fundera ranked the city the 8th-best place in California for small business in a 2016 study.
San Clemente catches swells all year. From South to North, they include Trestles (technically just south of the city line), Lowers, Middles & Uppers, Cotton's Point, Calafia, Riviera, Lasuens (most often called Lost Winds), The Hole, T-Street, The Pier, Linda Lane, 204, North Beach and Poche Beach. Old Man's Beach you can find on your own.
San Clemente is the surfing media capital of the world as well as a major surfing destination. It is home to Surfing Magazine, The Surfer's Journal, and Longboard Magazine, with Surfer Magazine an adjacent city San Juan Capistrano.
The city has a large concentration of surfboard shapers and manufacturers. Additionally, numerous world-renowned surfers were raised in San Clemente or took up long-term residence in town, including Shane Beschen, Mike Parsons (originally from Laguna Beach).
San Clemente High School has won 6 out of 7 most recent NSSA national surfing titles (the 7th title was won by Capistrano Connections Academy).
Of the 32,569 registered voters in the city, 18,320 (56.2%) are Republicans, 7,532 (23.1%) are Democrats, 5,132 (15.8%) declined to state political affiliation, and the remaining 1,585 (4.9%) are registered with a minor party. San Clemente voted in favor of Proposition 8 by 55.5% and for Proposition 4 by 52.2%.
In the California State Legislature, San Clemente is in the 36th Senate District, represented by Republican Patricia Bates, and in the 73rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Bill Brough.
The city is served by Capistrano Unified School District.
Within the city, there are six elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school. There is also one virtual public K-12 school: Capistrano Connections Academy with flexible hours for students. The elementary schools are: Truman Benedict, Concordia Elementary, Vista Del Mar, Las Palmas, Marblehead Elementary, and Lobo Elementary. The middle schools are Bernice Ayer, Shorecliffs, and Vista Del Mar.
Las Palmas Elementary is well known for its dual immersion program.
San Clemente High School has an IB (International Baccalaureate) Program and a large number of advanced placement courses. Students at San Clemente High School have proven to be well rounded and versatile, receiving academic accolades as well as hosting groups ranging from national title winning dance teams to award-winning orchestras, bands, voice groups and one of the nation's most skilled athletic programs; these groups have even received opportunities to perform at various venues including Carnegie Hall (madrigals and orchestra), various venues in Hawaii (marching band), and many others.
It was also the setting of the 2005 film Brick. The town was chosen because it was particularly close to the director Rian Johnson who lived there and went to San Clemente High School, which was the school depicted in the film. Many of the locations in the film are still identical to the real ones, with the exception of the Pin's house, which was flattened a week after exterior shooting; the interior was constructed in a local warehouse. The football field has also since been replaced with artificial turf and track. The phone booths that were used all through the film are mostly props that were placed on location. The movie One of Her Own is based on incidents in and around San Clemente.
San Clemente is served by two newspapers, The Sun Post News (owned by the Orange County Register) and The San Clemente Times. The Sun Post runs twice weekly on Thursdays and Saturdays and The San Clemente Times runs once weekly on Thursdays.
The city is also served by The San Clemente Patch, an online-only news website.
San Clemente is twinned with: