The story behind the random century-old barn on Apple’s futuristic $5 billion campus – Business Insider

Apple Park
Apple Park as of the end
of May


Tucked away in a corner of Apple Park, the company’s new
futuristic, custom-designed $5 billion campus in Cupertino,
California, is a particularly low-tech building. It stands out in
a campus of gleaming glass and concrete structures where even the
door handles are
custom designed

So why did Apple recently construct an early-20th century barn in
the shadow of its massive new “spaceship” campus? Here’s a good
picture from a recent drone flyover video filmed by Matthew

Apple BarnYouTube/Matthew Roberts

It turns out, the historic “Glendenning Barn” was on the land
first, and after a former Cupertino mayor asked Apple CEO Tim
Cook what the company planned to do with the barn in the early
stages of campus planning, Apple carefully took it apart and
eventually put it back together, just the way it was constructed

The Glendenning barn, built in 1916, had previously survived
several changes of ownership, as the land around it transformed
from farmland owned by the Glendenning family, to orchards, to an
HP office park, and now, to Apple’s new
headquarters. Apple BarnThe barn when the area was
still farmland.
Cupertino Historical

The barn wasn’t specifically protected by local law, but the
Cupertino Historical Society tried to save it, and it was beloved
by the site’s previous owners, HP, which used it as a gathering
place for beer bashes and picnics. “I’m anxious to one day see it
again,” Ed Miller, a former HP manager,
told the Mercury News

Apple will store sports equipment and landscaping supplies in the
barn. But its value to Apple is more as a little piece of history
that shows how Silicon Valley has changed.

An environmental impact report
commissioned by Apple in 2013
gives the full backstory of the land that Apple’s “spaceship”
campus now sits on: 

The project site was occupied by Robert and Margaret Howie
Glendenning beginning in the 1850s. The Glendennings, originally
from Scotland, were one of the first European-Americans to
homestead in Cupertino. In 1851, the couple began farming 160
acres of land, living initially in a tent on the land. After
building a house and planting crops, the owners of the Alviso
Land Grant laid claim to the property, and the Glendennings were
compelled to purchase the land at $30 an acre. Margaret
Glendenning finished the land payments upon the death of her
husband in 1868. 

By 1884, when Robert and Margaret’s children had come of legal
age, the Glendenning property was divided among the family.
Margaret Howie lived on the southern half of the property and the
northern half was divided amongst the six Glendenning children:
Mary, Margaret C. (Caroline), Ellen (Ella), Joe, Jim, and George.
In 1888, approximately 60 acres of the property contained
orchards and the remaining portion was utilized for grain and hay
production. Margaret Howie had a house built on her property in
1889, where she lived with her daughters, Margaret C. Burrell and
Ellen Glendenning.

In 1914, Margaret Burrell obtained her mother’s parcel and her
daughter and son-in-law, Grace and John Leonard, purchased the
land. Leonard converted 48 acres of the property from dry-farming
(hay and grain production) to irrigated orchards. It is thought
that John Leonard built the Glendenning Barn around this time.
The Leonards established a dehydrating and packing business on
the property. 

In 1964, Varian Associates purchased the Glendenning property
from John Leonard and his son, Burrel. The Glendenning parcel was
one of several family properties, including the Lester, Craft,
and Orlando families, to be purchased by Varian. The Varian lands
were pooled into the VALLCO land corporation, the name of which
was derived from the first names of the principal parties
involved in the sale. The Glendenning-Leonard acreages were the
key parcels to be incorporated into VALLCO Park and became the
site of the Varian building, the first constructed in the park.
VALLCO continued minimal farming operations into the 1970s, but a
master plan and associated development phased out farming.

Apple BarnYouTube/Matthew Roberts

VALLCO sold 46 acres to Hewlett-Packard in 1968, followed by
another 50 acres in 1971. Aerial photographs from the 1980s show
the barn, pump house, and windmill tower, but the Glendenning
house built for Margaret Howie Glendenning, Margaret Burrell, and
Ellen Glendenning was demolished in the early 1970s. The
Hewlett-Packard and Ridgeview campuses were constructed in phases
from the mid-1960s to late 1980s. Hewlett-Packard sold the
98-acre office park in November 2010 to Apple as part of its plan
to consolidate employees at its Palo Alto campus. The property is
just north of a 50-acre site Apple bought in 2006 and east of the
main Apple campus. The properties purchased by Apple in 2006 and
2010 are part of the project site.

Check out the most recent Apple Park drone flyover video


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