Why does Stanford have streets named Electioneer Road and Samuel Morris Way?

Why is there a street named Electioneer at Stanford? Because there was once a horse that had that name at the Palo Alto Stock Farm. (Photo: Ian Tarpin)

Ever wondered why Stanford streets bear names like Electioneer, Lasuen, Charles Marx, Olmsted or Santa Teresa? If so, you have a kindred spirit in RICHARD COTTLE, professor emeritus of management science and engineering.

In the early 1990s, Cottle started exploring archival records, local histories and maps to document the stories behind more than 130 street names on the Stanford campus. The result was Stanford Street Names: A Pocket Guide, published in 2005 and available at the Stanford Bookstore. Much has changed on campus, so an enlarged version of Cottle’s guide has just been published by the Stanford Historical Society.

The easy-to-use field guide illuminates more than 120 years of Stanford’s evolution from a sprawling rural estate and stock farm into a university and residential community. The book includes two historic maps, more than 160 entries and 65 archival photographs.

Aside from a handful of uninspired names—North Service Road, for example—most Stanford street names reflect important aspects of the university’s history.

Peter Coutts Road, for example, evokes an early landowner whose Ayrshire Farm was purchased by Leland Stanford. Electioneer Road memorializes a premier trotting horse on Stanford’s Palo Alto Stock Farm. Samuel Morris Way was named for the dean of the School of Engineering in 1936. Sand Hill Road was a popular wagon route into the foothills to the town of Searsville. Cottle writes that its name “reflects the old road’s condition, which went from knee-deep dust in summer to nearly impassible adobe mud during winter rains.”

For more, visit the Stanford Historical Society web pages.