About Palo Alto
Palo Alto palo, literally "stick", colloquially "tree", and alto "tall"; meaning: "tall tree") is a charter city located in the northwest corner of Santa Clara County, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area of the United States. The city shares its borders with East Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Stanford, Portola Valley, and Menlo Park.
Palo Alto was established by Leland Stanford Sr. when he founded Stanford University, following the death of his son, Leland Stanford Jr. The city includes portions of Stanford and is headquarters to a number of high-technology companies, including Hewlett-Packard (HP), Space Systems/Loral, VMware, Tesla Motors, Ford Research and Innovation Center, PARC, Ning, IDEO, Skype, and Palantir Technologies. It has also served as an incubator to several other high-technology companies such as Google, Facebook, Logitech, Intuit, Pinterest, and PayPal.
As of the 2010 census, the city's total resident population is 64,403. Palo Alto is one of the most expensive cities in the United States and its residents are among the most educated in the country.
Palo Alto's earliest recorded history dates from 1769, when Gaspar de Portolá noted an Ohlone settlement. This remains an area of known Indian mounds. A plaque at Middlefield Road and Embarcadero Road commemorates the area.
The city got its name from the tall landmark Redwood tree, El Palo Alto, which still grows on the east bank of San Francisquito Creek across from Menlo Park. One trunk of the twin-trunked tree can still be found by the railroad trestle near Alma Street in El Palo Alto Park.The other trunk was destroyed during a storm in the late 20th century. A plaque there recounts the story of the Portolà expedition, a 63-man, 200-horse expedition from San Diego to Monterey from November 7–11, 1769.
The township of Mayfield was formed in 1855, in what is now southern Palo Alto. In 1875, French financier Jean Baptiste Paulin Caperon, better known as Peter Coutts, purchased land in Mayfield and four other parcels around three sides of today's College Terrace – more than a thousand acres extending from today's Page Mill Road to Serra Street and from El Camino Real to the foothills. Coutts named his property Ayrshire Farm. His fanciful brick 50-foot-tall brick tower near Matadero Creek likely marked the south corner of his property. Leland Stanford started buying land in the area in 1876 for a horse farm, called the Palo Alto Stock Farm. Stanford bought Ayrshire Farm in 1882.
Jane and Leland Stanford, Sr. founded Stanford University in 1891, dedicated to his son who died of typhoid fever at age 15 in 1884. In 1886, Stanford came to Mayfield, interested in founding his university there. He had a train stop created near his school on Mayfield's downtown street, Lincoln Street (now named California Avenue). However, he had one condition: alcohol had to be banned from the town. Known for its 13 rowdy saloons, Mayfield rejected his requests for reform. This led him to drive the formation of Palo Alto as a Temperance Town in 1894 with the help of his friend Timothy Hopkins of the Southern Pacific Railroad who bought 740 acres (3.0 km2) of private land in 1887 for the new townsite. The Hopkins Tract, bounded by El Camino Real, San Francisquito Creek, Boyce, Channing, Melville, and Hopkins Avenues, and Embarcadero Road, was proclaimed a local Heritage District during Palo's Alto Centennial in 1994. Stanford set up his university, Stanford University, and a train stop (on University Avenue) by his new town. With Stanford's support, saloon days faded and Palo Alto grew to the size of Mayfield. On July 2, 1925, Palo Alto voters approved the annexation of Mayfield and the two communities were officially consolidated on July 6, 1925. This saga explains why Palo Alto has two downtown areas: one along University Avenue and one along California Avenue.
Many of Stanford University's first faculty members settled in the Professorville neighborhood of Palo Alto. Professorville, now a registered national historic district, is bounded by Kingsley, Lincoln, and Addison avenues and the cross streets of Ramona, Bryant, and Waverley. The district includes a large number of well-preserved residences dating from the 1890s, including 833 Kingsley, 345 Lincoln and 450 Kingsley. 1044 Bryant was the home of Russell Varian, co-inventor of the Klystron tube. The Federal Telegraph laboratory site, situated at 218 Channing, is a California Historical Landmark recognizing Lee de Forest's 1911 invention of the vacuum tube and electronic oscillator at that location. While not open to the public, the garage that housed the launch of Hewlett Packard is located at 367 Addison Avenue. Hewlett Packard recently restored the house and garage. A second historic district on Ramona Street can be found downtown between University and Hamilton Avenues. The Palo Alto Chinese School is the oldest in the entire Bay Area. it is also home to the second oldest opera company in California the West Bay Opera.
