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Century at Stanford

By Karen Bartholomew

100 YEARS AGO (1901)
Jane Stanford returned in October from a 15-month international tour that included visits to England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Egypt and Palestine.

The Memorial Church organ, built for $15,500 by the Murray M. Harris Organ Co. of Los Angeles, was installed in the choir loft of the unfinished church. It featured 46 stops and 2,905 pipes, ranging in length from 1/2 inch to 16 feet.

75 YEARS AGO (1926)
Three hundred guests watched a demonstration of six 2.1-million-volt flashovers between electrodes 20 feet apart at the September dedication of the Harris J. Ryan High-Voltage Laboratory. The University had set aside 200 acres for an experimental high-voltage transmission line, as well as a building resembling a dirigible hangar. Using these facilities, Professor Ryan and his associates solved many problems of power transmission in the West, including how to deliver electricity from Hoover Dam to Los Angeles.

The University used a major grant from the Guggenheim Fund to establish the Daniel Guggenheim Experimental Laboratory of Aerodynamic and Aeronautic Engineering. Since 1916, professors William F. Durand and Everett P. Lesley had conducted airplane propeller research on campus. The grant enabled them to test propellers and airplane parts in a new structure behind the Quad.

50 YEARS AGO (1951)
University officials in October took the first step in opening portions of Stanford land to industrial users when they signed a lease with Varian Associates for a 10-acre tract along El Camino Real, adjacent to Barron Park. The San Carlos-based electronics company—formed by Russell H. Varian, ’25, MA ’27, and his brother, Sigurd, as a spin-off of research they conducted in the Stanford physics department—built a $1 million research and development laboratory during the next year. Varian Associates was the first tenant in what became the Stanford Industrial Park (renamed Stanford Research Park in 1974).

St. Ann’s Chapel, constructed in Palo Alto for the Newman Club—the Catholic student organization—was dedicated in October. War correspondent and playwright Clare Booth Luce donated the chapel as a memorial to her daughter, Ann Clare Brokaw, a Stanford student who was killed in a Palo Alto automobile accident in 1944.

Sequoia Hall’s top two floors were cut down and the building remodeled into a one-story headquarters for the statistics department. Constructed as the original Roble dormitory for women in 1891, the building had been turned over to men and rechristened Sequoia Hall when the “new” Roble opened in 1918.

25 YEARS AGO (1976)
Professor Burton Richter was named co-winner of the Nobel Prize in physics for directing the team of Stanford and Lawrence Berkeley Lab scientists that discovered the elementary “psi” particle two years earlier.

Stanford University Press closed its printing division, which dated to the University’s early days. Publication functions remained intact.


Karen Bartholomew,'71, writes this column on behalf of the Stanford Historical Society.

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