Most famous as the home of Apple Computer, Cupertino, California began as a small hamlet at the corner of Stevens Creek Road and Saratoga-Mountain View Road, not much more than a settlement in the western portion of Freemont Township. The main local families operated plum, apricot and cherry orchards, as well as grape vineyards and one or two small wineries. The shift toward more commercial and industrial economic activity on the San Francisco Bay and Santa Clara County areas in general just before and after World War II brought the first housing developments to what is now Cupertino, and the city incorporated in 1955.
Were it not for Apple Computer, Cupertino might instead be known as the home of what eventually became Kaiser-Permanente Health Systems – which now covers more than 9 million members and employs nearly 170,000 people. Needing huge quantities of material for the Hoover Dam that his firm had been contracted to help build, Henry Kaiser established the limestone quarry in the Permanente Creek Valley just outside of Cupetino, calling the company “Kaiser Permanente.” After many permutations and reorganizations, the corporate moniker fell to the hospital chain and family healthcare foundation as it exists today.
In the early 1960s seventeen of the area’s largest property owners pooled their land to form a commercial development company, laying the groundwork for the far-sighted land use and urban planning that created much of the city’s prosperity in years to come. Hewlett-Packard was an early high-tech tenant in Cupertino, serving as a magnet for other quintessentially “Silicon Valley” tenants and residents.
Fairgrove, Garden Gate, Monta Vista, Oak Valley, Rancho Rinconada and Seven Springs are among the well-established neighborhoods in Cupertino. While there is no traditional “downtown,” the Cali Mill Plaza marks the historical location of the original hamlet crossroads, and serves as the city center. The city is home to numerous parks, bike trails, golf courses, museums and cultural attractions, including the summer Shakespeare in the Park presentations.