Palo Alto is crossed by several creeks that flow north to San Francisco Bay, Adobe Creek on its eastern boundary, San Francisquito Creek on its western boundary, and Matadero Creek in between the other two. Arastradero Creek is tributary to Matadero Creek, andBarron Creek is now diverted to Adobe Creek just south of Highway 101 by a diversion channel. The San Francisquito Creek mainstem is formed by the confluence of Corte Madera Creek and Bear Creek not far below Searsville Dam. Further downstream, Los Trancos Creek is tributary to San Francisquito Creek below Interstate 280.
Typical of the San Francisco Bay Area, Palo Alto has a Mediterranean Climate with cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers. Typically, in the warmer months, as the sun goes down, the fog bank flows over the foothills to the west and covers the night sky, thus creating a blanket that helps trap the summer warmth absorbed during the day. Even so, it is rare for the overnight low temperature to exceed 60 °F (16 °C).
Residents of Palo Alto
Artists and entertainers
- William Ackerman, acoustic guitarist, founded influential New Age record label Windham Hill Records
- Joan Baez, folk singer
- Lindsey Buckingham, musician, member of Fleetwood Mac, was born in nearby Atherton, California
- Doug Clifford, drummer of Creedence Clearwater Revival
- Margo Davis, photographer
- The Grateful Dead, rock "jam" band; early incarnations of band were based in Palo Alto.
- The Donnas, rock group, met while growing up in Palo Alto
- Helen Katherine Forbes, muralist and painter
- Dave Franco, actor
- James Franco, actor, director, screenwriter, producer, artist, author, was born in Palo Alto
- Neva Gerber, silent screen actress, moved to Palo Alto after she married San Francisco oil geologist Edward F. Nolan
- Charles Haid, actor and director, Hill Street Blues, Palo Alto High alumnus
- Teri Hatcher, actress known for Desperate Housewives and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, was born in Palo Alto
- Amy Irving, actress known for Crossing Delancey and Yentl was born in Palo Alto
- Željko Ivanek, actor, 24, Damages, Madam Secretary, Cubberley High alumnus
- Stephan Jenkins, rock musician (Third Eye Blind)
- Ugly Kid Joe, rock band; members Whitfield Crane and Klaus Eichstadt grew up in Palo Alto, as did producer Eric Valentine
- Ollie Johnston, Academy Award–winning Disney animator (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia)
- Ellen K, radio personality
- The Kingston Trio, a folk group formed in Palo Alto while its members were enrolled at Stanford University and nearby Menlo College
- Brandis Kemp, actress (Fridays)
- Shemar Moore, actor
- Yvonne Rainer, modern dancer and filmmaker
- Michael H. Riley, Emmy Award-nominated motion graphics designer and art director
- Rick Rossovich, actor, Top Gun, Roxanne, The Terminator
- Grace Slick, singer with the rock group Jefferson Airplane, later known as Jefferson Starship
- Alessandra Torresani, actress
Business leaders and entrepreneurs
- Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google
- Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc.
- Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Bakeries
- David Filo, co-founder of Yahoo! Inc.
