The First Days

Below: Photograph of the teacher, Miss Ora Boring, who was among the first cohort of students to open Hopkins Seaside Laboratory 1892 with her students at an Elementary schools on Stanford campus

Oramanda “Ora” Boring, Native of Illinois, (Stanford ’90) graduated, Associates in Biology. Over fifty years of her life were spent in California, where she was a teacher and school executive in many different communities. Ora Boring served on the County Board of Education in San Diego, taught in Los Angeles, was superintendent of schools in Stockton, and a member of the Palo Alto public school faculty as well as a teacher at Castilleja,, an independent college preparatory school for girls in grades 6 – 12, located in Palo Alto, California, was established in 1907.

With the financial support provided, the directors, CH Gilbert and OP Jenkins, in the spring of 1892, contracted for the building of a seaside laboratory, which consisted of a plain wooden structure, two stories in height. By May 14, 1892, construction of the building was in progress with the contractor for the project being a gentleman by the name of Levi Boswell. (1) An announcement in the Salinas Weekly Index on June 2, 1892, provides an account of the status of the construction project just twenty-five days prior to the opening ceremony.

The Hopkins Seaside Laboratory, a branch of the Leland Stanford, Jr., located on Lovers’ Point at Pacific Grove, is being rapidly pushed to completion by a large force of workmen under Contractor Boswell. The site could not have been more satisfactorily selected, as it commands an unbroken view of the sweep of coastline from Santa Cruz to Point Pinos and Monterey. (2)

Just days before the opening of Hopkins Seaside Laboratory, final organizing of the facility was taken up by several of the first cohort of students, are described in a letter written by Charles W. Greene, Professor of Physiology at the University of Missouri to Walter K. Fisher, Director of Hopkins Marine Station.

Myself, Flora Hartley, now (Flora) Greene, who together with Bradley Davis of Ann Arbor and Ora Boring of California, now deceased, were four enthusiastic young graduate students of Stanford who swept the shavings out of the original Hopkins Seaside Laboratory, arranged tables, stocked aquaria, and set the minor mechanism of that laboratory into operation (Letter of Correspondence, April 28, 1936). (3)

The Hopkins Seaside Laboratory at Point Aulon in Pacific Grove, California opened on June 27, 1892, with David Starr Jordan overseeing the ceremony. During this first session of the Hopkins Seaside Laboratory, Charles W. Greene served as one of two assistants at the laboratory for the summer, with Flora Hartley, Bradley M. Davis and Oramanda “Ora” Boring among the small cohort of thirteen students attending that first summer session. (4)

The below photograph of Flora Hartley Greene, who was among the first cohort of students to open Hopkins Seaside Laboratory 1892.


(1) Howard, Donald M. (1999). The Old Pacific Grove Retreat: A Business-Biography History, 1875-1940, [s.n.]: Monterey Peninsula Historiography Press : Donald Howard.

(2) Salinas Weekly Index, Thursday, June 2nd 1892.

(3) Letter of Correspondence, April 28, 1936. [Quoted by permission of the Harold A. Miller Library, Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University.]

(4) The Leland Stanford Junior University Second Annual Register 1892-1893.