Timothy Hopkins

Last updated
Timothy Hopkins
Timothy Hopkins, Treasurer, Southern Pacific Company 1889 0065 (cropped).jpg
Timothy Nolan

1859 (1859)
Augusta, Maine, US
DiedJanuary 1, 1936(1936-01-01) (aged 76–77)
San Francisco, California, US

Timothy Hopkins (1859 1 January 1936) was the adopted son of Central Pacific Railroad co-owner Mark Hopkins' widow, Mary Hopkins, and friend of another co-owner Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane. He was one of the founders of Palo Alto and a trustee of Stanford University for over 50 years. His estate is now the site of the Menlo Park Civic Center and of SRI International. [1] [2]



Early life

Timothy Hopkins was born Timothy Nolan in Augusta, Maine in 1859 to Irish immigrants, Patrick and Catherine Nolan. In 1862 his father moved west to California and once established sent for his family; however, he drowned before they arrived. His mother went to work in the home of the childless Hopkins family who treated Timothy as the child they did not have. In 1869 Catharine Nolan remarried and left the Hopkins family with her elder son Thomas but leaving Timothy with the Hopkins. The Hopkins intended to send him to Harvard University but Mark Hopkins' death without a will in 1878 changed things. Timothy Hopkins took over much of the financial management of the estate and in 1879 was legally adopted by Mary Hopkins. He eventually became treasurer of the Southern Pacific Railroad successor of the Central Pacific. [1] [2]


Timothy Hopkins married Mary Kellogg Crittenden, a niece of Mary Hopkins, in 1882 and were given a 280-acre estate, Sherwood Hall, formerly the Thurlow estate, in Menlo Park (bounded by Ravenswood road, Middlefield road, San Francisquito Creek and the Caltrain railroad tracks); though they also lived in San Francisco. [3] [4] Across the creek and a little way upstream was the country estate of Leland and Jane Stanford, the future site of Stanford University.

In 1884 Leland and Jane Stanford's only child, also Leland, died and in 1885 they named a board of trustees including 26 year old Timothy Hopkins for their proposed university in memory of their son though the university was not to be opened until 1891. Hopkins was to serve as a trustee until his death in 1936 and was president of the Board of Trustees from 19081914. [5] Hopkins, with the Stanfords' support, purchased 737 acres in what is now the area of Palo Alto around University avenue and in 1887 laid out the plans for a new town, initially called University Park; in 1892 that town became Palo Alto. Lots were sold but under a covenant that forbade the sale of alcoholic beverages and a railroad station was built to serve the new university (Mayfield, a community just to the south with an already existing station was well known for its drinking establishments and the Stanfords wanted a dry town associated with the university). The covenant lasted until 1970. [6] [2]

In 1887 his adopted mother, Mary Hopkins, married her interior decorator, Edward Francis Searles, and when she died in 1891 her will explicitly disinherited Timothy Hopkins and left her fortune to her new husband. The will was challenged and though the husband eventually won, Timothy was given several million dollars. [7] [2]

In 1892 Hopkins provided the funding to establish the Hopkins Seaside Laboratory on the Monterey Peninsula for the just opened Stanford University. It was moved a short distance and renamed the Hopkins Marine Station in 1917. He and his wife were also involved in the founding of the Stanford Home for Convalescent Children which is one of the forebears of the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. [1] [8]

Death and legacy

He died on New Years Day 1936 of pneumonia in Stanford Hospital, then located in San Francisco, and was buried on January 3 at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park. [9] The honorary pall bearers at his funeral included president Ray Lyman Wilbur of Stanford University and former US president Herbert Hoover. [2] Timothy Hopkins' will gave his widow a lifetime use of his estate and at her death in 1941 most of it went to Stanford University. [2] They had one child, Lydia (18871965). [10] [2]

Geography Named for him

Taxon named in his honor

Sebastes hopkinsi , the squarespot rockfish is named for him. [14]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Palo Alto, California</span> City in California, United States

