Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings

Designers: Bakewell and Weihe, Architects (firm); Brown, Arthur, Jr., and Associates, Architect (firm); John Bakewell Jr. (architect); Arthur Brown Jr. (architect); Ernest Edward Weihe (architect)

Dates: constructed 1940-1941

550 Serra Mall
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010

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Located just across from Bakewell and Brown's Memorial Auditorium.

Building History

Although patterned on the Salamanca New Tower, Hoover Tower also demonstrated a resemblance to Bertram Goodhue's Nebraska State Capitol Building, Lincoln, NE, 1922-1932. The building housed the vast collection of documents gathered by President Herbert Hoover (1874-1964), (and other Stanford faculty members) during and after World War I. As Chairman or Head of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, the U.S. Food Administration, and the American Relief Administration, Hoover had ample opportunity to collect information pertaining to the outbreak of the Great War. Hoover donated $50,000 to establish a collection at Stanford in 1919, dedicated to study of World War I. This tower served as a climate-controlled warehouse for Hoover's collections. The Hoover Institution and Tower were dedicated on 06/20/1941.

Building Notes

Architectural historian Jeffrey Tilman has indicated that designer Arthur Brown, Jr.'s (1874–1957) inspiration for the top of Hoover Tower was a Spanish Romanesque model: "Sometime in 1939 Brown took the drawings to Hoover's home, and while in discussion with him about how the tower might fit into the Romanesque campus, Lou Henry Hoover made the suggestion that Brown look at the New Tower at the Old Cathedral at Salamanca, Spain. Brown had already used the arcaded dome form at Pasadena City Hall and the AT&SF station at San Diego--but at Stanford the Salamanca motif was transformed into an entire building." Tilman also indicated that, for technical reasons, Arthur Brown, Jr.'s former partner, John Bakewell (1872-1963), (and his new partner Ernest Weihe [1893-1968]) were all credited as designers of Hoover Tower, but only Brown could rightfully take claim to this title. (See "Arthur Brown Jr. Progressive Classicist, [New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2006], p. 221.)

The structural engineer, Michael Pregnoff (1900-1996), has been credited with structural engineering work on Stanford's Hoover Tower. (See Structural Engineers Association of Northern California, "Michael Pregnoff," accessed 04/24/2020.) Pregnoff also collaborated with Arthur Brown, Jr., (1874-1957), and G.A. Lansburgh, (1876-1969), on the structural engineering of the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco.

PCAD id: 6780