Cupertino At a Glance
Cupertino owes its earliest mention in recorded history to the 1776 expedition led by the Spanish explorer, Captain Juan Bautista de Anza. Starting in Sonora, Mexico, De Anza led a group up the coast of California aiming to establish a presidio (fort) on San Francisco Bay. Leaving the majority of the party of men, women and children in Monterey to rest from their travels, De Anza and his diarist and cartographer, Franciscan priest, Pedro Font and 18 other men pressed on through the Santa Clara Valley in late March towards their San Francisco destination.
The village of Cupertino sprang up at the crossroads of Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road (now DeAnza Boulevard) and Stevens Creek Road. It was first known as West Side, but by 1898, the post office at the Crossroads needed a new name to distinguish it from other similarly named towns. John T. Doyle, a San Francisco lawyer and historian, had given the name Cupertino to his winery, in recognition of the name bestowed on the nearby creek by Pedro Font. In 1904, the name was applied to the Crossroads and to the post office when the Home Union Store incorporated under the name, The Cupertino Store, and moved to the northeast corner of the Crossroads.
Many of Cupertino's pioneer settlers planted grapes in the late 1800s. Vineyards and wineries proliferated on Montebello Ridge, on the lower foothills, and on the flat lands below. Around 1895 the flourishing wine industry was struck by phylloxera (a root louse). It virtually destroyed 75% of the vineyards in 5 years. A few of the more substantial vineyardists resorted to grafting, while many others switched to French prunes, peaches, apricots, cherries, plums, walnuts, and almonds. As these orchards flourished the valley became known for the spring profusion of blossoms. Many more people passed through the Cupertino area first by electric railway and later by car to view all the blossoms in the "Valley of Heart's Delight." Because of the electric railway, the Monta Vista area of Cupertino developed. Monta Vista was the name of its first housing tract.
Until the mid-1960s, Cupertino remained largely a town of ranches and estate vineyards. Then two things happened: De Anza College opened, and soon after, computers came on the scene.
With 26,000 students, as well as its popular Flint Center and Minolta Planetarium, De Anza College has become a hub of activity in the city, which has no real downtown.
Apple Computer arrived in Cupertino in the late 1970s, and has remained in the same location through all its ups and downs. It's now spread out over dozens of buildings off De Anza Boulevard, not far from where Apple co-founder Steve Jobs went to high school. The city has since become home to Portal, Hewlett-Packard and many other high-tech firms.
Since the City's incorporation in 1955, the population today has grown tenfold, to more than 58,000. Today, Cupertino is dominated by high-tech electronics and computer corporations. The City serves as a corporate headquarters and center for research and development. Many of the the City's residents are high-tech employees who prefer working and living in the Cupertino area, with its moderate size and unique, balanced mix of high technology firms, retail center, open space, quality schools and residential areas.