Palo Alto is a charter city in the northwestern corner of Santa Clara County, California, United States, in the San Francisco Bay Area, named after a coastal redwood tree known as El Palo Alto.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Menlo Park, California</span> City in California, United States

Menlo Park is a city at the eastern edge of San Mateo County within the San Francisco Bay Area of California in the United States. It is bordered by San Francisco Bay on the north and east; East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, and Stanford to the south; and Atherton, North Fair Oaks, and Redwood City to the west. It had 33,780 residents at the 2020 United States census. It is home to the corporate headquarters of Meta, and is where Google, Roblox Corporation and Round Table Pizza were founded. The train station holds the record as the oldest continually operating train station in California. It is one of the most educated cities in California and the United States; nearly 70% of residents over 25 have earned a bachelor's degree or higher.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leland Stanford</span> American politician and railroad tycoon (1824–1893)

Amasa Leland Stanford was an American attorney, industrialist, philanthropist, and Republican Party politician from California. He served as the 8th Governor of California from 1862 to 1863 and represented the state in the United States Senate from 1885 until his death in 1893. He and his wife Jane founded Stanford University, named for their late son.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mark Hopkins Jr.</span> American railway entrepreneur

Mark Hopkins Jr. was an American railroad executive. He was one of four principal investors that funded Theodore D. Judah's idea of building a railway over the Sierra Nevada from Sacramento, California to Promontory, Utah. They formed the Central Pacific Railroad along with Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, and Collis Huntington in 1861.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">El Palo Alto</span> Historic coast redwood in Palo Alto, California

El Palo Alto is a coast redwood located on the banks of the San Francisquito Creek in Palo Alto, California, a city in the San Francisco Bay Area. The namesake of the city and a historical landmark, El Palo Alto is 1082–1083 years old and stands 110 feet (34 m) tall.

Hopkins Marine Station is the marine laboratory of Stanford University. It is located ninety miles south of the university's main campus, in Pacific Grove, California on the Monterey Peninsula, adjacent to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is home to ten research laboratories and a fluctuating population of graduate and undergraduate students. It has also been used for archaeological exploration, including of the Chinese-American fishing village that existed on the site before burning down in 1906.

College Terrace is a neighborhood in the city of Palo Alto, California, adjacent to Stanford University.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">San Francisquito Creek</span> River in California, United States

San Francisquito Creek is a creek that flows into southwest San Francisco Bay in California, United States. Historically it was called the Arroyo de San Francisco by Juan Bautista de Anza in 1776. San Francisquito Creek courses through the towns of Portola Valley and Woodside, as well as the cities of Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and East Palo Alto. The creek and its Los Trancos Creek tributary define the boundary between San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Palo Alto station</span> Train station in Palo Alto, California, U.S.

Palo Alto station is an intermodal transit center in Palo Alto, California. It is served by Caltrain regional rail service, SamTrans and Santa Clara VTA local bus service, Dumbarton Express regional bus service, the Stanford University Marguerite Shuttle, and several local shuttle services. Palo Alto is the second-busiest Caltrain station after San Francisco, averaging 7,764 weekday boardings by a 2018 count. The Caltrain station has two side platforms serving the two tracks of the Peninsula Subdivision and a nearby bus transfer plaza.

Rancho San Francisquito was a 1,471-acre (5.95 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day Santa Clara County, California given in 1839 by Governor Juan Alvarado to Antonio Buelna. The grant was located on the southwest side of San Francisquito Creek and encompasses present-day western Menlo Park and the northern part of the Stanford University campus.

