[graphic]  Santa Clara County California's Historic Silicon Valley Header[graphic] National Park Service Arrowhead and link to NPS.gov
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[graphic] Introduction

[photo] View of the Santa Clara Valley from one of the sites on this itinerary, the Paul Masson Mountain Winery
Photograph by Judith Silva, courtesy of the City of Santa Clara

The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, in cooperation with the City of Santa Clara, the California Office of Historic Preservation, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), proudly invite you to explore Santa Clara County: California's Historic Silicon Valley. Located south of the San Francisco Bay between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo or Mount Hamilton Range, the history of Santa Clara County is rich with stories of Spanish and Mexican settlement, the romance of the Gold-Rush era, the pastoral beauty of abundant orchards, of post-war suburbanization, the race to the moon, and the invention of the silicon chip. To help commemorate the City of Santa Clara's Sesquicentennial, this itinerary highlights 28 places listed in the National Register of Historic Places that illustrate how this fertile valley blossomed from a series of small agricultural towns linked by the Southern Pacific railroad into the center of the technology revolution that brought immense growth and prosperity in the 20th century.

[photo] Historic image of the Los Gatos Historic Commercial District
Photograph from National Register collection

The itinerary features a wide variety of historic buildings, from adobe pueblos to the Art Deco De Anza Hotel, from the eclectic Victorian architecture of the 160-room Winchester House to the International style home of President Herbert Hoover. The early Spanish-Mexican colonial history of Santa Clara County is represented by the 1837 Jose Maria Alviso Adobe, while the first mining operation in California, New Almaden, reflects the draw of the Gold Rush. The historic districts of San Jose and Los Gatos reflect the growth of the late 19th and 20th centuries. The prosperity of the agricultural industry was fostered by the arrival of the railroad, and the county still has several historic train stations such as the Santa Clara Depot, the oldest operating railroad depot in California. The California wine industry had an early start in Santa Clara County, fostered by European immigrants, at places such as the Picchetti Brothers Winery and Paul Masson's Mountain Winery, where every summer thousands of music lovers gather for the Music in the Vineyards Concerts. Technological innovations in the valley began with the military at Moffett Field, but were fostered by advanced research taking place at Stanford University and new private industries locating here. The innovative development of electronic devices such as the radio and amplifier, followed by the new material of silicon, the microchip, and the home computer led to the term "Silicon Valley." Recently Sun Microsystems renovated the former Agnew Insane Asylum, the first modern mental hospital in California, to create a campus-like setting for its operations.

Santa Clara County: California's Historic Silicon Valley offers several ways to discover the historic properties that played important roles in the valley's past. Each highlighted property features a brief description of the place's significance; color and, where available, historic photographs; and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find a navigation bar containing links to four essays that explain more about Early History, Economic Development, Bay Area Architecture and Preservation. These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for many of the places included in the itinerary. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out if you plan to visit Santa Clara County in person.

[photo] Hangar One at the US Naval Air Station, Sunnyvale, CA Historic District (Moffet Field),designed to house airship dirigibles, displays the military interest in Santa Clara County as well as the adaptive uses for technology the valley is famous for
Photograph by Judith Silva, courtesy of the City of Santa Clara
Created through a partnership between the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, the City of Santa Clara, the California Office of Historic Preservation, and NCSHPO, Santa Clara County: California's Historic Silicon Valley is the latest example of a new and exciting cooperative project. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to revitalize communities by promoting public awareness of history and encouraging tourists to visit historic places throughout the nation, the National Register of Historic Places is cooperating with communities, regions and heritage areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan their next trip by highlighting the amazing diversity of the country's historic places and supplying accessibility information for each featured site. In the Learn More section, the itineraries link to regional and local web sites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, lodging and dining possibilities, as well as histories of the region. Visitors may be interested in Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, located near Santa Clara County, including the Hotel Saint Clare, one of the places featured in this itinerary.

Santa Clara County is the 14th of more than 30 partners working directly with the National Register of Historic Places to create travel itineraries. Additional itineraries will debut online in the future. The National Register of Historic Places and the City of Santa Clara hope you enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of the county's historic places. If you have comments or questions please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.

  [image] changing images of Santa Clara County
 [graphic] Los Gatos Historic Commercial District and link to Economic Development Essay   [graphic] Charles Copeland Morse house and link to Bay Area Architecture Essay
 [graphic] New Almaden and link to Early History Essay   [graphic] Agnews Insane Asylum and link to Preservation Essay

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Essays: Early History | Economic Development | Bay Area Architecture | Preservation

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