Explore the early history of Silicon Valley at these famous garages where modern innovation was born.
HP Garage | 367 Addison Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301
In September of 2004, Hewlett-Packard announced efforts to preserve the HP garage – its most famous piece of real estate. The project turned the clock back on the original house, shed and garage to conditions much as they were in 1939, when Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard established the now legendary Hewlett-Packard partnership. While the HP garage is not open for public tours, visitors may view and photograph the property and landmark from the sidewalk.
Original Apple Garage | 2066 Crist Drive, Los Altos, CA 94024
The childhood home of Steve Jobs is also the birthplace of Apple. In this suburban garage, Steve Jobs explored the early history of Silicon Valley where modern innovation was born. Steve Wozniak and a group of neighborhood kids hired to help (including Job’s sister Patti) put together the boards of the first computer, the Apple I, starting in 1976. Please note that this is a private residence, but visitors may view and photograph the property from the street.
Google’s First Home | 232 Santa Margarita Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Google began in this Menlo Park home when co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin rented the garage from Susan Wojcicki, now a Google senior VP. The duo spent the winter of 1998 building the tech company that would change search, and the Internet forever. Google owns the house. No one lives at this residence.
Ridge Vineyards Old Winery Barn | 7100 Montebello Road, Cupertino, CA 95014
Famous for taking top prize at the “Judgment of Paris 30th Anniversary Wine Tasting” in London and California, Ridge Vineyards began production in an old winery barn when Stanford University Research Institute scientists Dave Bennion, Hew Crane, Charlie Rosen, and Howard Ziedler purchased the property. They made a quarter-barrel of “estate” cabernet from the ten-year-old vines and forged the new legacy for Ridge. In 1969 Dave Bennion hired Stanford graduate Paul Draper as Chief Winemaker.
Letcher Garage | 200 N. 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113
Acclaimed as the very first garage on the west coast, the Letcher Garage became the local dealer for Cadillac, Packard and Pierce Arrow. His “milepost” signs were known throughout the state and sought out by those who could afford an automobile. The garage, owned and operated by Clarence Letcher, was part of one of the first automobile showroom garages. On July 2, 1926, Letcher’s wife came to the garage with a 38-caliber revolver, shot him in the head and then killed herself – for reasons unknown. The garage is now demolished.
Count Five – Garage Rock Band
From the suburbs of San Jose, Count Five hit the scene in 1964 and became an acknowledged cornerstone of garage rock era. Their hit song “Psychotic Reaction” made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of songs that shaped rock and roll. The band split up in 1969, but their memory is immortalized in a 1972 essay by Lester Bangs, entitled “Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung.”
O’Neill Wetsuit Garage
Jack O’Neill, one of the pioneers in wetsuit design, founded the O’Neill brand in 1952 while opening one of California’s first surf shops in a garage on the Great Highway in San Francisco, close to his favorite bodysurfing break at the time. This led to the establishment of a company that deals in wetsuits, surf gear, and clothing. In December 1996 O’Neil began a non-profit organization called O’Neill Sea Odyssey which provides students with hands-on lessons in marine biology and that teaches the relationship between the oceans and the environment. Jack O’Neill and the company’s headquarters reside in Santa Cruz, California.