The San Francisco Chronicle is has been running a great series on the history of Silicon Valley, which has its roots in radio engineers who formed hobby clubs not long after the big ’06 earthquake.
Along with the birth of Hewlett-Packard in their famous Palo Alto garage, another key point on the “Silicon Valley timeline” was in 1957 when 8 engineers left Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory to form Fairchild Semiconductor. Two of these engineers were Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore (author of “Moore’s Law”), who would later go on to start Intel.
Entrepreneur Ralph Vaerst heard the term “Silicon Valley” and suggested it to his friend Don Hoefler who used it in a series of “Silicon Valley USA” articles for Electronic News, starting with the January 11, 1971 issue. In 1975 the Homebrew Computer Club formed, where Steve Wozniak showed off the Apple I in 1976, and the rest is history.