She who shaped FloMo

The unique history and character of Stanford's Florence Moore Hall was largely shaped by the dormitory's namesake, Florence Moore. (Wending Lu/THE STANFORD DAILY)

 

Known to many as the home of Structured Liberal Education (SLE) and Indian Food Sundays, Florence Moore Hall, or FloMo, has a little known history of eccentricities that date back to the 1900s.

 

“Florence Moore really left behind a legacy,” said Samra Adeni ’14, a FloMo resident. “The story is that she demanded there be ice cream every day, which is why we now have eight different flavors to choose from all the time.”

 

“Florence Moore must have been a really interesting lady,” Adeni added as an afterthought.

 

In 1955, Moore, the widow of the founder of a shipbuilding company, made a one million dollar donation to the University for the construction of a new residence hall. Along with her money came a few conditions.

 

One of the requirements was about the residents themselves: although FloMo now primarily houses SLE students and upperclassmen, Moore intended it to be an all-female dorm. At the time, there was a severe shortage of housing for female students.

 

Not only was FloMo constructed for students, but students designed it as well.

 

“There was a huge thought process on campus about student housing and how students should live,” said Julie Cain, project coordinator for Stanford Heritage Services. “I assume that FloMo is a result of that thought process.”

 

According to the University Archives from March 1956, “participation by women students in the planning of Florence Moore Hall typifies the entire approach to the designing of the structure [… and] much of the final Florence Moore Hall will have been drawn from the minds of the students who will actually live there.”

 

The collaboration of the female students and architect Milton Pflueger gave rise to a residence hall that had amenities including sun decks, separate but connected dorm dining rooms and pink bathtubs.

 

Though now co-ed, FloMo still has features that are the direct result of Florence Moore and the women who helped design the dorm.

 

“Florence Moore apparently made sure that every room had a full closet that would be big enough to fit an evening gown,” Adeni said. “All these cool quirks make FloMo an amazing place to live.”

 

– Issra Omer