America's First Website Returns to Life, Thanks to Stanford Researchers

Stanford University

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America's first website has been resurrected by an archival team at Stanford University. Dating to 1991, the site belongs to the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory — the first on the continent to pick up on the whole World Wide Web trend. Not the first in the world, of course: The first websites were created by Tim Berners-Lee during his time at the European particle lab CERN — technically, as Berners-Lee confirmed in 2010, in France. SLAC physicist Tony Johnson saw it demonstrated there in 1991, and brought the idea home. He and fellow physicist Paul Kunz set up their own server, the first in the U.S., that December. And of course neither was the first Internet site — that's a whole other story.

Stanford Wayback, a project of the libraries at the university, has been attempting to archive such historic content, and just put the original SLAC pages online here. Don't expect any cat videos or celebrity tweets, though. It's pretty barebones, and would have been accessed via command line — graphical browsers like Mosaic wouldn't arrive for a couple years still.



—Devin Coldewey