As part of this ritual of organizing my thoughts about Palo Alto self-governance and my potential and ongoing role therein, I gravitated over to 367 Addison, near Waverley, a site named to the National Registry of Historic Places, “The Garage”.
Although I have lived in this community since 1974, this was my first visit to the site, where famously Hewlett and Packard worked on their initial inventions before formally founding the influential and fantastically successful HP corporation. The designation was established in 2007. Ok, check that. The plaque was placed, it says, in 1989 by State and HP; the National Registry came later. People say that Sid Espinosa lived there, before he was Mayor. The two gents worked there back in 1938, on an audio oscillator.
Ok, to clarify, the plaque, placed by the State and HP, claims that the garage is “The Birthplace of Silicon Valley” meaning an entire region of inter-related companies (although the term came much later, in the 1960s or 1970s, according to Michael S. Malone; or, Malone says that Don Hoefler coined the term in Electronic News, in 1971); Professor Terman suggested that his students start their own companies here, regionally, rather than working for the established companies back east, the plaque explains. Although to quibble, for example, the New York Times describes a plaque at 844 E. Charleston and a store at 391 San Antonio — now a grocery — that have to do with integrated circuits, Fairchild, Shockley and their combined role in birthing the technology complex. The story is too intricate for one plaque, despite Moore’s Law which says we can fit more and more propaganda and history and wishful thinking on our plaques.
Part of what prompted my sudden interest in 367 Addison, so near and yet so far, was hearing a venture capitalist interview for Planning and Transportation and saying that when he visits the site he touches the historical plaque for good luck. I noted that the plaque mentions their professor, Frederick Terman, which resonates with me because I attended Terman Junior High here.
While I was there on Addison and Waverley, about five other parties visited including tourists from Mexico, from Amsterdam (I am guessing by their soccer jersies), a curator from Portland, Lizetta LaFalle-Collins, and a few who slipped in and out before I could meet them. I also met a neighbor who said that tourists have side-swiped her car on more than one occassion.
After I snapped this shot of the lively, young Mexicans, I offered to shoot them with their own camera, giving them more time for their formation; maybe they were visiting a cheerleader camp at Stanford.
My brother the engineer worked for HP in San Diego for several years. My only connection is that I was one of a small group of fifth graders at Fremont Hills in PAUSD in 1975 who got to visit the district office on Churchill and play games and learn BASIC on our HP-3000.
And for me I think of David Packard the younger and his Stanford Theatre via Packard Foundation as a legacy of the HP Success Story more than the garage, duplex and plaque at 367 Addison.
But good luck to all the entrepreneurs who touch the plaque.
In a related matter, I picked up from library a copy of Michael Malone’s book on HP: