• 1836 The original town, consisting of 50 blocks, was planned  by Mariano and Alfredo Gonzales on the land granted to their father, Teodoro Gonzales.
  • 1872:  Gonzales became a freight and passenger stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad.
  • 1874: Twenty years later, in 1894, the earliest recorded population of Gonzales was 500 residents.
  • The community of Gonzales was named in honor of the Gonzales family, owners of Spanish land grant, Rancho Rincon de la Puente del Monte, on which Gonzales was built. At the time it was founded, Gonzales was a cattle ranching and grain growing community.
  • In 1906: Evaporated milk was important to Gonzales history. It turned into a predominantly Swiss dairy community when John B. Meyenberg brought his original milk processing procedures to the United States. His company the Alpine Milk Company, later known as the Meyenberg Milk Company opened its first plant in Gonzales.
  • Gonzales was nicknamed “Little Switzerland” (because of similar landscapes  as well as the predominantly Swiss community).Today, there are no dairies left in the Gonzales area. And only 2 dairies are left on the Central Coast.  
  • In the 1920s: Dairy farming gave way to vegetable raising and prospered.
  • Gonzales subsequently became known as the “ Heart of the Salad Bowl”. 

Books and References

Anderson, Burton. The Salinas Valley, The History of the Merian Salad Bowl. Monterey County Historical Society. 2000.