Exploring the Long and Storied History of Murphy Avenue, Sunnyvale
Murphy Avenue, located in the heart of Sunnyvale, California, is the oldest continuously existing road in the United States. The street, which was first laid out in 1845, has been witness to the development of Silicon Valley, from the arrival of early settlers to the rise of technology companies. Today, the quaint, tree-lined road is a charming reminder of the past, but a much more incredible story must be told. Learn more here.
The history of Murphy Avenue dates back to the 1840s when the area was still part of the expansive Rancho del Rinconada. In 1845, a local farmer named Mathew Murphy received permission to build a road across the ranch, beginning at Montague Expressway in the west and ending at the San Francisco Bay in the east. This road would eventually be known as Murphy Avenue after its founder. Learn more about Enjoy an Exciting Wonderland in Sunnyvale at California's Great America.
In the years following the completion of Murphy Avenue, the area quickly developed. With the advent of the railroad, which arrived in 1864, and Sunnyvale was established as a town in 1901, the area's population began to overgrow. This led to a flurry of development along Murphy Avenue, including the construction of several businesses and residences.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Murphy Avenue began to take on the shape of a bustling street, with several merchants, such as soda fountains and barbershops, setting up shop. The 1940s and 1950s brought further growth with the opening of a movie theater and an amusement park in the area. While this period saw an influx of new businesses, it was also when the first large-scale technology companies began to move into the room.
The 1960s was a period of tremendous change for Murphy Avenue and Sunnyvale. As “Silicon Valley” was founded, the area experienced a massive influx of new residents, businesses, and technology firms. Murphy Avenue's old shops and storefronts of Murphy Avenue began to be replaced by larger commercial complexes, many of which are still in use today.
Today, Murphy Avenue is a vibrant and historic street with a unique blend of old and new. It is home to many technology companies, restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and other businesses. While the street has undoubtedly evolved, it still maintains its timeless charm and historical significance.
Murphy Avenue exemplifies the long and storied history of Sunnyvale. From its humble beginnings as a simple road across a ranch to its transformation into Silicon Valley's "Main Street," it has been witness to the development and growth of the area. Today, its tree-lined sidewalks serve as a reminder of the past and a testament to the future.