updated 03:19 pm EDT, Thu October 4, 2012
Building too young to be historic, state and federal rules say
Earlier this week, the Fremont City Council halted attempts at designating the first Macintosh factory as a historic site, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The city had been hoping to use the building to promote Fremont, both in terms of history and importance to Silicon Valley. Staff recommended dropping plans, though, when it was pointed out that the factory is 30 years old, and therefore too young to meet state or federal criteria for becoming a historic site. In general, buildings can only become historic when they're at least 50 years old, says Fremont planner Kelly Diekmann.
"Last year, when we celebrated Steve Jobs Day here in Fremont, there was a sense that a global story was being told and somehow we were not at the table telling our story as effectively as we could," comments Vice Mayor Anu Natarajan.
The factory dates back to January 1984, when it was opened on 20 acres of land on Warm Springs Boulevard. The city claims that the facility was able to churn out a Macintosh every 27 seconds; Fremont's mayor, Gus Morrison, remarks that he once got a call from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs after a building inspector asked Apple to make structural changes to the factory. "I picked up the phone and he said, 'This is Steve Jobs and I'm' -- insert vernacular for really angry," Morrison explains.
By 1986 Apple had moved its computer manufacturing out of California. The Fremont building switched to laser printers and software, then ultimately shut down in 1992.
Short of labeling it historic, the Council is considering placing a plaque at the factory. City officials plan to contact the building's current tenant, Hurricane Electric, for feedback.