The City of Sunnyvale was founded by Martin Murphy Jr., a rancher and wheat farmer, who came to California with his father as part of the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy Party in 1844. Mr. Murphy purchased a piece of the historic “Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas,” or “Lamb’s Pasture,” which would become what is known today as Sunnyvale. Murphy built one of the first wood frame homes in Santa Clara County. The house was demolished in 1961, but lovingly rebuilt in 2008 as the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum. This historical museum is a replica of the original Martin Murphy Residence, and now open to the public.
In 1849, Murphy purchased a ranch of 4,800 acres and cultivated it into a vast orchard. In the 1870s, small fruit orchards replaced the large wheat farms, as wheat farming became uneconomical due to property tax laws, imports, and soil degradation. In 1871, James and Eloise Dawson established the first fruit cannery in Santa Clara County and, as a result, fruit agriculture and canning soon became a dominant industry within the county. The fruit orchards became so prevalent in fact, that in 1886 the San Jose Board of Trade referred to Santa Clara County as the “Garden of the World.”
During World War II, the war economy in Santa Clara County began to shift from the fruit industry to high-tech operations. Marine steam engines, naval guns, and rocket launchers were built by The Joshua Hendy Iron Works to aid in the war effort. Following the war, the fruit orchards and sweet corn farms were cleared to build homes, factories, and offices. In 1956, the aircraft manufacturer, Lockheed, moved its headquarters to Sunnyvale.
The years since have seen many high-tech companies grow and thrive, creating the technology mecca we refer to today as Silicon Valley. Advanced Micro Devices, Yahoo, Juniper Networks, and Honeywell have a significant footprint in the area. With Apple, Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn nearby, the community has continued to flourish. It is not a coincidence that Sunnyvale and San Jose file more patents per resident than anywhere else in the world. Sunnyvale has always been and continues to be an epicenter of innovation where ambitious residents, exceptional schools, and bountiful
Many consider Sunnyvale to be one of the best places to live in Silicon Valley. The City is an attractive, safe, and environmentally conscious community with high quality services and strong financial stability. In fact, Sunnyvale is so safe that it was ranked as the safest city in America from 2014-2018 in a national study by Smart Asset, Inc. In 2019, Sunnyvale maintained its impressive reputation and was ranked the fourth safest city in the nation.
The many families and young professionals that reside in Sunnyvale enjoy the seamless blend of urban and suburban life. There are ample dining options to choose from providing a variety of international cuisines, plus a bustling weekend farmers’ market where you can find fresh, organic produce, top quality meat, baked goods, local honey, seasonal flowers and more! For regular coffee and tea drinkers, the numerous top-notch cafés are a daily ritual; for fitness buffs, great gyms and yoga studios abound; and for chances to interact with friends and neighbors, beautiful parks and thoughtful community centers are resident favorites. In addition, the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety is the largest unified department in the country, where all personnel are highly trained as EMTs, police officers, and firefighters, granting those that live here peace of mind.
Also of note is Sunnyvale’s summer Annual Art, Wine and Music Festival on historic Murphy Avenue with over 350 gifted artists, live music, delicious food, ice cold margaritas, homemade sangria, craft beers, and fine wines to enjoy. The live music is free and performed on a professional stage featuring some of the best bands in the Bay Area. The always popular Summer Camps for kids and teens were revamped in 2020. Camp Sunnyvale has doubled the number of full-day camp options and added an extended care program that offers parents an active, safe, and fun summer experience for their campers. From making cupcakes to making films, creating robots, or learning to code, Camp Sunnyvale has something to make every kid smile!