The history of marine science in southern Monterey Bay began in July of 1880 with the first summer assembly of the PACIFIC COAST BRANCH OF THE CHAUTAUQUA LITERACY AND SCIENTIFIC CIRCLE. The Pacific Coast Assembly of the CLSC was unique as the program of work included daily lectures upon Scientific, Literary and Biblical subjects, with special opportunities for the study of Natural History. Courses of instructions, which were offered at each annual assembly well into the nineteenth century, included marine botany by Dr. CL Anderson, conchology by Josiah Keep and marine zoology with a Dr. JH Wythe.
Stanford University’s HOPKINS SEASIDE LABORATORY was established twelve years later with an opening ceremony on June 27, 1892. The facility was positioned on small treeless plateau referred to locals as Lovers’ Point, a name coined from chapter XI of the book Kate Thurston’s Chautauqua Circles, written by then Secretary of the Pacific Coast Branch of the CLSC, Mary HB Fields. For the next twenty-five years, Hopkins Seaside Laboratory offered summer instruction to visiting students and laboratory space to visiting scientists from around the globe.
In 1905, Dr. Morris Herzstein purchased four acres along the shoreline of New Monterey, which he gifted to the University of California, Berkeley and provided funds for the construction and necessary equipment of a laboratory for Jacques Loeb.
In the year 1916, through the efforts of the third President of Stanford University, Ray Lyman Wilbur and the Stanford Board of Trustees, a land exchange was negotiated with the Pacific Improvement Company that secured five acres of land at a rocky headland named Point Almeja for the immediate purpose of relocating the Hopkins Seaside Laboratory. Having been the site of Pacific Grove’s Chinese fishing community for many years, this particular location was known to the residents of the Monterey peninsula, as China Point. On October 26, 1917, with the construction of the new building in process, the Board of Trustees, in recognition of the financial support provided by long-time Stanford Trustee, Mr. Timothy Hopkins, during the life of the original seaside laboratory, named this new facility the HOPKINS MARINE STATION OF STANFORD UNIVERSITY.
The opening of this new sea seaside laboratory, which coincided with the summer quarter of 1918, heralded the next chapter in the history of Stanford University’s marine science laboratory, nestled along the shoreline of southern Monterey Bay.