The Santa Clara Valley covers 450 square miles that run southeast from the San Francisco Bay between the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west and the Diablo Range to the east. It was given its name by Father Junipero Serra, a Spanish missionary who arrived in 1777 to establish the Mission Santa Clara de Assisi. The mission was destroyed several times, but was always rebuilt, and it still stands on the campus of Santa Clara University. Until the middle of the twentieth century, the valley was largely rural and agricultural, a region of orchards, vineyards, and light industry—canning, bottling, and transport operations. After World War II, high tech firms in electronics, computing, and aeronautics began to populate the northern portion of the valley, in the vicinity of Stanford University. Today, the region is better known as Silicon Valley. 

Commemorative postage stamp honoring Father Junipero Serra.

Commemorative postage stamp honoring Father Junipero Serra.

Mission Santa Clara de Assisi

Mission Santa Clara de Assisi