Ralston Independent Works Palace of Fine Arts and Ferry Tower, San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

Timothy Hopkins, adopted son of Mark Hopkins, became treasurer of the Central Pacific Railroad in 1883 and treasurer of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1885. Leland Stanford was president of both railroads and a close friend of Timothy Hopkins. At this time Leland Stanford and Jane Lathrop had in mind to establish a town across El Camino Real to support the needs of Stanford University, including student housing, shopping, and recreation, but no liquor. The Stanfords asked the leaders of Menlo Park and Mayfield to close their saloons, but were answered "No."

Leland Stanford advanced funds to Timothy Hopkins to purchase 697.55 acres from Henry W. Seale, and a smaller parcel from the relatives of Maria Louisa Greer. Hopkins drew up a map, named the streets, and recorded the map in 1889, calling it University Park. The map below is from a brochure advertising the area. The new town extended from San Francisquito Creek to Embarcadero Road and from the railroad on El Camino Real to Middlefield Road.

Properties being put up for auction, 3,000 people bought 106 lots, the highest price $287.00 and the lowest $122.50. In 1892 University Park officially became Palo Alto. Timothy Hopkins served as a Stanford University trustee for fifty-one years, donated his private collection of books to the University Library, established the Hopkins Marine station at Pacific Grove, helped create and support the Lane Medical Library, and, with his wife, organized the Stanford Home for Convalescent Children.

Many of Stanford University's first faculty members settled in the Professorville neighborhood of Palo Alto. Stanford University allowed faculty to build houses on Stanford land, but would only lease, not sell, the land. Professorville was the closest place to the campus and downtown Palo Alto that was not owned by the university. Faculty who preferred to own rather than lease land built homes there.

The developer of the tract being eager to sell the land, he sold various lot sizes, including full blocks and half blocks, consequently lot sizes in Professorville varied greatly in size and location. The owners of the large lots then sold off portions of their properties, starting at the outer edges until the original buildings were on modest sized lots.

With Stanford University's support, saloon days faded and Palo Alto grew to the size of Mayfield. On July 2, 1925, Palo Alto voters approved the annexation of Mayfield. The two communities were officially consolidated on July 6, 1925.

Professorville, now a registered national historic district, is approximately bounded by Emerson, Addison, Cowper, and Embarcadero. The district includes a large number of well preserved residences dating from the 1890s, including 833 Kingsley, 345 Lincoln, and 450 Kingsley.

1044 Bryant was the home of Russell Varian, co-inventor of the Klystron tube. The Federal Telegraph laboratory site, 218 Channing, is a California Historical Landmark recognizing Lee de Forest's 1911 invention of the vacuum tube and electronic oscillator at that location.

While not open to the public, the garage where William Hewlett and David Packard began their company is at 367 Addison Avenue. Hewlett Packard recently restored the house and garage. A second historic district on Ramona Street is downtown between University and Hamilton Avenues.


Top of Page

History - Home | Real Estate Homes | History Projects | Technology-Trade | About Us | Contact | Site Map

History Home

History Projects


About Us