When Google was founded in 1995, it was based in a no longer used garage. The founders of the company, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were the first to lease this Menlo Park, California, space from Susan Wojcicki, a friend who would later become the chief executive officer of YouTube. The company, which was beginning its journey, paid $1700 monthly for the Garage in the suburbs, and it could appear a bit extravagant for a simple box that usually has a filthy car and old Christmas decorations; however, it was pretty reasonable for a garage in Silicon Valley at the time and especially when you look at the fact that Brin, as well as Page, had already received one million dollars from their investors before they moved into the space. They didn’t stay for long either and set up the business within five months in a thriving office space near Palo Alto.
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have rented their Menlo Park, California, Garage. They founded YouTube in 1998 with Susan Wojcicki, a friend who later became the chief executive of YouTube.
In these five years, the legend of the Google Garage began to be established, a fact that Google has been a part of several times since it launched an interactive version of its initial 1998 configuration. It’s not surprising, given that the suburban beginnings of Google Garage land Google in the same category as other giant conglomerates founded by garages, including Apple, Disney, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Amazon, Mattel, Dyson, and Nest. If you believe in the stories of these companies’ origins, The Garage symbolizes humble beginnings and a flimsy determination to keep moving forward regardless of whether indoor plumbing was present.
Some instances of “startup garage” stories have been exaggerated somewhat out of the realm of possibility (Steve Wozniak claims that Apple is just a warehouse for equipment within its famous Garage, for example), and many other garage-related inventions have failed without making a ripple within the popular consciousness. That doesn’t alter the truth that the Garage’s legend persists. It’s more than just a place to store cars, oil stains, and piles of twisted kids’ bikes. If you’re careful, according to the legend, even a concrete floor and a wall that’s not finished could allow for creativity if you’re living in a mild enough climate that can withstand the fluctuations and highs you may experience in an uninsulated area.
It is believed that the Ricketts Apple-1 Personal Computer (named for its original owner, Charles Ricketts, is the only remaining Apple-1 computer to be documented as having been purchased directly through Steve Jobs to an individual from his Garage. It was auctioned off for $365,000 during the 2014 Christie’s auction.
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For those who can’t create an idea or a product that can change our world in any way, the Garage in suburban areas has a lot of potential and promise. It could be a second refrigerator where families with a good income can store their excess drinks and food. The kind of appliance that displays financial stability through every opening of that large, automatic garage door. It conveys the same type message that other mainstays of a garage, like an adequately-stocked workstation,,a gleaming vehicle, or perhaps a stylish man’s cave.
Garages are a source of hope that promises items to fill them with homes big enough to be able to handle their needs, and suburbias packed with cozy cul de sacs, the afternoons of semi-idle are spent playing about with whatever task requires attention as radio plays a baseball game on the radio.
Garages can also be a beacon of well-designed and crafted. In the construction of the Robie House in 1908, Frank Lloyd Wright incorporated an underground garage with three cars into the building. The Garage would be among the first ever constructed in a residential area, and the previous structures had been used to house cars tucked away from the home to ensure that the homeowners wouldn’t get caught off guard if the modern-day contraptions ignited. Wright was able to see the way garages would evolve into an integral component of American homes, even though the architect believed he disliked enclosed spaces, believing they created clutter. (The architect favored open but covered “carports,” a term Wright coined.)
A view of Bellevue, Washington, home where Jeff Bezos founded Amazon from the Garage in 1994.
It’s partly due to businesses such as Google, Disney, and Apple and their famous founders that garages have been transformed into emblems of innovation. There hasn’t been much change in the design of garages through the years, aside from the advent of garage doors with an intelligent garage door opener and the frequently semi-industrial, half-finished connected spaces showing us that it’s possible to build anything. The continuous expansion of garage-like areas into ” she sheds” and backyard ADUs has proven our need for a blank piece of paper on which to build anything you’d like, be it an empire of software, a fledgling animation studio, or an intimate, quiet area to relax.