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Siliconia -- Part 2
Silicon G -- Silicon O

[ Go to Siliconia TOC | A -- Silicon F | Silicon G -- Silicon O | Silicon P -- Z ]


The region around Kalispel, Montana, USA [1998]

From Dan Kohn <dan at teledesic dot com>: "I have in my office Doug Lockie <dlockie at endgate dot com>, Founder of Endgate technologies, which makes GaAs-based milimeter wave radios. He just referred to the area around Kalispel, MT as Silicon Glacier (it's near Glacier National Park)."



The region around Livingston, Scotland [before 1985]
also applied more generally to the entire stretch from Edinburgh to Glasgow

From Randy Enger <enger at rational dot com>: "Sun Microsystems set up a manufacturing plant in the Glasgow area maybe in 1988 or 1989, and the term Silicon Glen was being used then."

From Per Stymne <pstymne at hotmail dot com>: "The nicknamne Silicon Glen for the area between Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland is much older than from 1988-89. I and a colleague wrote a series of articles about Silicon Glen in 1985, and the expression was quite well established long before that.

From Ron Leckie <ron at infras dot com>: "I was born and raised in Edinburgh, and started work in 1970 at one of the early silicon manufacturing plants in Scotland -- Signetics at Linlithgow. This is only 18 miles to the west of Edinburgh, and, by the way, to correct the earlier input from Randy Enger, Sun's plant is in Linlithgow -- near Edinburgh, not Glasgow. The term Silicon Glen was coined I believe some time late in the 1970's. I left Silicon Glen for Silicon Valley in 1976, and I do not recollect the name being used until after I had been in California for a few years. The Scottish Development Agency (now called "Locate In Scotland") commissioned an artist, David Gray, to create a caricature map of the 'Glen. This map is similar to the 'Valley caricature map and depicts the hundreds of high tech companies in the 'Glen. Edinburgh and Glasgow are less than 50 miles apart, but "Silicon Glen" streches beyond each city from east coast to west coast for about 80 miles."

new Craig Cockburn <craig at siliconglen dot com> has set up a minimalist Scottish resource page at siliconglen.com.



2. San Jose, California, USA

From Joshua Levy <joshua at intrinsa dot com>: "This is sort of cheating, but the first name of Silicon Valley (in Santa Clara Valley, CA) was Silicon Gulch. Silicon Valley is a later mutation of this name."

1. Austin, Texas,USA [1992?]
where Apple, Motorola, and IBM developed the PowerPC chip

From Raven Brewster <ravenb at redshift dot com>. See also the Rosabeth Moss Kanter quote at Silicon Bog.



The area around Hudson, Massachusetts [1990?]
where Digital's chip foundry is located

From Randy Enger <enger at rational dot com>: "It's the term for DEC's Hudson facility. Maybe it's only used in and around DEC, but, gee, I've heard of it (and I've never worked for DEC)."



The hills west of downtown Austin, Texas, USA [1988?]

From John W.Cobb <cobbjw at ornl dot gov>: "I used to live in Austin, TX in the 1985-1993 timeframe. I never heard the term Silicon Gulch used for Austin by Austinites. It is mainly a term used by those outside of Austin to refer to Austin, IMO. The term I heard used most often about Austin's high tech ventures in both Silicon and Software was Silicon Hills. This is because 10 miles west of downtown lies the Balcones Fault and associated escarpment. Many of the technology companies (or divisions of technology companies) in the area were located west of town, often overlooking the town and river -- really some quite beautiful views.

"I remember an especially interesting poster that had a caricature of the Austin skyline in the lower right part of a 16x20 poster and in the upper and left portions were green hills populated by armadillos sitting at computer terminals. Silicon-related ventures in the area include:

"And in the near future, there will be a large Samsung Fab and the newest IBM 'lab' on the scale of T.J. Watson, Almaden, or Zurich, will be located in Austin. Them Armadillos in the hills, just keep pecking away at their keyboards."

From Joe Jarrett <joejarre at netcom dot com>: "Your compilation leaves out AMD's fab facilities located there. In fact, I belive most of their fab capacity is in Austin. Also, Motorola has their largest and most expensive fab in the Oak Hill section of Austin (firmly in the hills)..."

From Joseph Shieh <usajobs at ix dot netcom dor com>: Dell Computer calls its home region of Austin, TX The Silicon Hills of Texas. It's mentioned on their recruitment site.



Oak Ridge, Tennesee, USA [1998]

Peter Merholz <peterme at peterme dot com> notes this NY Times profile about Oak Ridge, one of several areas dubbed the birthplace of the nuclear bomb. An organization there called Technology 2020 provides an "incubator" environment for new high-tech ventures. The article quotes that organization's president as saying that locals have long called the area Silicon Hollow.



Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C., USA [1996]

This Siliconium dropped from the lips of an unnamed Washington insider at the 2nd Annual NII Awards dinner in December 1996. It alludes to a slang term for a feature of the West Virginia hills, where valleys or hollows are called "hollers." Use of the term is almost always pejoritive as it calls to mind hillbillies and other country primitives.



5. St. John, Virgin Islands [1998]

David Lebling <david_lebling at avid dot com> writes: "I recently had the privilege of spending two weeks on St. John in the Virgin Islands. While there I noticed a headline in one of the local papers ('Tradewinds') that went something like 'St. John to be Silicon Island: Four Hi-Tech Companies Locate Here.'"

4. Long Island, New York, USA [1997]

Pamela Mendels quotes a spokesman for the Long Island Software & Technology Network referring to Long Island as Silicon Island, in her NY Times article (1997-12-29, free acount required).

