Encina Hall was the first men’s dormitory on campus. The lavish four-story sandstone structure was modeled on a resort hotel that the Stanfords had visited at Lake Silvaplana, Switzerland. Leland Stanford dedicated four-fifths of the cost of the Inner Quad to the construction of the 280,000 square foot Encina Hall, a dormitory which could accommodate up to 400 men and was counted among the finest in the country.
Roble Hall was the women’s dormitory that complemented Encina Hall, the chief difference being that it was constructed more quickly and cheaply out of reinforced concrete, a relatively new material at the time, which was also used to construct the original Stanford Museum. Reinforced concrete was selected because the decision to admit women for Stanford’s first year had been made too close to the University’s opening to allow for masonry construction.
One of the Stanford Daily’s headlines on the day of the quake announced “DRAMATIC SCENES IN ENCINA HALL.” Because it housed a considerable portion of the student body and was the site of the only student death, Encina Hall was central to the Stanford student’s earthquake experience in 1906. After the quake, many students slept outside the buildings, fearing aftershocks.
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