The Second Building

Below: Photograph of the first and second building constructed in 1892 and 1894, respectively, for Hopkins Seaside Laboratory , perched on a seaside bluff in Pacific Grove, California.

Within the first two years of the seaside laboratory being established, the regular summer session attendance outgrew the capacity of the original first building. Timothy Hopkins once again, through his generosity, provided five thousand dollars for a second building, making at the same time a gift of an equal amount for the purchase of books on biological subjects.(15) In 1894, this second smaller, but a more substantial building, measuring 40 feet long by 20 feet wide was constructed. Stanford Professor of Histology Frank Mace MacFarland provided the following description of the second structure:

This second building contains a large, well-lighted basement with concrete floor used as a physiological laboratory. Above this concrete basement, the first story is divided into a large laboratory for advanced students, and six private rooms. The second floor has a large room fitted with blackboard, tables and bookshelves, used for lecture room and library, five private laboratories and a dark room for photography. Each private room and laboratory is fitted with aquaria, small and large, and all the necessary glassware and reagents. To the rear of this second building there is positioned a large 20,000 salt-water tank. (16)

Below: Photograph of Stanford Professor of Histology Frank Mace MacFarland. His long and intensive study of the nudibranchs brought Dr. MacFarland world-wide recognition as an authority on the life and habits of these animals. Dr. Frank Mace MacFarland participated in thirteen of the twenty-three years regular sessions of the Hopkins Seaside Laboratory. In the position of Assistant to Instructor in the summers of 1892; in the position of Instructor during the summers of 1893, 1894, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1905; in the position of Instructor in Charge during the summers of 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913 and Occupying an Investigators Room during the summer of 1897.


According to OP Jenkins, the Hopkins Seaside Laboratory was abundantly furnished with an excellent supply of freshwater. (17) This freshwater, supplied by a water system constructed by the Pacific Improvement Company, was brought a distance of twenty miles to the laboratory; the source being the headwaters of the Carmel River. (18)

The seawater was acquired from the Monterey Bay, at a location known as “third beach,” this being the seashore across from what is today’s Borg’s Motel. (19) Pumped by a gasoline engine, this seawater was stored in the two elevated tanks from which the supply was then distributed. (20) These two seawater storage tanks were arranged in such a manner that each tank could supply either of the two buildings. (21), (22) One could consider this arrangement of the two seawater storage tanks being designed in such a way as to serve as a backup seawater system, in the event that either of the two storage tanks failed or was down for repair. Throughout both laboratory buildings, the fittings for providing running fresh and salt water were reported to have been rather simple but adequate. The older building was plumbed with galvanized iron, the newer building with block tin, complete the stopcocks being made of rubber. (23) With both fresh and salt water distributed in the buildings, each student had the ability to preserve their collections. (24)


In an article titled The Hopkins Seaside Laboratory that appeared in the journal Science, David Starr Jordan provides a description of what small marine animals were in those seven aquaria and the various glass jars in the first building during the first summer session in 1892.

In the aquaria I notice many specimens of salpa, large transparent tunicates, reaching a length of four or five inches. There are nudibranch mollusks (Aplysia) nearly a foot in length, and a twenty-armed star-fish (Pycnopodia) whose span covers the whole height of one side of the aquarium. This creature has been timed in making a circuit of the four sides of the aquarium, covering the distance of about nine feet in just four minutes. Immense jellyfishes that will almost fill a bushel basket are also very common, and sea anemones, reaching a size by which the largest of the Atlantic seem like marigolds compared with sunflowers. Tunicates, chitons, limpets, sea urchins, sea anemones, octopus, and squid exist in great abundance and variety. Among the fishes are also many forms of interest in the aquaria, numerous species of blennies and sculpins abounding about the rocks. (25)

Below photograph, Ray Lyman Wilbur, with octopus in tank. Wilbur would become the third president of Stanford.


(15) Ibid.

(16) MacFarland, F. M. (1902). The Hopkins Seaside Laboratory. Journal of Applied Microscopy and Laboratory Methods. 5 (7) 1869-1875.

(17) Jenkins, Oliver Pebbles (1893). The Hopkins Seaside Laboratory. Zoe, 4: 58-63

(18) MacFarland, F. M. (1902). The Hopkins Seaside Laboratory. Journal of Applied Microscopy and Laboratory Methods. 5 (7) 1869-1875.

(19) Seavey, Kent. (2005). Pacific Grove. Arcadia Publishing.

(20) Jenkins, Oliver Pebbles (1893). The Hopkins Seaside Laboratory. Zoe, 4: 58-63

(21) Dean, Bashford (1897). A Californian Marine Biological Station. Natural Science. 11 (65) 28-35.

(22) Madden, A.G. (1898). The Marine Biological Laboratory at Pacific Grove. The Overland Monthly 27: 208 -215.

(23) MacFarland, F. M. (1902). The Hopkins Seaside Laboratory. Journal of Applied Microscopy and Laboratory Methods. 5 (7) 1869-1875.

(24) Davis, B. M. (1895). The Hopkins Seaside Laboratory at Pacific Grove. Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis, Ind. Volume 59, Indiana Academy of Science.

(25) Jordan, David Starr (1892b). The Hopkins Seaside Laboratory. Science. 20 (496) 76-77.