The Stanford University, lately founded by Senator Stanford of California, and named after his son, Leland Stanford, jr., is now in process of construction. The amount of the donation is $20,000,000. The founder intends to establish a university town in connection with the university proper, the town to be restricted to the use of members of the university.
The entire tract embraces about 7000 acres in the San Jose valley, about thirty miles from San Francisco, overlooking the head of the bay and not far from Menlo Park, the country home of several prominent Californians. It occupies the rolling slopes of the low hills of one of the interior coast ranges. In addition to the immediate surroundings of the university, the plan embraces an arboretum in which it is proposed to gather the arboreal vegetation of California and of other regions of the world with similar climates, and an artificially planned forest of several acres which will serve as a model to planters on the Pacific coast. The arboretum will doubtless become to the university and to the Pacific slope what the Arnold Arboretum here in Boston is to be to Harvard University and the northern Atlantic slope. Senator Stanford has decided to devote to the arboretum as much space as is needed to contain every tree that can be made to grow in that climate with the aid of irrigation. The trees are to be planted in open order, and arranged with siestas and views, so that the place will have the features of a pleasure ground in addition to its scientific character.
The central buildings of the university, now partly under construction after designs by the Boston architects, Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, the successors of Richardson, are to stand in the center of the broad plain occupying the greater part of the tract. The purpose of the plan, so far as represented, is: first, to provide for convenient and economical use, by large numbers, of the means of research and instruction to be offered in the central buildings; second, to provide in the arrangements devised for this purpose an outward character, suitable to the climate of the locality that will serve to foster the growth of refined, but simple and inexpensive tastes; third, to favor the formation, in connection with the university, of a community instructively representative of attractive and wholesome conditions of social and domestic life. The design of the building now in progress is a novel one. There is a central quadrangle, its four sides formed by a continuous arcade of stone, 18 feet high, 20 deep and 1700 long. Opening from the arcade are to be a series of structures for class rooms, lecture rooms, draughting rooms and rooms for scientific investigation and instruction. These structures are each to be of only one story, high and airy, provided, where needed, with light and ventilation from above, as well as on four the sides. The simple method of construction is considered as the most likely to avoid hindrances to the ready adoption in the future of new inventions or methods and conveniences for liberal education. The style of architecture is Spanish. Portions of the site for additional buildings are to be used for athletic grounds, and the remainder for the fields of the agricultural department.
The public streets of the town, which curve pleasantly and easily, are to have borders ten feet wide planted with shade trees. All this work is to be done immediately, and all land within the limits of the town not to be presently occupied is to be closely planted and thinned out before the growth becomes crowded. Clearings are to be made as, from time to time, space is wanted for buildings, and it is intended to enclose building sites not expected soon to be occupied, with hedges. These two simple expedients will prevent the immediate surroundings of the university from taking on at any point the usual aspect of "vacant lots" in the outskirts of towns and villages, features which, in California, on account of the dry summer climate, are apt to be more forlorn even than in the east.
Besides the present buildings, the plan embraces reservations for extensive additional building sites for a university church, a memorial arch, buildings for the industrial department now under construction, libraries and museums, a botanic garden, four districts laid out in building lots suitable for detached dwellings and domestic gardens, with public ways directly communicating with the central university buildings, sites for a kindergarten, a primary school, an advanced school, and a school of industry and physical training, and a direct avenue between the central quadrangle and a proposed station of the Southern Pacific Railway, bordered by groves and promenades, with space in the wheelway for a double-track street railway.
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