History Department


History 303: Research and Writing Seminar in History


Andrew Morris


From the initial 15 acres granted for what originally was supposed to be a normal school in San Luis Obispo to the now roughly 10,000 acres comprising vast agricultural and natural resources, the history of the land at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is as unique as the students who inhabit it. When high school students first begin to research which university to attend, they may come across a statistic that mentions the acreage of the university and that Cal Poly is “the second largest land-holding university in California, second only to UC Berkeley.” A logical progression of thought might lead one to question the differences between these two imposing institutions of California higher education and how that translates into their use of land and their respective histories.

1 Myron Angel, History of the California Polytechnic School at San Luis Obispo, California (San Luis Obispo: Tribune Print, 1907), 12,

2 “Our Campus,” About CP, December 8, 2015, accessed February 2, 2016,

3 “Cal Poly Quick Facts,” Cal Poly News, July 21, 2015, accessed January 24, 2016,