- Jack Herrick, founder of wikiHow
- William Hewlett, deceased co-founder of technology company Hewlett-Packard; buried at Alta Mesa Cemetery in Palo Alto
- Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos
- Mark Hurd, CEO of Oracle Corporation, past chairman, chief executive officer, and President of Hewlett-Packard
- Steve Jobs, deceased co-founder of Apple Inc.; lived in Palo Alto 1980–2011; buried at Alta Mesa Cemetery in Palo Alto
- Jawed Karim, co-founder of YouTube
- Marissa Mayer, CEO and president of Yahoo!, former vice president of search products & user experience at Google
- Elon Musk, CEO of TESLA Motors, SpaceX, chairman of SolarCity, former PayPal chairman, dropped out of the Ph.D program at Stanford University
- Merrill Newman, retired tech CEO, 85-year-old Channing House resident, Korean War veteran
- David Packard, deceased co-founder of technology company Hewlett-Packard; buried at Alta Mesa Cemetery in Palo Alto
- Larry Page, co-founder and CEO of Google, was a graduate student at Stanford
- Vishal Sikka, CEO of Infosys
- Owen Van Natta, COO of Facebook, CEO of Myspace, COO of Zynga
- Romesh Wadhwani, founder and chairman of Symphony Technology Group
- Jerry Yang, co-founder and former CEO of Yahoo! Inc.
- Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook.
Politicians and civil servants
- Ron Christie, former advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney and political pundit
- Jerry Daniels, CIA officer in Laos during the Vietnam War
- Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States
- Jon Huntsman, Jr., former governor of Utah and U.S Ambassador to China
- Harry J. Rathbun & Emilia Rathbun, Prof Emirtus- Law Stanford Univ. b 1895 S.D. taught by 1930 fwd. Wife Emilia taught at Middlefield Elem, on El Camino through 50's res 575 Kellogg Ave.(Professorville)
- Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State
- Thomas T. Riley, former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco
- Manabendra Nath Roy, Indian nationalist and revolutionary
- Ron Wyden, US Senator
- Julia Flynn Siler, journalist and nonfiction author
- Erle Stanley Gardner, crime novelist, creator of Perry Mason
- Andrea U'Ren, children's book author and illustrator
- Tad Williams, New York Times best-selling author
- Yvor Winters, poet, known as the "Sage of Palo Alto"
- David M. Alexander, science-fiction and crime novelist, attorney
- Michael Lederer, author
- Martin Krieg, author Awake Again, recovery from two-month coma, clinical death true story
- Richard R. Ernst, Nobel laureate in chemistry, worked at Varian Associates in Palo Alto
- Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist, author, college professor. Attended Cubberly High School and while there built an atom smasher in his parents' garage.
- Pamela Melroy, astronaut, second woman to command a space shuttle mission
- Perley Ason Ross, physicist who worked on essential problems in the behaviour of X-rays
- Robert Spinrad (1932–2009), computer pioneer as director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.
- William Shockley, Nobel laureate in physics and eugenicist
- Matt Biondi, swimmer, won a total of 11 Olympic medals (8 gold), born in Palo Alto
- Jim Harbaugh, football player, head coach of Stanford, the San Francisco 49ers and Michigan
- Charles Wright, professional wrestler, formerly working for WWE as Papa Shango and The Godfather
- Tony Hargain, NFL player
- Phil Hellmuth, professional poker player
- Katie Hoff, Olympic swimmer, Palo Alto native
- Adam Juratovac, Professional Football player, Arena Bowl XXIII Champion, Alumnus of Gunn High School
- Dana Kirk, Olympic swimmer, coaches for Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics
- Tara Kirk, swam with Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics, Olympic swimmer, American record holder in 100 and 200-yard (180 m) breaststroke
- Francie Larrieu-Smith, long-distance runner, first female athlete to make five Olympic teams, born in Palo Alto
- Jeremy Lin, basketball player for the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, alumnus of Palo Alto High School
- Jim Loscutoff, basketball player who won seven NBA championships with Boston Celtics
- Don MacLean, UCLA and NBA basketball player
- Joc Pederson, baseball player for Los Angeles Dodgers
- Dan Petry, pitcher for 1984 World Series champion Detroit Tigers, born in Palo Alto
- Tim Rossovich, professional football player
- Steve Young, NFL Hall of Famer and former 49ers quarterback, television commentator
- Dave Schultz, Olympic champion in freestyle wrestling, subject of film Foxcatcher
- Mark Schultz, Olympic champion in freestyle wrestling, subject of film Foxcatcher
- Glenn Scobey 'Pop' Warner (early football player & coach) head coach 8 colleges inclding Stanford University (1924–1932), lived and died Palo Alto died (83) Sept 7, 1954 resided 251 Madrono Ave.