Sunday, March 18, 2012

Arroyo House (Stanford University), 658 Escondido Road, Stanford, CA

An all-freshmen dormitory in Wilbur Hall, Arroyo is part of the Wilbur Hall complex of eight dormitories. Architecturally, Wilbur was originally designed as barracks-style housing, reflecting the very functional style that flourished after World War II, when Stanford was coming of age and needed to build things quickly. But in recent decades Wilbur has been remodeled and turned into quite an attractive space, centered around a large dining facility that has some of the best university food you will find anywhere. Arroyo has a sizable lounge with its own television set and audio/video equipment, a piano, ping-pong and pool tables, and a small kitchen for preparing snacks. We also have a computer cluster, which contains some computers and a laser printer for your use. And we are unique among Wilbur houses in also having a group meeting space we call the “CoLab”, with a large LCD screen and movable tables designed for joint projects. The dorm is three stories tall, and each floor will be coed (male double rooms on the same floor with female double rooms), with male and female bathrooms on each floor. The Wilbur complex is in the heart of the vibrant east side of the Stanford campus, and is surrounded by large trees and large lawns.(2)

Wilbur Hall houses 707 students in eight houses surrounding a common dining complex. It is named for Stanford's third president, Ray Lyman Wilbur. It was built in the late 1940s and represents an architectural departure from Stanford's usual theme of sandstone-colored, arcaded buildings with red tile roofs. Originally built for men students, it is now coed. Seven of the houses (Arroyo, Cedro, Junipero, Otero, Rinconada, Soto and Trancos) are all-freshman houses; Okada (originally Madera) is a four-class house with an Asian American cross-cultural theme.[9]

Jerry performed here on
5/5/61 Robert Hunter
Jerry says, "We got our first professional gig. We got five bucks apiece." Their innocuous little folk act was billed as Bob and Jerry, but they performed only two real gigs -- one at Arroyo House. Bob says about the five dollar payday, "We decided to frame it as the first musical earnings for either of us, but spent it on cigarettes instead."(1)(2)

1.)^Jackson, Blair, Garcia: An American Life, pg. 36.

1 comment:

  1. I have always suspected that the Arroyo Lounge was in East Palo Alto, not Palo Alto proper. East Palo Alto was across San Francisquito Creek from Palo Alto, and it was in a different county (San Mateo rather than Santa Clara). In the 60s, it wasn't even a town, just unincorporated county land that was generally referred to as "East Palo Alto." It was where African Americans and poor people lived, and many people still kept farm animals there as late as the 1950s. Garcia and Hunter both lived in East Palo Alto in 1961.

    San Francisquito Creek had originally been called "Arroyo De San Francisco" by Juan Bautista De Anza, who 'discovered' it in 1776 ( Thus something near the Creek could be called The Arroyo Lounge with some valid sense of place. There was no commercial activity on the Palo Alto side of the Creek, but plenty on the Eastern side. I have to assume that the Arroyo Lounge was in the commercial district of East Palo Alto.

    University Avenue ran East from downtown Palo Alto out towards Highway 101, so it had to cross the creek and travel briefly through East Palo Alto, on the way to the freeway. Due to the original covenant of Palo Alto, liquor could not be sold within 1.5 miles of the Stanford campus, and not coincidentally East Palo Alto was the nearest place where liquor could be legally sold. The little maze of streets off University was called Whisky Gulch by the locals, and that is where the local African American community lived. Its also where the Juke Joints that young Ron McKernan frequented were located. I have always assumed that the Arroyo Lounge was around there, but that has just been speculation on my part.