Mountain View is a city in Santa Clara County, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. It is named for its views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The city shares its borders with the cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Sunnyvale, as well as Moffett Federal Airfield and the San Francisco Bay. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 74,066.
Situated in Silicon Valley, Mountain View is home to many high technology companies. In 1956, Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, the first company to develop silicon semiconductor devices in what came to be known as Silicon Valley, was established in the city by William Shockley. Today, many of the largest technology companies in the world are headquartered in the city, including Google, Mozilla Foundation, Symantec, and Intuit.
The Mexican land grant of Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas was given in 1842 by Alta California Governor Juan Alvarado to Francisco Estrada. This grant was later passed on to Mariano Castro, who sold half of the land to Martin Murphy, Jr. Eventually, the former land grant became the cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale.
Mountain View had its beginnings in the late 19th century as a stagecoach stop on the route between San Francisco and San Jose, including the Butterfield Overland Mail. Incorporated on November 7, 1902, the town’s early growth was due to agriculture, which remained the primary industry into the middle of the 20th century. After World War II, the population grew significantly with the development of the aerospace and electronics industries. Between 1950 and 1960, the population grew from 6,563 to 30,889, an increase of 370.7%.
Today, high technology is the foundation of the local economy, and there exist few remnants of the city’s agricultural past.
Mountain View has a pedestrian-friendly downtown centered on Castro Street. The downtown area consists of the seven blocks of Castro Street from the Downtown Mountain View Station transit center in the north to the intersection with El Camino Real in the south. The transit center links the Caltrain commuter rail and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail and bus systems.