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Timothy Hopkins

Founder of Palo Alto

He was born Timothy Nolan in Maine in 1859. When his father died, he was raised by two aunts, and ultimately came to live with Mark Hopkins and his wife in San Francisco. After Hopkins died, his wife adopted Timothy Nolan.


Timothy became a protégé of Senator Leland Stanford, who have been business partners with Mark Hopkins. Hopkins became Treasurer of the Central Pacific Railroad and Director of the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Wells Fargo Bank. He also was on the first Board of Directors of Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma, California, which received over thirty-five thousand remains from Laurel Hill Cemetery in San Francisco after the Board of Supervisors voted in 1900 to remove most of the existing cemeteries from that city.


Stanford urged that Hopkins take an option on 697 acres of land with the purpose of developing it for a town to serve Stanford University. He was on the verge of dropping the option when Senator Stanford personally endorsed a $60,000 note for him and the purchase went through in 1887. He founded the town originally known as University Park. In 1892, the town was renamed Palo Alto.


Timothy Hopkins served as a Stanford University trustee for fifty-one years, donated his private collection of books to the University Library, established the Hopkins Marine station in Pacific Grove (1872), later giving it to Stanford University. He and his wife organized and helped fund the Stanford Home for Convalescent Children

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