Famous Farm Fires

July/August 2002

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Famous Farm Fires

INFLAMED: Arsonists destroyed the Naval ROTC building in 1968.

1888: A fire of suspicious origin destroys the Palo Alto Stock Farm stable in April, killing nine of Leland Stanford’s most prized racehorses.

1935: Haystacks drying in fields around campus become tinder for student pranksters. University officials are not amused.

1960: Phi Gamma Delta’s grand plantation-style residence, known as Fiji House, burns to the ground in August. Although there are no injuries, the blaze prompts Stanford to expand its fire department.

1961: Fire destroys Stanford’s international student center on Lasuen Street.

1966: An electrical fire causes $40,000 in damage to the 50-year-old Kappa Sigma frat house.

1968: An early-morning fire destroys Stanford’s Naval ROTC building near Galvez Street in May, finishing off a previous arson attempt in March.

1968: Arson destroys the office of President Wallace Sterling in July, causing $300,000 in damage and wiping out possessions Sterling had collected during nearly four decades in higher education.

1970: In April, just hours after the breakup of an Old Union sit-in, arsonists hit the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, destroying the life work of several prominent scholars.

Firefighters inside the burned-out Junipero LoungeFIRESTORM: In 1971, arson gutted Wilbur Hall's Junipero Lounge.


1971: A bomb explodes at the president’s office, causing $25,000 in damage to the roof, attic and second floor. Three days later, an arson fire guts Junipero Lounge in Wilbur Hall, site of frequent Black Student Union meetings.

1972: An arson fire destroys the Manzanita Park lounge and director’s office in January.

1972: A fire of suspicious origin in May severely damages the MEChA House, home of Stanford’s Chicano student organization.

1972: In June, another fire of suspicious origin causes $1 million in damage to Stanford’s main administration building, Encina Hall. The spectacular nighttime blaze, one of the largest in the history of Santa Clara County, destroys the upper floors of the east wing and the attic of the central wing.

1980: A faulty extension cord sets Storey House alight in March, causing $300,000 in damage to the student residence.

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