Cupertino is a city in Santa Clara County, California, in the United States, directly west of San Jose on the western edge of the Santa Clara Valley with portions extending into the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The population was 58,302 at the 2010 census. Forbes ranked it as one of the most educated small towns. It is known as the home of Apple Inc.’s corporate headquarters.
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.
The college, named for the great Spanish explorer whose cartographer named the creek from which the city took its name, occupies a 112-acre site that was the location of another winery built at the turn of the last century, called Beaulieu by its owners, Charles and Ella Baldwin. Their mansion has become the California History Center.
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. Vallco Park, now known mainly as a retail shopping center, was originally a business park developed in the 1960s by Varian Associates.
Vallco is just a few blocks from where the little village of Cupertino sprang up at the crossroads of Stevens Creek Road (now a boulevard) and the old road to Big Basin’s redwood mills, now called De Anza Boulevard. Cupertino’s growth obliterated not only the original names but many of the old landmarks, replacing them with a proliferation of shopping malls. Mervyn’s Cupertino Crossroads now occupies the place where the city’s first post office, blacksmith shop and general store once stood, replacing them with chain stores and restaurants.
Today, most nightlife is over the border in less residential San Jose — which had begun to spread tentacles across the valley in the postwar years. Fear of annexation caused Cupertino to incorporate in 1955, and the population has since grown tenfold, to more than 52,000. Cupertino was motivated to set its original boundaries by residents who were concerned that nearby cities’ attempts to incorporate the area would submerge the community’s distinctive qualities and diminish home rule. In this way, “community character” has been an integral aspect of Cupertino since it was established.
Today, the private sector in Cupertino is dominated by high-tech electronics and computer corporations. The City serves as a corporate headquarters and center for research and development. Virtually no manufacturing takes place in the City, because land and living costs are too high. Representatives of corporate businesses indicate that their companies enjoy a competitive advantage by having facilities in Cupertino. This is because highly skilled, sought-after employees 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.