Sunnyvale

Town of Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale, like Los Altos, saw increased development when stagecoach lines arrived in the mid-1800s. During this period of growth, a man named Martin Murphy Jr. arrived as a young boy, and as one of the first settlers of Sunnyvale. When he grew up, he purchased land and is said to have planted the first orchards in the area. Sunnyvale was originally founded as the “City of Murphy,” as Murphy eventually became a rancher and wheat farmer.

Like surrounding areas, Sunnyvale’s agricultural economy was thriving. In 1871, James and Eloise Dawson created the first fruit cannery in the county, which introduced canning to the neighboring towns and cities. In fact, 15 years later, the San Jose Board of Trade dubbed Santa Clara County “Garden of the World.” Today, many of these orchards no longer exist, though a few are owned by the city, like the Heritage Orchard next to the community center. In 1912, Sunnyvale was incorporated into Santa Clara County, and became a city officially.

However, as the U.S. entered World War II, Sunnyvale transformed quickly from an agricultural wonderland to the younger version of the booming tech industry it is today. In the 1930s, an aircraft base was created by Congress, now known as Moffett Field, and almost ten years later, Ames Laboratory was put to use by researchers who work for what is now known as NASA. During World War II, the local iron works company, Joshua Hendy Iron Works, contributed to the war effort by building marine steam engines, naval guns, and rocket launchers.


However, as the U.S. entered World War II, Sunnyvale transformed quickly from an agricultural wonderland to the younger version of the booming tech industry it is today. In the 1930s, an aircraft base was created by Congress, now known as Moffett Field, and almost ten years later, Ames Laboratory was put to use by researchers who work for what is now known as NASA. During World War II, the local iron works company, Joshua Hendy Iron Works, contributed to the war effort by building marine steam engines, naval guns, and rocket launchers.

He later purchased the now historic Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas in 1850 and named it “Bay View.” On this land, he build one of the very first wood frame homes in the area. Almost 50 years later, W.E. Crossman purchased a large amount of land and began selling real estate in Sunnyvale, which he touted to his buyers as “Beautiful Murphy.” It wasn’t until 1901, when “Murphy” townspeople discovered they couldn’t use Murphy or Encinal (the other choice of name for the town) for their post office, and decided on Sunnyvale as it was sunnier than its surrounding towns.

This also created an influx of Mexican immigration, as farmworkers abandoned their jobs to work in the new defense jobs. After the war, Lockheed Martin relocated to Sunnyvale, establishing it as an attractive location to other companies. Soon, Yahoo followed, and so did other companies, like AMD and Juniper Networks.