While most parents would rather turn a blind eye — or invest in some serious earplugs — when it comes to the kind of activities that their teenage/young adult sons are indulging in beyond closed garage doors, a modest, 50s-era ranch house in the well-heeled Silicon Valley city of Los Altos has now been deemed as historic because of what went down in its attached two-car garage back in the late 1970s.

Late last month, the city’s historical commission voted unanimously to grant the unassuming, 61-year-old home at 2066 Crist Drive – the middle- and high school-era home of the late Steve Jobs where he later, with buddy Steve Wozniak, launched a fledging company called Apple Computer — with official historic designation which would protect it from future renovations carried out without proper review. Job and his adoptive parents relocated to the Los Altos home (not built by Joseph Eichler) in 1968 after moving from a modernist home in nearby Mountain View (also not built by Eichler). Less than ten years later, Jobs’ dedicated garage tinkering birthed the first Apple I computer. Several months after the first 50 Apple computers were built in the garage and sold for $500 a pop at an electronics shop in Mountain View, the operation was moved to nearby Cuptertino. And the rest is history.

The home is currently occupied by Jobs’ stepmother, Marilyn Jobs, and is owned by his younger adoptive sister, Patricia. The latter has not come forward to protest or officially appeal the addition of the home to the city’s inventory of “historic resources,” an act that was carried out by the Los Altos Historic Commission without legally requiring her consent. The designation follows two-years of extensive research and property evaluations.

Calling the home “a mecca for Apple fans” the San Francisco Chronicle notes that despite the city’s attempts to keep her “in the loop,” Patricia Jobs did initially express reservations about the designation mainly because she felt she wasn’t rightly involved in the process from the get-go. "I was not personally notified, even though I am the owner,” a rather miffed Jobs explained to the San Jose Mercury News in an article dated September 25. “I want to cooperate but I also want to know what is expected of us." The Los Altos Historic Commission, to its defense, claims that they mailed a series of letters to Jobs at the home. Those, of course, never reached her as she claims to not be on speaking terms with the home’s occupant, her stepmother, Marilyn Jobs. 

Now I don’t know the full story but you’d think that the city, after two years of grueling research into the property, could have tried a wee bit harder to contact Jobs or at least made an attempt to visit the home in person to verify if she even still lived there.

“She didn’t outright support it, but she didn’t oppose it either. I think she was OK with it moving forward,” Zachary Dahl, the city’s senior planner, explains to the Chronicle.

The famed garage on Crist Drive — it's depicted in this year's Ashton Kutcher-starring biopic of the visionary, OCD-suffering frutarian who revolutionized personal technology as we know it — actually isn’t the first garage to gained historic designation in Los Altos. Not too far away on Addison Ave. is the garage, now a calculator museum that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, that birthed Hewlett-Packard in the late 1930s. 

Via [SFGate.com], [San Jose Mercury Chronicle]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Steve Jobs' childhood Los Altos home designated as historic site
Yet another home in the Silicon Valley burg of Los Altos, Calif. gets historic designation due to non-automative activities that went on in its garage.