The city of Fremont, located in the Southeast of the San Francisco Bay, was founded by merging the previously independent towns of Centerville, Irvington, Mission San Jose, Niles and Warm Springs in 1956. These parts of the city have all more or less kept their own profile to this day. The city of Newark, which had voted against the merger with the neighbors, is an enclave completely surrounded by Fremont.
Among the 214,000 people living in Fremont, there is a significant number of immigrants. Amongst others, the large number of Asian-American inhabitants is notable. In addition, Fremont is home to the largest Afghan community in the US.
Mission San Jose has been the foundation of the city. The Spanish had established a mission station here in 1797. The church building that can be found in this location today is a reconstruction of the mission that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1809. The building on Mission Boulevard, to which a small cemetery and a museum belong, is open to visitors. Some 50% of this neighborhood’s population are Asian immigrants.
The city quarter of Irvington is primarily home to a working class population. The neighborhood is popular with collectors of antiques, as there are numerous shops for these here.
Centerville forms the northern part of today’s Fremont. This is where large parts of the Afghan community are at home. The quarter, that has actually developed around a small store that was opened in 1850, thus is home to a number of restaurants and shops with goods from Afghanistan.
In the South of Fremont is the quarter of Warm Springs, which has grown on an area where hot springs have been discovered. Thanks to being near to Silicon Valley, this part of the town is home to a few companies in the technology industry, as well as to an automobile plant that works for General Motors and others. There a some Asian grocery stores here and a large-scale state-of-the-art shopping senter.
Niles is in a location somewhat distant from the other town parts and has thus been able to maintain its small-town charm. Niles has in the past been home to film studios, amongst others, a few silent movies with Charlie Chaplin have been produced here. In the Niles Essanay Film Museum on Niles Boulevard, these times are remembered fondly and they show old movies here weekly, some of which have been made in Niles. A special event, widely known beyond Fremont’s borders is the antiques market which takes places on the last Sunday of August. This market draws visitors from all of the state and beyond. Departing from Niles, there is also a historic train that regularly travels the old tracks in Niles Canyon.