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Town and gown walking tours - Palo Alto and Stanford.

Wrought-iron railings and grilles and tile roofs surround visitors in Ramona Street shopping courtyard. At Cardinal Hotel, details include car (above) carved in terra cotta in 1923. To reach districts (or campus) from US 101, take University Avenue west.

They grew up side by side, Stanford University and the city of Palo Alto, and they share a lot of history. But the university's main campus, at the end of a palm-lined, mile-long drive bordered by groves of eucalyptus, today seems rather remote from a downtown bustling with talk of computer chips and cappucino. Now, new free guided walking tours help explain the connections between the two.

In town, the nonprofit Palo Alto Stanford Heritage and the city's chamber of commerce offer tours of two areas-both in the National Register of Historic Districts. On campus, guided walks highlight the university's rich heritage of architecture, artwork, and history.

Walking into the past in Palo Alto

In 1891, Leland Stanford opened a university on his horse farm, then guided development of University Park-which grew into Palo Alto-in nearby fields. Downtown tour. This walk covers 14 blocks. Tours meet at 11 every Wednesday in front of Civic Center Plaza, 250 Hamilton Avenue; call (415) 324-3121.

The tour first visits the 500 block of Ramona Street, passing William Weeks' Cardinal Hotel (at Hamilton Avenue) with its terra cotta detailing, and Birge Clark's tidy row of small shops with grillework balconies and red-tiled roofs (542 to 526).

At 522 to 518 and 537 to 535 Ramona, you loop through two Spanish colonial revival courtyards surrounded by shops. Look for architect Pedro de Lemos' touches: hand-painted tiles, pebbled pavement, and plant stands salvaged from university columns broken in the 1906 quake. At 380 Hamilton, tour the 1932 U.S. Post Office. This stucco structure, also by Birge Clark, is said to be the first postal building not using the formal federal style. Note its exposed timbers, repeating arches, and wrought-iron lanterns.

Professorville tour. Tours meet at 10:30 Saturdays at the corner of Bryant Street and Addison Avenue.

Strolling five of this district's 15 blocks, you'll see many rambling homes built for Stanford faculty at the turn of the century including standouts such as Bernard Maybeck's gambrel-roofed Sunbonnet House (1061 Bryant).

Rodins, Hoover-abilia, and views

On the 8,180-acre campus, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, you can see the agonies of the damned in Rodin's Gates of Hell (1 of 155 Rodins at Stanford), ride to the top of a 14-story tower, and read 20th-century historic documents. Join the campus tour for a good overview, then visit individual sites. For a map, write to Guide and Visitor Service, Building 170, Stanford 94305, or call 723-2560.

Campus tour. Hour-long walks start at the stone information booth at the south end of the Oval (end of Palm Drive). Guides lead you to Rodin bronzes, through sandstone arches, past mosaic-bedecked Memorial Church, and to Aristides Demetrios' claw-shaped memorial fountain (1964). Tours depart at 11 and 3:15 daily except holidays and during quarter breaks; call 723-2560. Sculpture tours are offered at 2 the first Sunday of each month; 723-3469.

Rodin Sculpture Garden. Next to the Stanford Museum of Art (closed due to 1989 quake damage), 20 bronze sculptures twist in agony, despair, and joy in this 1-acre garden. Tours meet at 2 Wednesdays and weekends; 723-3469. Hoover Observation Tower and Archives. President Hoover, class of 95, founded an institution here to track 20th-century social, political, and economic change. Guides take you up the 250-foot tower for views of the campus and Bay Area. Hours are 10 to 11:45 and 1 to 4:30 daily; $1 adults, 50 cents seniors and ages 12 and under; 723-2053. The pavilion next door displays treaties, diaries, and historic records from 11 to 4 weekdays; free.
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Title Annotation:California
Date:Mar 1, 1990
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