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About the Gymnasium Dig Project


Disaster Strikes!

On April 18, 1906 the Great San Francisco Earthquake struck, leaving hundreds of buildings in ruins and cities in flames. On the Stanford University campus, dozens of sandstone and brick buildings were damaged, two men were killed, and students camped out in tents outside their dormitories.

The University launched a lengthy rebuilding campaign: it took nearly a decade to complete the repairs. Four major landmarks on the campus were dismantled and not reconstructed: the soaring steeple of Memorial Church, the monumental Memorial Arch, the Library and the Men's Gymnasium.

Gym after earthquake

Men's Gynmasium After 1906 Earthquake


The ruined concrete foundations of the Library and Gymnasium remained visible on the surface for decades, before finally disappearing under a grove of trees and wild grasses in a quiet corner of the campus near Frost Amphitheater.

Overhead View of Ruin

This overhead photograph taken in 1931 shows the foundation wall foot print of the Men's Gymnasium. Its front entrance faced the Art Museum and Museum Way provided a convenient avenue between the two structures.

In 2007, Stanford announced plans for a new performing arts precinct in the neighborhood of Memorial Hall and Frost Amphitheater. The former site of the Men's Gymnasium was selected for a new concert hall. The ruin of the Men's Gymnasium will be partially destroyed by construction of the concert hall.

Additional Earthquake Photographs





Historical images used on this page are for reference only. Further reproduction requires permission from the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries.

Copyright 2008 Stanford University.