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Los Altos

Los Altos is a city at the southern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The city is in Santa Clara County, California, United States. The population was 28,976 according to the 2010 census. Los Altos means “the heights” or “foothill” in Spanish.

Most of the city’s growth occurred between 1950 and 1980. Originally an agricultural town with many summer cottages and apricot orchards, Los Altos is now an affluent bedroom community. Los Altos has several distinctive features. Commercial zones are strictly limited to the downtown area and small shopping and office parks lining Foothill Expressway and El Camino Real.

Forbes places Los Altos (area code 94022 and 94024) as the 63rd and 66th most expensive ZIP codes in the United States, behind such cities as Alpine, NJ, Atherton, CA, and Beverly Hills. This lists median home price around $2,000,000.

The area was originally called Banks and Braes. Paul Shoup, an executive of the Southern Pacific Railroad, and his colleagues formed the Altos Land Company in 1906 and started the development of Los Altos. The company acquired 140 acres of land from Sarah Winchester. Shoup wanted to link Palo Alto and Los Gatos by making Los Altos a commuter town. It continued a train a day operation to and from San Francisco.

In 1908, Southern Pacific Railroad began running steam train service through Los Altos (April 19, 1908) with five trains per day. Two freight cars served as train depot. Also, the first commercial building, Eschenbruecher’s Hardware, was built in downtown.

In 1913, the craftsman-style Los Altos train station was built at 288 First Street.

By 1949, many residents were dissatisfied with the zoning policy of Santa Clara county. Also, there was a constant threat of being annexed by neighboring Palo Alto and Mountain View, so they decided to incorporate. Los Altos became the eleventh city in Santa Clara county on December 1, 1952.

Train service stopped its operation in January, 1964, and the train track became Foothill Expressway.

In 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, along with others including Ronald Wayne, built the first 50 Apple I’s in Jobs’s garage in Los Altos. Jobs, Wozniak, and Wayne founded Apple Computer, Inc on 1 April, 1976.