Feeds

Birthplace of Silicon Valley in shambles

Shockley pitted

Security for virtualized datacentres

The birthplace of Silicon Valley has been closed.

Mountain View residents passing by 391 San Antonio Road - the original site of the Shockley Semiconductor Lab - will find the building is now off-limits. The International Produce Market that had been operating on the site has been boarded up with no word provided as to what will replace it. The move comes as a shock to the handful of people who visited the store every year, seeking more information about Shockley.

William Shockley set up his semiconductor lab in Mountain View in the mid-1950s. He hoped to be close to his mother who lived in Palo Alto and pushed out the owners of a fruit packing plant at 391 San Antonio Road to start work constructing transistors. The decision to locate the lab in Mountain View would prove pivotal for this region.

Shockley hired some of the brightest young minds around, including Fairchild Semiconductor and later Intel co-founders Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore. In addition, Shockley settled on silicon as the material of choice for his transistors - a somewhat risky move at the time.

Shot of the defunct fruit stand

No More Fruit

Shockley shared a Nobel Prize for this transistor work in 1956. A short time later, eight of his best workers left his lab to form Fairchild. That company would prove a success and spawned an entire generation of semiconductor entrepreneurs who broke off to create their own companies in the area. It took only a few years for the start-ups to replace the orchards in the region, turning the Valley of Hearts Delight into Silicon Valley.

(There's plenty more information about Silicon Valley history in this ground-breaking, uplifting, charming book penned by your reporter. The book ships in September, but you can - and should - buy it now.)

Mountain View claims Shockley's lab as the birthplace of Silicon Valley for obvious reasons. Palo Alto, however, points to the earlier HP Garage as the birthplace. Former HP Carly Fiorina approved the purchase and restoration of the HP Garage, making it a much nicer spot to visit than the now defunct International Produce Market.

Shot of the historical market outside the building

Remembering Shockley

Visitors to the 391 San Antonio Road store used to find a humble display about Shockley resting above large crates of apples. The display is still visible through the window of the locked up building. The historical markers outside of the store remain.

The fruit stand proved a fitting replacement for Shockley's lab, and we're anxious to see what will sprout up on the site next. Let's hope it's not a Burger King or the like. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
Adorkable overshare of words like photobomb in this year's dictionaries
And hipsters are finally defined as self-loathing. Sort of
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.