Past Perfected

Project to turn back the clock for landmark buildings

In the 1985 film, Back to the Future, the main character is transported by time machine decades into the past. He is stunned to note the pristine condition of a building he has only known as aging and decrepit. "Wow," he exclaims, "They really cleaned this place up. It looks brand new."


Very soon, time will roll back for HP's legendary garage, and while it won't look brand new, it will look very much as it would have when Bill and Dave burned the midnight oil in the now-famous Palo Alto landmark. A meticulous rehabilitation will return the property at 367 Addison Avenue to a state that more closely reflects the time period when the two college chums were embarking on the journey to their own futures.


"I'm really excited about this project," Anna Mancini, HP's Corporate Archivist said. "I think it demonstrates the respect and pride we feel for our community and the company's heritage."


Renovations will focus on recreating the house, garage, shed and landscaping as they would have appeared when Dave and Lucile lived in the first story apartment,


Bill bunked in the 8 by 18 foot shed out back, and the two young partners designed and built the products that launched the future of Silicon Valley. If all goes according to plan and the weather cooperates, completion should be in the fall of 2005.


The project is a cross-company collaboration working closely with the HP Corporate Archives. Following an extensive search, the Cody Anderson Wasney firm of preservation architects has been selected to execute the project.

A brief history of the property


The two-story house on Addison Avenue was built around 1905 for Dr. John Spencer, a local physician who became the first mayor of Palo Alto. It is believed the house was divided into two flats in 1918. During the Bill-and-Dave years, the doctor's widow occupied the upstairs flat and acted as the resident landlady.


From 1938 through 1939, 367 Addison Avenue - chosen by Bill and Dave because of the garage - served as home, think-tank, lab, office and production department. There, they developed the 200A and 200B audio oscillators, HP's first products.


The garage, long a symbol of genius and entrepreneurial spirit, reached landmark status in 1987 and was dedicated as the birthplace of Silicon Valley in 1989. HP acquired the garage, along with the surrounding property, in 2000.

1939 - The garage, birthplace of HP and Silicon Valley. The tiny detached building was just large enough to hold one car or two inventive young partners

1939 - The garage, birthplace of HP and Silicon Valley. The tiny detached building was just large enough to hold one car or two inventive young partners.

367 Addison Avenue - Both garage and house will be returned to natural cedar shingles with green trim, much as they would have appeared in Bill and Dave's time

367 Addison Avenue - Both garage and house will be returned to natural cedar shingles with green trim, much as they would have appeared in Bill and Dave's time.

The future - Architectural rendering of completed house and garage at 367 Addison Avenue

The future - Architectural rendering of completed house and garage at 367 Addison Avenue.

Today - Time and termites have taken their toll on many of the lower regions of the garage. Plans are underway to repair and restore the integrity of the structure

Today - Time and termites have taken their toll on many of the lower regions of the garage. Plans are underway to repair and restore the integrity of the structure.