About This Place
King City (variant: Kings City) is a city in Monterey County, California, United States. King City is located on the Salinas River 51 miles (82 km) southeast of Salinas, at an elevation of 335 feet (102 m). It lies along U.S. Route 101 in the Salinas Valley of the Central Coast of California. King City is a member of the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments. The population was 12,874 at the 2010 census.
King City was originally known as King's City for the founder, Charles King. In 1884 Charles King acquired 13,000 acres (53 km2) of the Mexican land grant Rancho San Lorenzo, and began growing 6,000 acres (24 km2) of wheat. The town began as a train stop in 1886 for the Southern Pacific Railroad to service the farms and ranches in the south Salinas Valley and to transport the goods to San Francisco and Los Angeles. It was originally called "Hog Town" since swine were one of the major agricultural products of the area in the 1880s. The King City post office first opened in 1887. King City incorporated under the name "City of King" in 1911.
J. Ernst Steinbeck, father of the novelist John Steinbeck, claimed to have been the first permanent resident of King City. Steinbeck was certainly among the first settlers. He was the first agent for the S.P. Milling Company, which built an early warehouse and flour mill alongside the railroad tracks running through town. The mill was built by R. M. Shackelford, an early California settler and businessman who owned sheep pasturage next to that of Charles King.