Mission San Jose was the earliest settlement in the Fremont area, built by the Spanish in 1797, and located on the routes connecting Los Angeles with the Bay Area, San Francisco and the Mission Pass to the gold fields. In the mid-1840s, John C. Fremont mapped a trail through Mission Pass to provide access into the southeastern San Francisco Bay Area.
Although the mission fell into disuse in the late 1840s, the district became a center of activity for travelers. Today, Mission San Jose continues to entertain local citizens and tourists alike.
Eight towns sprang up around the mission, and in 1853, Washington Township was established. Eventually five of the original township communities (Centerville, Irvington, Mission San Jose, Niles and Warm Springs) became present day Fremont, named for explorer and soldier John C. Frémont.
Niles made history in 1869 when the last of the tracks connecting the transcontinental railroad from the Atlantic to the Pacific were laid, and Niles again became famous during World War I when Essanay Studios selected it as the location to make their motion pictures. Charlie Chaplin, who filmed “The Tramp” at Essanay, is memorialized each June in Niles during “Charlie Chaplin Days.”
In 1956, Fremont was incorporated as a general law city. Within a few months following incorporation, citizens approved a master plan for development, laying the groundwork for today’s well-planned community.
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