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California History:  Golden Opportunity

Did the discovery of gold in 1848 ensure that California would become one of the world’s largest economies?  Yes and no.  We must give credit to all the people who came from around the world and the East Coast and the Midwest.  Without these pioneers, California wouldn’t be what it is today.

From Prunes to Processors

One can pose a similar question about Silicon Valley, the state’s 20th-century Gold Rush.  After Santa Clara Valley’s orchard production peaked in 1950, it was on its way to becoming the technology capital, a transformation set in motion when local engineers worked on then-state-of-the-art wireless technology at least 40 years earlier:  radio.  By the mid-1960s, the former prune capital of America had the largest concentration of microelectronics companies in the world.  The name “Silicon Valley” was coined by a journalist in 1971.

Many of California’s high-tech companies are founded or led by immigrants and transplants from other states.  The story seems to repeat itself.  It’s not just individuals who flock to Silicon Valley; large corporations have always established a presence in this technology mecca—from IBM and Lockheed in the 1950s to Xerox and Nortel Networks in the 1970s and more recent arrivals such as Wipro Technologies and Infosys Technologies.

Beyond the Valley of Semiconductors

Not only are there low-key computer software and hardware companies all over the Bay Area today, the Peninsula, for example, is home to the country’s largest biotechnology concentration.  Aerospace companies and defense contractors were some of the major employers during the 1960s and 70s.  The Bay Area also has a long history of working with the entertainment industry in areas such as gaming, computer graphics, and computer animation.  And the Internet has made several local companies household names.

 

Time Line Entities/People
1840s-90s James Marshall, Eadweard Muybridge, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley
1900s-20s Lee de Forest, Philo Taylor Farnsworth, Federal Telegraph, FMC, Charles D. Herrold, Frederick Terman
1930s Hewlett-Packard, NASA Ames Research Center
1940s Ampex, SRI International, Varian Associates
1950s Bio-Rad Laboratories, Fair Isaac, Fairchild Semiconductor, IBM San Jose, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space, Shockley Transistor, WJ Communications
1960s ALZA, AMD, Applied Materials, Boole & Babbage, Coherent, Dolby Laboratories, Flextronics International, frog design, Intel, Intersil, National Semiconductor, Plantronics, ROLM, Signetics, Siliconix, Spectra-Physics, Syntex USA
1970s ADAC Laboratories, Amdahl, Apple Computer, Atari, Cetus, Dialog, Etec Systems, Genentech, GRiD Systems, Industrial Light + Magic, Nortel Networks, Oracle, Seagate Technology, Silicon Valley Group, Solectron, Tandem Computers, 3Com, Trimble Navigation, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
1980s Adaptec, Adobe Systems, Altera, Ascend Communications, ASI, Asyst Technologies, Atmel, Autodesk, Bell Microproducts, Borland Software, Cadence Design Systems, Cell Genesys, Chiron, Cirrus Logic, Cisco Systems, Conner Peripherals, Cypress Semiconductor, Elantec Semiconductor, Electronic Arts, E*Trade Financial, Genencor International, Gilead Sciences, IDT, Informix Software, Ingres, Intuit, Komag, Lam Research, Linear Technology, Logitech, LSI Logic, Maxim Integrated Products, Maxtor, McAfee, Mercury Interactive, MIPS Technologies, NEC Electronics, Netcom On-line Communication Services, Network General, Novellus Systems, Octel Communications, PDI/DreamWorks, PeopleSoft, Pixar Animation Studios, PMC-Sierra, Pyramid Technology, Quantum, Rational Software, SanDisk, Scios, SGI, Sun Microsystems, Sybase, Symantec, SYNNEX, Synopsys, VERITAS Software, Xilinx
1990s Affymetrix, Agilent Technologies, AirTouch Communications, Ask Jeeves, Aviron, Bay Networks, BEA Systems, Brocade Communications Systems, CNET Networks, craigslist, eBay, Excite, Foundry Networks, Google, Hotmail, Hyperion Solutions, Infosys Technologies, JDS Uniphase, Juniper Networks, KLA-Tencor, Lexar Media, Macromedia, Napster, Netflix, Netscape Communications, Network Appliance, NVIDIA, palmOne, PayPal, Polycom, Rambus, Remedy, Salesforce.com, Siebel Systems, TIBCO Software, TiVo, Tularik, UTStarcom, VeriSign, Wipro Technologies, Yahoo!
2000s California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Mozilla Foundation, Sanmina-SCI

 

 


 

1840s-90s

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Coloma, El Dorado Co.

...parks.ca.gov (California Department of Parks & Recreation:  California State Parks)
...marshallgold.com (Gold Discovery Park Association)
...coloma.com (Coloma Valley)

Note that the first discovery of gold in California was made at Placerita Canyon (CHL 168, Los Angeles County, parks.ca.gov) in 1842.

Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, Alameda Co.*

...bancroft.berkeley.edu

California State Mining and Mineral Museum, Mariposa, Mariposa Co.

...parks.ca.gov (California Department of Parks & Recreation:  California State Parks)

Gold Nugget Museum, Paradise, Butte Co.

University of California (1868), Berkeley, Alameda Co.*

...berkeley.edu

Palo Alto Stock Farm, Stanford, Santa Clara Co.*

...paloaltoonline.com (Palo Alto Online:  search for “when the farm was really a farm” article)
...stanfordstables.com/festival04.html (Stanford Equestrian Center)
...founders.stanford.edu (Stanford University Founders’ Celebration)

Stanford University (1891), Stanford, Santa Clara Co.*

...stanford.edu
...stanfordmanage.org (Stanford Management Co.)
...stanford.edu (Stanford University:  click on About Stanford, then Introduction to Stanford, then Research, then First High-Tech Research Park)
...smecc.org (Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communications and Computation:  click on Frederick Terman – by Ed Sharpe)

 

 


 

1900s-20s

Federal Telegraph (1909-1930s), Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co.*

...leedeforest.org
...californiahistoricalradio.com (California Historical Radio Society)

Herrold Station, San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...charlesherrold.org (Charles Herrold)
...californiahistoricalradio.com (California Historical Radio Society)

Farnsworth’s Green Street Lab, San Francisco, San Francisco Co.* (202 Green St.)

...sfmusuem.org (The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco:  click on Search by Subject, then “S.F. Man’s Invention to Revolutionize Television”)

FMC (1928), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...fmc.com
...uniteddefense.com (United Defense)

 

 


 

1930s-50s

Hewlett-Packard Garage, Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co.* (367 Addison Ave.)

...hp.com

Hewlett-Packard (1939), Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co.*

...hp.com

NASA Ames Research Center (1939), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...arc.nasa.gov

Ampex (1944), Redwood City, San Mateo Co.*

...ampex.com

SRI International (1946), Menlo Park, San Mateo Co.*

...sri.com

Varian Associates (1948), Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co.*

...varianinc.com (Varian Inc.)
...varian.com (Varian Medical Systems)
...vsea.com (Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates)

Bio-Rad Laboraties (1952), Hercules, Contra Costa Co.*

...bio-rad.com

IBM San Jose (1952), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.* (original site at 99 Notre Dame Ave.)

...ibm.com

Fair Isaac (1956), San Rafael, Marin Co.*

...fairisaac.com

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space (19xx [outside Bay Area]), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...lockheedmartin.com

Shockley Transistor (1956-1968), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.* (391 S. San Antonio Rd.)

...shockleytransistor.com (Shockley Plaque)

Fairchild Semiconductor (1957), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.* (original headquarters at 844 E. Charleston Rd., Palo Alto)

...fairchildsemi.com

WJ Communications (1957), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...wj.com

 

 


 

1960s-70s

Plantronics (1961), Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Co.

...plantronics.com

Signetics (1961), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...semiconductors.philips.com (Philips Semiconductors)
...signetics.com (Signetics High Technology)

Spectra-Physics (1961), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...newport.com (Newport)

Syntex USA (1961), Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co.*

...paloalto.roche.com (Roche Palo Alto)

Siliconix (1962), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...vishay.com (Vishay Intertechnology)

Dolby Laboratories (1965), San Francisco, San Francisco Co.*

...dolby.com

Coherent (1966), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...coherent.com

Applied Materials (1967), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...appliedmaterials.com

Boole & Babbage (1967), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...bmc.com (BMC Software)

Intersil (1967), Milpitas, Santa Clara Co.*

...intersil.com

National Semiconductor (1959 [outside California]), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...national.com

ALZA (1968), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...alza.com

Intel (1968), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...intel.com

AMD or Advanced Micro Devices (1969), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...amd.com

Flextronics International (1969), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...flextronics.com

frog design (1969), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...frogdesign.com

ROLM (1969), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...enterprise.usa.siemens.com (Siemens Enterprise Networks)
...communications.usa.siemens.com (Siemens Communications)

ADAC Laboratories (1970), Milpitas, Santa Clara Co.*

...medical.philips.com (Philips Medical Systems)

Amdahl (1970-2002?), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...computers.us.fujitsu.com (Fujitsu Computer Systems)

Etec Systems (1970), Hayward, Alameda Co.*

...appliedmaterials.com (Applied Materials)

Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (1970), Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co.*

...parc.xerox.com

Atari (1971), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...atarimuseum.com (Atari Historical Society)
...atari.com
...wikipedia.org (Wikipedia)

