Then & Now

Lake Lagunita

Stanford University Archives
ca. 1903-1906
Xinyi Jiang

What is now known as Lagunita (“little lake”) was originally a 115-million-gallon reservoir built by Leland Stanford in the 1870s to supply water to grow crops on the Palo Alto Stock Farm. Lake Lag has been a focal point of student life from the Pioneer Class to the present day. In its heyday, the lake hosted campus traditions such as the Water Carnival (later revived as Hydro/Aqua Follies) and the Big Game bonfire. Presently, it is dry most of the time, and never full, but its shores continue to provide a venue for recreation, relaxation and reflection. Left: Rowboats on Lake Lagunita in the early 20th century. Right: The dry lake area in 2015.