If it weren’t for one particular garage in Palo Alto, the world might be a very different place. It is considered the birthplace of Silicon Valley.
This is where Bill Hewlett and David Packard in the 1930s formed Hewlett-Packard, aka HP. (A coin toss decided whose name would come first.) Both were students at Stanford University.
Packard and his wife were living in one of the apartments, while Hewlett resided in a shed on the property. Together they used the garage to develop their products.
Driving by it would be easy to assume this was just an ordinary neighborhood in the Peninsula. The large sign out front proves otherwise. It says, “The garage is the birthplace of the world’s first high-technology region, ‘Silicon Valley.’ The idea for such a region originated with Dr. Frederick Terman, a Stanford University professor who encouraged his students to start up their own electronics companies in the area instead of joining established firms in the East. The first two students to follow his advice were William R. Hewlett and David Packard, who in 1938 began developing their first product, an audio oscillator, in this garage.”
Walt Disney was the first to recognize the two were onto something, deciding to use their initial product, an audio oscillator, in select theaters showing “Fantasia.” The duo came out with their first computer in 1966. The handheld calculator followed in the next decade.
California recognized the significance of the garage at 367 Addison Ave. in 1989 by naming it a state historical landmark. It was in 2007 that the garage was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The detached garage sits back from the road and house, but is easy to see from the street. The sign is near the sidewalk.