Returning to the World-Famous Apple Garage

By Phill Powell

It resembles most homes in suburban Los Altos, California. But the modest ranch style house at 2066 Crist Drive is a historic place – and hallowed ground for any Apple computer geek. It may be the most famous garage in the world.

Apple_Garage_at_Epcot
Here’s where the computing world changed, in a suburban garage, as recreated in an Epcot display.

For this was the boyhood home of tech genius Steve Jobs. It’s also where he and partner Steve Wozniak kick-started the global revolution in personal computing by inventing the first Apple computer in the garage of the California home in 1975.

Now the house is a treasured American tech locale, like Edison’s laboratory or the Wright Bros.’ bicycle shop.

The Ultimate Home-Based Business

The “Apple Garage,” as it’s commonly known, was actually the second place where the start-up made computers. The first fifty Apple 1 computers were constructed in a spare bedroom at the house (which had an original street address of 1161 Crist Drive, when Los Altos annexed the land from the county during the mid-80s, the address was changed).

Steve_Jobs_2015_movie_Apple_garage
For the new movie, Steve Jobs, filmmaker Danny Boyle returned to the original “scene of the crime.”

Jobs and Wozniak set up shop in the garage after the first batch of Apple computers were purchased by Paul Jay Terrell’s Byte Shop (for $500 apiece). And just as the Apple Computer company was much simpler during those start-up days, so was the product Jobs and “Woz” were creating; the first Apple 1 was just a circuit board.

The computer had no case, no keyboard and no monitor—which were purchased separately. These were the days when people were just learning computer programming and what computers could do.

Odd Man Out

The original Apple company was not strictly a two-man enterprise. Both Jobs and Wozniak were working day jobs at the time – Wozniak at Hewlett-Packard and Jobs at Atari. Another Atari engineer, Ron Wayne, was the third employee.

Because Apple’s early days were rocky and required multiple loans to keep the struggling company afloat, Wayne eventually doubted the venture and resigned his 10% share for $800. (Had he kept his stock, it would have been worth over 36 billion dollars today.) Wayne told interviewers, “I have never had the slightest pangs of regret, because I made the best decision with the information available to me at the time.”

first_Apple_computer
It wasn’t pretty, but it was still a total game-changer: the very first Apple computer.

Modern Heroes – A Treasured Location

The rest of the story has become modern folklore, Apple moved to bigger quarters and started to build on it’s success in the 1980′s. Eventually Steve Jobs was driven out of the company he and Wozniak had created in 1985. Jobs eventually returned to Apple and lead it to its current glory as the most-admired manufacturing company in the world.

But once upon a time, it was only two guys working in a humble garage, trying to build a dream. “It was just the two of us, Woz and me,” Jobs recalled during a mid-90s return visit to 2066 Crist Drive. “We were the manufacturing department, the shipping department…everything.”

Next summer, you can pick up the original spirit of Jobs and Wozniak by attending one of Digital Media Academy summer tech camps.