3. Alameda, California, USA [1996?]

Larry Slonaker <Lslonaker at sjmercury dot com> cites Silicon Island in his SJ Mercury News article as referring to the town of Alameda (which is an island in San Francisco Bay). See the site of the Silicon Island Technology Consortium page -- their logo is a cute little Alameda-shaped chip with leads.

2. Taiwan, Republic of China [1996]

The (free) local computer broadsheet New York Metro ComputerUser features a column called @Silicon Island, submitted by a China News correspondent and covering goings-on in the Taiwan computer industry. It is written in a language curiously like English.

1. Whidbey Island, Washington, USA [1996]

From Bob Pritchett <BOB at logos dot com>: "Here at Logos Research Systems, Inc. we like to say that we're located on Silicon Island -- Whidbey Island, Washington, about 1.5 hours north of Seattle. In addition to our 90+ person software company and various consultants, etc., we've got a Naval Air Station hosting electronic warfare squadrons."



Ireland [1997]

From Clark Shishido <shishido at sig dot bsh dot com>, who pointed out this news.com piece. proposing Ireland as the Silicon Isle of Europe.



North Albuqueque / Rio Rancho area of New Mexico, USA [1996?]

From Clifford E. Gregory <cgregory at tiac dot net>: "The term Silicon Mesa is used to describe Albuquerque, NM, proper or the north Albuquerque/Rio Rancho area generally, in the following references. The term Silicon Mesa is especially witty because silicon mesas are a feature in the structure of semiconductor chips. (This fact does complicate Alta Vista searches a bit if you use the search term 'silicon mesa' alone.)

"Silicon Mesa seems especially appropriate for Albuquerque because semiconductor chips are actually made there. My impression is that most Siliconia are concentrations of hardware assemblers and integrators and software developers, not places where semiconductors are made. Given the high cost of building a semiconductor fabrication plant ('fab'), I would expect that there would be relatively few of them in the world. Intel and Sumitomo both have fabs in Albuquerque.

"This article from a Japanese business magazine describes plans by Sumitomo and Silmax to build facilities in the Silicon Mesa, identified as the north Albuquerque/Rio Rancho area.

"The Silicon Mesa News -- appears to be the first (and to date, only) issue of an e-zine dedicated to reporting the cultural and environmental effects of the development of a high-tech area in the high desert region. The editor saw the devastating effects of high-tech development on the landscape of the original Silicon Valley."



3. Mountaintop, Pennsylvania, USA

From Tony Pietrzykoski <tpetchy at mail dot microserve dot net>: "I was just surfing by and noticed you were missing our local Silicon Mountain."

From the Web page for Harris Semiconductor's Mountaintop, PA site:

The Semiconductor Sector manufactures discrete power devices in Mountaintop, Pennsylvania , sometimes referred to as Silicon Mountain. The 5" and 6" wafer fabs sit atop a 2100 hill, overlooking Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.

2. Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA [1983]

From Scott Bingham <bingham at nntpd2 dot cxo dot dec dot com>: "I first heard the term Silicon Mountain, meaning the Colorado Springs, Colorado area, from Dr. Jay Bayne, the professor who was teaching the computer communications course at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, in Spring 1983."

From Bryce <bryce at colorado dot edu>: "In 1983 I moved to Colorado Springs and installed my first modem (a 300 baud acoustic coupler connected to my Texas Instruments 99/4a Home Computer). I then logged onto my first BBS -- at that time Colorado Springs was reputed to have the second-most BBS's per capita after some Silicon Valley town. The name of the BBS was SMARTNet -- 'Silicon Mountain Advanced Remote Terminal Network.'"

Note added 2000-02-07: This article in the Gazette bring us up to date on the status of silicon in Colorado Springs.

here Note added 2000-12-09: This TechRockies page gives details on "61 companies in Silicon Mountain -- Colorado's Front Range."

1. Hudson, Massachusetts, USA [1983]
where Digital's chip foundry is located

From Samuel M. Levitin <levitin at cadsys dot enet dot dec dot com>: "Digital printed bumper stickers 5-10 years ago that read We Climbed Silicon Mountain. I have not heard it called Silicon Hill. However, topographically speaking, the mound of earth that was flattened to build the Hudson, MA facility (in 1981, I think) was only high enough to be called a hill, not a mountain."



Suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts, USA [1979?]

From Sarah E. Bourne <sarah dot bourne at state dot ma dot us>: "I remember a reference to Route 128 (I-95) in Massachusetts as the Silicon Necklace sometime in the late 70's, maybe early 80's, probably in the Boston Globe. (Route 128 loops around Boston.) Then all the minicomputer companies clustered along this highway went belly-up and I never saw the term again."

Ms. Bourne, who is Internet Services Director for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, doesn't mention the aspect I find most charming about this rare old Siliconium. That is its echo of the phrase Emerald Necklace, which refers to a connected series of parks and public spaces along the River Charles in Boston. This extensive planned space was laid out in the previous century by Frederick Law Olmstead. The advent of the automobile has, alas, broken up the once connected park space into discontinuous islands, which remain among the most charming in Boston.



Wenatchee Valley, Washington, USA [1997-12-05]

From K. Beauchamp <beaucomm at beaucomm dot com>: "The Silicon Orchard Technology Association is a coalition of individuals, businesses, schools, universities, governments and other area organizations dedicated to building a foundation for growing software companies and technologies in the Silicon Orchard." SOTA's top page notes the importance of apple growing to the region.


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Most recently updated 2000-12-09