Rancho Rinconada del Arroyo de San Francisquito was a 2,230-acre (9.0 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day Santa Clara County, California given in 1841 by Governor Juan Alvarado to María Antonia Mesa. The name means "ranch at the bend in San Francisquito Creek".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Matadero Creek</span> Stream originating in California

Matadero Creek is a stream originating in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Santa Clara County, California, United States. The creek flows in a northeasterly direction for 8 miles (13 km) until it enters the Palo Alto Flood Basin, where it joins Adobe Creek in the Palo Alto Baylands at the north end of the Mayfield Slough, just before its culmination in southwest San Francisco Bay. Matadero Creek begins in the city of Los Altos Hills, then traverses the Stanford University lands and Palo Alto.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Los Trancos Creek</span> River in California, United States

Los Trancos Creek is a creek that flows northerly from Monte Bello Ridge on the northeast slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains to its confluence with San Francisquito Creek at Stanford University in California, United States. The creek forms the boundary between northwestern Santa Clara County and southeastern San Mateo County.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve</span>

The Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve, known officially as the Baylands Nature Preserve, is the largest tract of undisturbed marshland remaining in the San Francisco Bay. Fifteen miles of multi-use trails provide access to a unique mixture of tidal and fresh water habitats. The preserve encompasses 1,940 acres in both Palo Alto and East Palo Alto, and is owned by the city of Palo Alto, California, United States. It is an important habitat for migratory shorebirds and is considered one of the best birdwatching spots on the West Coast.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frenchman's Tower</span> Water tower in Palo Alto, United States

Frenchman's Tower is a two-story red brick structure located in Santa Clara County, California, that resembles a medieval fortification. Built in 1875, the structure was listed as a California Point of Historical Interest in 1969.

The Menlo Polo Club is a historic polo club in Atherton, California. Founded in 1923, it organizes the annual Silicon Valley Polo Classic tournament.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Palo Alto Stock Farm Horse Barn</span> United States historic place

Palo Alto Stock Farm Horse Barn, also known as Stanford Red Barn or Stanford Stables, is located at present-day address 100 Electioneer Road in Stanford, California. This barn was established c.1878-1880 and is an example of Victorian-era Stick-Eastlake style architecture, though the architect is unknown. Palo Alto Stock Farm Horse Barn has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1985. There are only two original buildings left from the Palo Alto Stock Farm: the red barn and the brick stable.

Holy Cross Cemetery, also known as Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery is an American Roman Catholic cemetery located in Menlo Park, California, established in the 1860s.


  1. 1 2 3 Staiger, Steve (28 April 1999). "Timothy Hopkins: The ironic journey of Palo Alto's founder". Palo Alto Online. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Staiger, Steve (Fall 2019). "Tales of Timothy Hopkins: : City Father and University Godfather". Sandstone & Tile. 43 (3): 13–23. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  3. "Thurlow Estate becomes Dibble General Hospital becomes SRI International". Menlo Park City School District.. The estate was established by William Eustace Barron and later owned by Milton Slocum Latham. It is now the site of SRI International and the Menlo Park Civic Center
  4. Gulker, Linda Hubbard (16 October 2009). "Menlo's oldest mainstay: The Gatehouse". InMenlo. Retrieved 16 August 2016.. The gatehouse is the only remaining building from the estate.
  5. "Guide to the Timothy Hopkins Papers". Online Archive of California. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  6. Simon, Mark (2002). "Our Town". Stanford Magazine (March/April).
  7. Cross, John R. (1 December 2011). "Whispering Pines: Stranger Than Fiction? The Story of Searles Science Building". Bowdoin Daily Sun. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  8. Brandt, Michelle L. "Mommy, where do children's hospitals come from? The origins of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital". Stanford Medical Magazine. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  9. "Timothy Hopkins dies of pneumonia attack". Stanford Daily. 6 January 1936.
  10. "Mrs. Timothy Hopkins dies in Menlo after Year's Illness". Stanford Daily. Vol. 100, no. 19. 16 October 1941. p. 1. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  11. Epel, David (Fall 1992). "Stanford by the sea: A brief history of Hopkins Marine Station". Sandstone & Tile. 16 (4): 3–11.
  12. "Hopkins Marine Life Refuge | Seaside". seaside.stanford.edu. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  13. "Hopkins Creekside Park". City of Palo Alto. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  14. Christopher Scharpf & Kenneth J. Lazara (22 September 2018). "Order PERCIFORMES (part 8): Suborder SCORPAENOIDEI: Families SEBASTIDAE, SETARCHIDAE and NEOSEBASTIDAE". The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. Retrieved 17 March 2022.