Cetus (1971), Emeryville, Alameda Co.*

...chiron.com (Chiron)

Dialog (1972), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...dialog.com

Nortel Networks (1974), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...nortel.com

Tandem Computers (1974), Cupertino, Santa Clara Co.*

...hp.com (Hewlett-Packard)

Apple Computer (1976), Cupertino, Santa Clara Co.*

...apple.com
...applemuseum.bott.org (The Apple Museum)

Genentech (1976), South San Francisco, San Mateo Co.*

...gene.com

Industrial Light + Magic (1977), Nicasio, Marin Co.*

...ilm.com

Oracle (1977), Redwood Shores, San Mateo Co.*

...oracle.com

Silicon Valley Group (1977), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...asml.com (ASM Lithography)

Solectron (1977), Milpitas, Santa Clara Co.*

...solectron.com

Trimble Navigation (1978), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...trimble.com

GRiD Systems (1979-1993?), Fremont, Alameda Co.*

Seagate Technology (1979), Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz Co.

...seagate.com

3Com (1979), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...3com.com

 

 


 

1980s-90s

IDT or Integrated Device Technology (1980), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...idt.com

Informix Software (1980), Menlo Park, San Mateo Co.*

...ascential.com (Ascential Software)

Ingres (1980), Alameda, Alameda Co.*

...ca.com (Computer Associates International)

Lam Research (1980), Fremont, Alameda Co.*

...lamrc.com

PDI/DreamWorks (1980), Redwood City, San Mateo Co.*

...pdi.com

Quantum (1980), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...quantum.com

SYNNEX (1980), Fremont, Alameda Co.*

...synnex.com

Adaptec (1981), Milpitas, Santa Clara Co.*

...adaptec.com

Chiron (1981), Emeryville, Alameda Co.*

...chiron.com

Linear Technology (1981), Milpitas, Santa Clara Co.*

...linear.com

Logitech (1981), Fremont, Alameda Co.*

...logitech.com

LSI Logic (1981), Milpitas, Santa Clara Co.*

...lsilogic.com

NEC Electronics (1981), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...necel.com

Rational Software (1981), Cupertino, Santa Clara Co.*

...www-306.ibm.com/software/ (IBM Software Group)

Scios (1981), Fremont, Alameda Co.*

...sciosinc.com

Adobe Systems (1982), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...adobe.com

Autodesk (1982), San Rafael, Marin Co.*

...autodesk.com

Cypress Semiconductor (1982), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...cypress.com

Electronic Arts (1982), Redwood City, San Mateo Co.*

...ea.com

E*Trade Financial (1982), Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co.*

...etrade.com

Genencor International (1982), Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co.*

...genencor.com

Maxtor (1982), Milpitas, Santa Clara Co.*

...maxtor.com

Octel Communications (1982), Milpitas, Santa Clara Co.*

...avaya.com (Avaya)

SGI or Silicon Graphics, Inc. (1982), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...sgi.com

Sun Microsystems (1982), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...sun.com

Symantec (1982), Cupertino, Santa Clara Co.*

...symantec.com

Altera (1983), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...altera.com

Borland Software (1983), Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz Co.

...borland.com

Elantec Semiconductor (1983), Milpitas, Santa Clara Co.*

...intersil.com (Intersil)

Intuit (1983), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...intuit.com

Komag (1983), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...komag.com

Maxim Integrated Products (1983), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...maxim-ic.com

Asyst Technologies (1984), Fremont, Alameda Co.*

...asyst.com

Atmel (1984), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...atmel.com

Cirrus Logic (1984), Fremont, Alameda Co.*

...cirrus.com

Cisco Systems (1984), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...cisco.com

MIPS Technologies (1984), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...mips.com

Novellus Systems (1984), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...novellus.com

PMC-Sierra (1984), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...pmc-sierra.com

Sybase (1984), Dublin, Alameda Co.*

...sybase.com

Xilinx (1984), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...xilinx.com

Conner Peripherals (1986), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...seagate.com (Seagate Technology)

Network General (1986), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...networkgeneral.com

Pixar Animation Studios (1986), Emeryville, Alameda Co.*

...pixar.com

Synopsys (1986), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...synopsys.com

ASI (1987), Fremont, Alameda Co.*

...asipartner.com

Bell Microproducts (1987), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...bellmicro.com

Gilead Sciences (1987), Foster City, San Mateo Co.*

...gilead.com

McAfee (1987), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...mcafee.com

PeopleSoft (1987), Pleasanton, Alameda Co.*

...peoplesoft.com

Cadence Design Systems (1988), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...cadence.com

Cell Genesys (1988), South San Francisco, San Mateo Co.*

...cellgenesys.com

Netcom On-Line Communication Services (1988-1999), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...earthlink.net (EarthLink)

