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The First Building at Hopkins Marine Station

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According to Walter K. Fisher, plans for the Hopkins Marine Station’s new building were the efforts of Professor Frank Mace McFarland, of the Department of Anatomy, in discussions with Professor Charles Henry Gilbert, of the Department of Zoology. When completed, this structure built of reinforced concrete, stood forty-one feet wide by eighty-four feet long, and a height of three stories. As for the interior of the new building, the first floor was held the following: a physiological laboratory for teaching, which contained a large floor aquarium capable of being divided into three separate compartments by moveable partitions, a photographic dark room, a concrete floored room for the storage of boats, a men’s bathroom, a large storeroom, and a janitor’s room. The second floor, into which the main entrance of the building opened, held three large teaching laboratories, and two small private laboratories reserved for instructors.   On the third floor were located six private laboratories for investigators, an advanced laboratory for teaching, a large library, complete with a generous fireplace, an adjoining room for writing, and a women’s bathroom.

In addition, the building was equipped with heating, electricity, as well as freshwater and seawater - both of which were efficiently plumbed to each laboratory. The opening of this new building, 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.  Within the first years of relocating the facility to China Point, the Hopkins Marine Station became a bustle of excitement both in terms of teaching and research efforts. The coming decades necessitated an expanded emphasis directed toward both education and exploration, with spring and summer quarters courses offered to students, and access to the station extended to both faculty and visiting scientist, year-round.

In January 1929, the Board of Trustees of Stanford University named this building which had long been referenced as Hopkins Marine Station, the Alexander Agassiz Laboratory, in recognition of one of America's leading oceanographers and the son of Louis Agassiz.

Renovated in 1977, the Alexander Agassiz Laboratory provided space and equipment for study of the biology and ecology of marine invertebrates, fishes, and algae. It contains three large teaching laboratories and office and research space for faculty, graduate students, and visiting investigators. Special facilities included a computer facility, three temperature-controlled rooms, rooms equipped for micro-technique and photomicrography, a large aquarium room, and the Gilbert M. Smith herbarium of marine algae. The Station's administrative offices would also be housed in the Agassiz Laboratory.