Stanford University extensive guide to Berkeley and San Francisco area, plus inspiring articles about trips around the world

Berkeley and Beyond


PALO ALTO  Attractions

Stanford University Campus
Entrance at El Camino Real/University Ave.  Campus facilities are sometimes closed during academic breaks.

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Founded by Leland Stanford in 1885 on what had been his family’s horse farm, California’s premier private university is dedicated to the memory of Stanford’s son, who died of typhoid fever at the age of 15.  It is fittingly nicknamed “The Farm” and is home to 13 Nobel Prize winners.  The most dramatic entrance to the campus is from the east via

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Palm Drive, which leads to the Oval, the Main Quadrangle, and Memorial Church. 

●The free
Marguerite Shuttle bus transports anyone around the campus, to downtown, and to the two shopping centers. 

campus tours are free and student led. 

●The Quadrangle is the oldest part of the campus and features Mission-style architecture. 

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●Nearby, the
Stanford Memorial Church, which was dedicated in 1903, is one of the earliest interdenominational churches in the West.  It has five pipe organs, including a 4,422-pipe Fisk baroque played at Sunday morning services that are open to everyone. 

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●East of the Quad is Hoover Tower, Stanford’s shorter version of the
University of California’s campanile.  It stands 285 feet tall and affords a panoramic view of the area from its observation platform.  Fee.

●At the tower’s base, a museum that is part of the
Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace honors Stanford graduate and former president Herbert Hoover. 

The New Guinea Sculpture Garden at Stanford displays totem poles and other wood and stone sculptures made on the campus in 1994 by New Guinea master carvers.

●Also nearby, the
Stanford Art Gallery is home to revolving exhibitions of works by international and regional artists. 

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●Built in 1892, the neoclassical
Cantor Arts Center is located just off the Palm Drive entrance and is the oldest museum west of the Mississippi.  Admission is free.  It is also the first building constructed of structurally reinforced concrete—quite a technical accomplishment at the time.  Having suffered severe damage in the 1989 earthquake, it is repaired and once again showing its eclectic collection of extraordinary ancient Asian and Egyptian treasures, modern and contemporary art, Stanford family memorabilia, and California Native American objects (a noteworthy item in this latter collection is a canoe carved by Yurok Indians from a single redwood log).  
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A small cafe provides indoor and outdoor seating.

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●The adjacent 1-acre Rodin Sculpture Garden holds 20 bronzes, including “The Gates of Hell.”  Together the museum and garden hold the world’s second-largest collection of Rodin sculpture (the largest is in Paris).  The garden is always available to view and provides some shaded picnic tables and benches.

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●Across from museum’s southeast corner, Andrew Goldsworthy's 128-ton “Stone River” is displayed in a riverbed.  Made from post 1989-earthquake sandstone recovered from campus buildings resemble, it slithers along like a snake. 

●Next door, the
Anderson Collection at Stanford Univerity displays an outstanding private collection of modern and contemporary American art. 

●An Outdoor Sculpture Walk tour  is scheduled regularly.  See works by Rodin, Miro, and George Segal.

Arizona Garden/Cactus Garden  Located in the middle of the campus, this garden features hundreds of cactus.  Designed in 1883, it has been here for a long, long time and offers a lovely stroll.

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image courtesy of venue, copyright Karin Moriarity
Hanna House  Reservations required.  Nicknamed Honeycomb House, this 1937 home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is built of glass, brick, and redwood and has no 90-degree wall angles.  Everything is composed of honeycomb-shaped hexagons that are repeated throughout in tiles and furnishings.  (When Wright was designing this house, he was at a turning point in his career.  Later, he went on to use some of the ideas he originated here to make waves with his design of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.)  Wright autographed his works with a signed tile in his favorite shade of red.  Here you will find that tile mounted on a carport support in the courtyard.  An expansive yard includes an enclosed swimming pool, water falling over a staircase-style fountain, and a Japanese-style garden framing a fountain that is being restored.  It is interesting to note that the Hanna’s three children all bought Eichler homes. 

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory  Tours are available of the 2-mile-long linear accelerator in Menlo Park. 

●The Health Library is located in the Hoover Pavilion, across from the Stanford Shopping Center.  Operated by Stanford University Hospital as a community service, it provides an archive of medical information along with helpful volunteer reference librarians. 

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