From Orchard Valley to Silicon Valley

Photos taken of the Valley from 1880s to present day show the significant and magical changes in its landscape, scenery and atmosphere. Who could have envisioned an orchard valley would one day be transformed into the centre of the tech world called Silicon Valley?
60-silicon_valley-01 A tidbit from Wikipedia on the origin of the name “Silicon Valley”:

The term Silicon Valley was coined by Ralph Vaerst, a successful Central California entrepreneur. Its first published use is credited to Don Hoefler, a friend of Vaerst’s, who used the phrase as the title of a series of articles in the weekly trade newspaper Electronic News. The series, entitled “Silicon Valley in the USA”, began in the paper’s issue dated January 11, 1971. The term did not become widely known and used until the early 1980s, which was the time of the introduction of the IBM PC and numerous related hardware and software products to the consumer market.

“Valley” refers to the Santa Clara Valley, located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, while “Silicon” refers to the high concentration of companies involved in the making of semiconductors (silicon is used to create most semiconductors commercially) and computer industries that were concentrated in the area. These firms slowly replaced the orchards and related agriculture and food production companies which gave the area its initial nickname – the “Valley of Heart’s Delight”.

These books took me back in time through the history of Silicon Valley. Hope you will enjoy vicariously walking through the Valley’s orchard fields, experiencing the birth of its electronic age and seeing how it has grown to what we know now as the home of Apple, Facebook, Google and Tesla.
Geek Silicon Valley: The Inside Guide to Palo Alto, Stanford, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale… by Ashlee Vance
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins
Silicon Valley: The History in Pictures by Mary Wadden

… The best of Silicon Valley is yet to come.

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2 responses to “From Orchard Valley to Silicon Valley

  1. Nice bit of toponymy. And the good news is not all the orchards are gone. When I moved here a couple of years back there was a distinct sweet scent in the air by my apartment complex and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was until I walked to the nearby VTA station… along what turned out to be a beautiful orange grove of all things. Scent mystery solved!

    • How lucky that you live nearby an orange grove, Ioana! The air and scenery must be amazing. If you haven’t checked out Filoli’s orchards in June/October, I think you’ll enjoy their docent guided walks.

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