Digital Corporation Mill Site, Massachusetts

The old Assabet Woolen Company mill complex in downtown Maynard, became the home of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1957, after Ken Olsen and his new business partners quit MIT's Lincoln Lab, to pursue a groundbreaking idea for low-cost minicomputers. The new company was soon occupying the entire 19-building mill complex, ultimately purchasing it in 1974 for $2.2 million. DEC pioneered many significant hardware and software innovations via its PDP and VAX systems, becoming the second largest computer maker in the world - second only to IBM. In 1990, it employed 124,000 people (having by then moved beyond the old mill), and for many years it was ranked as the largest company based in Massachusetts. Digital  Equipment Corporation, one of the few long-term success stories of Route 128's computer industry, was later acquired by Compaq in 1998, for $9 billion. Compaq itself was acquired by Hewlett Packard in 2002 for $24.4 billion, and was retired as a brand in 2013.