In 1850, John Horner surveyed what would become Centerville. The name was chosen because the town lay at the center of the roads crossing to the four points of the compass: Oakland to the north, San Jose to the south, Mission San Jose to the east, and the Bay landings or Embarcaderos to the west. By 1876, Centerville was described as a roadside town in the midst of a fine agricultural region. It had a complete line of professional services, stores, shops and enough saloons to supply a town of 100 people. There was little manufacturing and no transportation service except a stage to Niles, but at times Centerville was the liveliest and most prosperous of any surrounding town. It was said that Centerville, in 1898, was “a beautiful little town, a clean, delightful village, just far enough from the noise and bustle of railroads to make it an ideal town. Visitors regret that they cannot spend their entire life here. The turn of the Century brought more changes. The Southern Pacific Railroad tore out the old horse-car line to Newark and replaced it with a broad gauge, cut off line from Niles. Residents were pleased to finally get a regular railroad, but had to wait several months to get a passenger station. Centerville began shipping carloads of tomatoes and became a major packing and shipping center. The population of Centerville had grown to nearly 1,000 by 1914 with banks, churches, schools, merchants, lodges and societies. By 1934, Centerville had become the biggest vegetable shipping center in the county. Centerville's broad, paved, main street, was lined with modern business houses. Washington High School, the Country Club and other organizations that served the entire township drew people to Centerville. A tour guide in 1939 said, Centerville was a town of 1700 people in the midst of a vegetable garden and orchard. By the 1940's it appeared Centerville had been correctly named. It was the center of social and cultural life for Washington Township, its business district was expanding and the vegetable packing sheds were providing employment and keeping Centerville on the map. Churches and fraternal groups were active. The Lion's Club and Chamber of Commerce were spreading the “gospel” about the advantages of the town. Centerville's History Courtesy of Phillip Holmes