HP Garage Timeline

Bill and Dave in front of the garage

c. 1905

In Palo Alto, California, a house and shed are built at 367 (then numbered 369) Addison Ave. First documented residents are Dr. John Spencer, a physician; his wife, Ione, and two adult daughters, Alice and Martha. In 1909, Dr. Spencer is named the first mayor of Palo Alto under the charter form of government.

1918

The house is divided into two apartments numbered 367 and 369.

1924

A 12 x 18 foot garage appears on Sanborn Insurance maps of Palo Alto. This roughly coincides with the paving of the city streets to accommodate the increasing number of automobiles.

The garage circa 1939

1934

Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard graduate from Stanford University.

1935

Dave moves to Schenectady, New York to work for General Electric. Bill completes graduate work at Stanford.

1936

Bill completes graduate work at MIT and returns to Palo Alto, as a Stanford research assistant to develop medical equipment for a San Francisco doctor. (Arranged by Stanford professor Fred Terman.)

1937

Dave visits Bill in Palo Alto; they have their first official business meeting.

1938

During the summer, Fred Terman arranges a Stanford fellowship for Dave to work with Russ Varian on vacuum tube technology. Dave takes a leave of absence from GE to move back to Palo Alto and "make a run for it" with Bill.

Bill searches for an apartment for Dave and specifically chooses 367 Addison Avenue because it has a garage that the two of them can work in.

In September Dave and Lucile move into the three-room apartment on the first floor (#367), and Bill moves into a shed in the back. Mrs. Spencer, the now-widowed landlady, lives in the upstairs apartment (#369).

Bill and Dave begin part-time work in the garage with $538 in working capital. The $538 consists of cash and a used Sears Craftsman drill press. They develop an audio oscillator, HP’s first product.

Bill and Dave working in the garage

1939

January 1, Bill and Dave formalize their partnership. They decide the company’s name with a coin toss.

Bill moves out of the shed when he and Flora marry. The small building becomes the company’s business office with a desk and file case.

The shed

1940

Having outgrown the garage, Hewlett-Packard moves to a rented building at 481 Page Mill Road. Dave and Lucile move to Barron Park in Palo Alto.

Building at 481 Page Mill Road

1944

Mrs. Spencer leaves Palo Alto. Subsequent owners continue to subdivide the house and rent out its apartments and the garage.

1984

HP decides to pursue historic landmark status in order to ensure that the garage will be preserved at its original location.

1985

Garage is named a city landmark by the Palo Alto Historic Resources Board.

1987, August 7

Garage is granted California State Landmark status as California Registered Landmark No. 976. The state also grants permission for a bronze plaque to be installed at the property.

House and marker, before work stated

1989, May 19

Garage is dedicated as a state historic landmark and the “Birthplace of Silicon Valley.” A plaque is set in a sandstone rock in the front yard.

2000

2000 HP purchases the property.

2004

HP announces plans to renovate and rehabilitate the garage, house and shed at 367 Addison Ave.

2005, December 6

With preservation efforts complete, the HP garage is re-dedicated as a state historic landmark and the “Birthplace of Silicon Valley.”