If you enter the Stanford campus from Palo Alto's University Avenue, off in the distance you will see the impressive architecture of the main campus quadrangle backed by the amazing chapel. The church's facade is is 190 feet long and 86 feet tall. Inside there is room to seat 1250 worshipers. The original organ was built in 1901, and has 3,355 pipes, and today there are three other organs. Memorial Church was built from 1899 to 1903 by Jane Lathrop Stanford in memory of her husband and university founder, Leland Stanford. Since it opened, the church has been the site of some 7,500 weddings.
The stunning facade is decorated with colorful mosaics whose tiles are said to contain 20,000 different shades of color. The mosaic took 12 people two years to create, and at the time it was the largest tile mosaic in America.
The church has suffered significant damage from some of the area's big earthquakes. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake knocked down the clock tower and spire and destroyed the mosaic. In 1917 the repairs were finally completed, no minus the clock tower and spire. The church was closed from 1989 to 1993 after the Loma Prieta earthquake, and the mosaics again required major reconstruction work.
Stanford's a walkable campus, and given the weather here in California, it's walkable without an umbrella most of the year. Stanford's a typical university campus, featuring parkland, interesting architecture, a well-stocked university bookstore (the highlight for me), and the occasional museum and publicly-displayed art.
Nearby is the Stanford Linear Accelerator, the Stanford Shopping Center, and downtown Palo Alto along University Avenue.
Westin Palo Alto Palo Alto
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