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Hoover Tower, Palo Alto

#4 of 29 in Things to do in Palo Alto
Observation Deck · History Museum
Hoover Tower is a 285 feet (87 m) structure on the campus of Stanford University in Stanford, California. The tower houses the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, an archive collection founded by Herbert Hoover before he became President of the United States. Hoover had amassed a large collection of materials related to early 20th century history; he donated them to Stanford, his alma mater, to found a "library of war, revolution and peace". Hoover Tower also houses the Hoover Institution research center and think tank.

Hoover Tower, inspired by the tower at the New Cathedral of Salamanca, was finished in 1941, the year of Stanford's 50th anniversary. It was designed by architect Arthur Brown, Jr.
The first nine floors of the tower are library stacks and the next three floors are used for offices. Exiled Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn lived on the 11th floor for some time upon invitation by Stanford University before he moved in 1976.

Hoover Tower receives approximately 200 visitors per day, and a nominal fee is charged for non-students or non-faculty. The observation deck platform is 250 feet (76 m) above the ground, and provides an expansive view of the Stanford University campus and surrounding area. On clear days it is possible to see all the way to the distant skyline of San Francisco. The tower's observation deck is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., but closed during academic breaks and finals.

In December 1970, Hoover Tower was struck by lightning, causing a 300-pound ornamental concrete ball to fall from the top of the tower onto a parking lot. In August 2020 the concrete ball at the tower's tip was struck down by an electric storm again, scattering into multiple pieces.
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278 reviews
  • We enjoyed our self guided tour of Stanford. The Campus is Beautiful and well manicured. We definitely reached our 10,000 steps walking around campus.  more »
  • We went to Stanford University and saw the Hoover Tower. There is historical information one can read about there. There are also nice views of the campus. It is named after President Herbert...  more »
  • We took a walking tour of Stanford and loved it. There is so much to see and what a beautiful and vibrant campus. I found out you can custom make your degree and that students are highly encouraged to have professors as mentors. No wonder it's one of the great learning institutions ever.
  • Amazing 361 degree view! (It is Standford University, everything is possible) the elevators are small though. You might need to stand in the line for a while. They don't allow you to take your backpack with you and they also don't have a proper storage place for prohibited items, so just leave them somewhere safe (home)

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