Texas has many high tech industries. The nickname “Silicon Prairie” (a take-off of California’s “Silicon Valley”) dates from 1979, and it was much imitated by other cities in the west. The “Silicon Prairie” term is still sometimes heard, but usage has faded.
Austin, Texas later became nicknamed “Silicon Hills” in the 1990s.
14 October 1979, New York Times, “A Whole New World…” by Peter Applebome, pg. NRS2:
With such electronics industry giants as Electronic Data Systems, Texas Instruments and Mostek, the Dallas-Fort Worth area has grown to rival the section south of San Francisco known as Silicon Valley to the point that some people call it Silicon Prairie.
11 October 1981, New York Times, pg. SM29:
One characteristic of the electronics industry is its increasing variety of opportunity. Once largely concentrated in California and around Boston, new areas are sprouting in Texas (the so-called “Silicon Prairie”), Arizona (the “Silicon Desert”), North Carolina, Colorado, the Pacific Northwest and Ontario.
28 March 1982, New York Times, “Layoffs Put Skids on Growth” by Peter Applebome, pg. HT47:
Yet, most observers see a bright future for the Texas electronics industry, which is based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area called the “Silicon Prairie” and has outposts in Austin and San Antonio.
31 July 1983, Syracuse (NY) herald American, pg. C-13:
Delco Electronics has been called one of GM’s best-kept secrets. Division officials like to call the area around their plants, amid the corn and soybean fields near Kokomo, the “Silicon Prairie.”
24 December 1985, Daily Intelligencer (Doylestown, PA), “...while the ‘Silicon Prairie’ in north Texas is weathering its own drought of jobs in electronics” by Kit Frieden (AP), pg. 17B
DALLAS—With the loss of almost 8,000 high-technology jobs in the Dallas area this year, the north Texas that had been dubbed the “silicon Prairie” is weathering on a much smaller scale the kind of drought the oil slump has brought to Houston.
Texas Instrument executives note they employ 80,000 people, the same as in 1983 before the work force jumped to 86,500 during the 1984 boom.
Moore believes Dallas is somewhat protected because of its high-tech companies that cater to the defense and aerospace segments—such as Rockwell International and E-Systems.
6 July 1995, Chicago Daily Herald, “Making a high-tech name for Chicago” by Mark Le Bien, seciton 3, pg.1:
If you’re a software company, why do you want to be in Chicago?
The group has even coined a name for the local industry: The Silicon Prairie.