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downtown aerial shot

A City of Firsts

San Jose and the South Bay are the home to many firsts. From being the first state capitol to inventing the first hard drive, San Jose is where it all started. 


lick observatory

Lick Observatory

1777: San Jose becomes the first settlement in the California territory.
1849: San Jose becomes California’s first state capitol.
1853: Christopher Shelton of San Jose introduced the first honeybees to California beginning California’s productive beekeeping industry.
1857: San Jose State University becomes California’s first school in the California State University system.
1872: Alum Rock Park becomes California’s first municipal park,
1882: Mountain Winery owner Paul Masson introduces sparkling wine to the state of California.
1887: Lick Observatory becomes the world’s first permanently occupied mountain top observatory
1887: Samuel L. Bishop builds the first electrical street car line in the U.S. between San Jose and Santa Clara.


hiker at big basin

Big Basin Redwood State Park

1900: Clarence Letcher opened the first garage in the west. 
1902: Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains is established and becomes California’s first state park.
1902: Clarence Letcher opened the first service station in California, boasting a 110 gallon gasoline tank.
1910: California’s first motor bus line was started at Mt. Hamilton.
1912: Sybil Herrold was the first radio disk jockey, playing music from a phonograph for her husband’s broadcasts.
1912: Charles David “Doc” Herrold begin the first public entertainment broadcasts.


original apple garage

Original Apple Garage, Private Property

1944: Howard Aiken of IBM unveils the first computer programmed by punched paper tape, the Harvard Mark I.
1954: IBM introduces its first computer model the 704. 
1956: IBM San Jose labs invent the hard disk drive.
1965: The Grateful Dead performs their first ever concert as The Grateful Dead in San Jose
1969: Gary Starkweather of Xerox invents the laser printer.
1971: Norman E. Mineta becomes the first Japanese-American Mayor of the major U.S. city.
1975: San Jose Mayor Janet Gray Hayes becomes the first female mayor to be elected in a major U.S. city.
1975: IBM of San Jose develops the first portable computer – the IBM 5100.
1976: Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs form Apple Computers in Jobs’ parents’ Cupertino garage.


san jose city hall

San Jose City Hall

2001: Apple launches the first ever iPod.
2006: The Tesla Roadster, the company’s first vehicle, was the first production automobile to use lithium-ion battery cells and the first production eV with a range greater than 200 mi (320 km) per charge.
2008: Tesla produces the first mass-produced electric sports car.
2014: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office opens their first permanent west coast office in San Jose