North to the Bay

If you'd like to see some certified major league high tech operations, head north on Shoreline, which crosses 101 to become Amphitheater. Just a few blocks over 101 on the right is the main campus of Silicon Graphics, Inc.

Silicon Graphics decorates bicycle lockers to look like their computers.

Going left on Charleston leads past Adobe Systems (which is slated to move to high-rise in San Jose), and further along are many buildings of Sun Microsystems (which is moving much of its engineering to a new facility in Menlo Park). There are many other high tech companies in this area.

Shoreline Amphitheater hosts rock concerts and the like.

If, rather than turning left on Charleston, one continues north on Shoreline, you will see some unusual tent-like structures on the left. These are the permanent structures of the amphitheater. Music concerts are held there. For years, residents of Mountain View, far away on the other side of the highway, have complained about noise from the concerts. The nature of the peculiar acoustics that create such a broadcast are a continual source of speculation.

Back to Highway 101 and South of Shoreline, Moffett Field fills the space between the Highway and the Bay. Moffett is currently the home of NASA Ames Research Center Ames has a visitor center and offers tours. The gigantic square building visible from the highway is a wind tunnel for aerodynamic testing. Also visible in the distance are two large rounded buildings that were constructed circa 1930 to house dirigibles. The dirigible hangars now have no purpose which suits their size.

Moffett Field was once a major Naval Aviation facility, but it has been phased out with cutbacks in the military. It now seems that NASA Ames will soon meet its end too, although there are no firm plans yet.

Parklike settings were once though necessary for high tech work.

It is surprising how a seemingly fully-developed and stable small city like Mountain View is subject too so much change, with major government facilities closing and major companies like Sun and Adobe relocating. While upsetting, there is every likelihood that the major voids left by departures will ultimately be filled handsomely. Mountain View is prime turf in Silicon Valley, and the location is valuable to many. Of course, figuring out how to rework a facility like Moffett may take a decade or two of heated debate.


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copyright 1995, Roy Latham, rlatham@cgsd.com