SanDisk (1988), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...sandisk.com

Ascend Communications (1989), Alameda, Alameda Co.*

...lucent.com (Lucent Technologies)

Mercury Interactive (1989), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...mercury.com

VERITAS Software (1989), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...veritas.com

Polycom (1990), Pleasanton, Alameda Co.*

...polycom.com

Rambus (1990), Los Altos, Santa Clara Co.*

...rambus.com

Remedy (1990), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...remedy.com

Affymetrix (1991), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...affymetrix.com

Tularik (1991), South San Francisco, San Mateo Co.*

...amgen (Amgen)

UTStarcom (1991), Alameda, Alameda Co.*

...utstar.com

Wipro Technologies (1991?), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...wipro.com

Aviron (1992), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...medimmune.com (MedImmune)

Macromedia (1992), San Francisco, San Francisco Co.*

...macromedia.com

Network Appliance (1992), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...netapp.com

palmOne (1992), Milpitas, Santa Clara Co.*

...palmone.com

CNET Networks (1992 [outside California]), San Francisco, San Francisco Co.*

...cnet.com

NVIDIA (1993), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...nvidia.com

Siebel Systems (1993), San Mateo, San Mateo Co.*

...siebel.com

AirTouch Communications (1994), San Francisco, San Francisco Co.*

...vodafone.com (Vodafone Group)

Bay Networks (1994), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...nortel.com (Nortel Networks)

Excite (1994-2001?), Redwood City, San Mateo Co.*

...excite.com (Excite Network)

Netscape Communications (1994), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...home.netscape.com

Yahoo! (1994), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...yahoo.com

BEA Systems (1995), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...bea.com

Brocade Communications Systems (1995), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...brocade.com

craigslist (1995), San Francisco, San Francisco Co.*

...craigslist.org

eBay (1995), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...ebay.com

Hotmail (1995), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...hotmail.com

VeriSign (1995), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...verisign.com

Ask Jeeves (1996), Oakland, Alameda Co.*

...ask.com

Foundry Networks (1996), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...foundrynetworks.com

Infosys Technologies (1996?), Fremont, Alameda Co.*

...infosys.com

Juniper Networks (1996), Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.*

...juniper.net

Lexar Media (1996), Fremont, Alameda Co.*

...lexar.com

KLA-Tencor (1997), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...klatencor.com

TIBCO Software (1997), Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co.*

...tibco.com

TiVo (1997), Alviso, Santa Clara Co.*

...tivo.com

Google (1998), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...google.com

Hyperion Solutions (1998), Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.*

...hyperion.com

PayPal (1998), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...paypal.com

Agilent Technologies (1999), Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co.*

...agilent.com

JDS Uniphase (1999), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...jdsu.com

Napster (1999?), Redwood City, San Mateo Co.*

...napster.com

Netflix (1999), Los Gatos, Santa Clara Co.*

...netflix.com

Salesforce.com (1999), San Francisco, San Francisco Co.*

...salesforce.com

 

 


 

2000s-Present

Sanmina-SCI (2001), San Jose, Santa Clara Co.*

...sanmina-sci.com

Mozilla Foundation (2003), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...mozilla.org

California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (2005), San Francisco, San Francisco Co.*

...cirm.ca.gov

 

 


 

Miscellany

Computer History Museum (1996), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.*

...computerhistory.org

Draper, Gaither & Anderson (1958-19xx), Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co.*

Menlo Park, San Mateo Co.*

...menlopark.org (City of Menlo Park)
...menloparkchamber.com (Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce)

Dinah’s Shack (1926-1989), Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co.* (4269 El Camino Real)

The Wagon Wheel (1962-2000), Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.* (282 E. Middlefield Rd.)

Homebrew Computer Club (1975-1986), Menlo Park, San Mateo Co.*

Fry’s Electronics (1985), Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co.*

…frys.com
…frysoutpost.com

High-Tech Street Names

 

City and County Name(s) in Bay Area
Dublin, Alameda Co.* Sybase Dr.
Redwood Shores, San Mateo Co.* Oracle Pkwy.
Cupertino, Santa Clara Co.* Varian Way
Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.* Fairchild Dr.
San Jose, Santa Clara Co.* Disk Ct./Dr., Fortran Ct., Foundry Ct., General Electric Way, Logic Dr., Silicon Dr., Silicon Valley Blvd., Technology Dr., Varian Ct., Woz Way
Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co.* Macintosh St., Memorex Dr., Network Cir., Semiconductor Dr.
Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Co.* AMD Pl., Lockheed Martin Way

 

An asterisk indicates San Francisco Bay Area destination; CHL means California Historical Landmark.

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