Garrison Slate had a dream to use his scientific genius to create a nationwide chain of research laboratories that wouldn't be have the federal government involved but was still able to conduct serious research.
Even though this took some time it was accomplished and people had come to work there for different reasons. S.T.A.R Labs opened up a dozen facilities from all over coast. Their inventions have been licensed out to countries around the world, and such revenues have allowed Slate to run the company without bowing to stockholder pressures. They have also helped to fund the Teen Titans and also upgrade Cyborg's machinery.
S.T.A.R. Lab Locations:
First Appearance: Superman #246.
S.T.A.R. Labs (aka Swann Technology and Research) was first introduced into the "Smallville"-Continuity after the end of the TV Series. It was shown in the comics, that S.T.A.R. Labs was founded by Virgil Swann.
In 2000, Harrison Wells thought up the idea along with his fiancee, Tess Morgan. Wells wanted to name it "Technological Engineering Scientific Studies" or T.E.S.S. for short. She suggested S.T.A.R. Labs. However, Eobard Thawne orchestrated a car accident, killed them both, and took Wells' place. He built S.T.A.R. Labs, and purposefully let the particle accelerator explode, for the express purpose of creating the Flash.
S.T.A.R. Labs has helped the Flash ever since and other friendly metahumans ever since, and has had a hand in putting away quite a few of the bad ones. Within the main building in Central City there is a main control room, where they can monitor everything that goes on in the building, the remains of the particle accelerator, which was converted into a prison for metahumans, a "Time Vault" that was built in by Thawne, living quarters, and a basement. The basement had at one point a trap for the Reverse-Flash, and until recently held a portal to Earth Two.
Currently, Barry Allen owns S.T.A.R. Labs, and has Cisco Ramon, Dr. Caitlin Snow, and a version of Harrison Wells from Earth Two as employees.
It has been shown that the S.T.A.R. Labs in Earth One's Central City is not the only location. There was a branch in Starling City that shut down, and there is a version of the lab in Earth Two's Central City as well. Harrison Wells owned it, and it was shown to be a very large and successful business, and seemed to be a tourist attraction.