Two Views of the Front of the RMC

This surprised me. It doesn’t look all that old (’80s? ’70s?):

RMC sprinklers nd

But look how different it is today:



Bonus: What the heck, just for fun let’s make it three views of the front of the RMC. This one looks to have been taken not long after it opened.

RMC possibly late 50s


Extra Bonus: Speaking of opening day, here’s the move in. I don’t recognize either guy or the piece of furniture.

RMC move in nd


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Singing Cowboy, 1955

Rice Day 1955 1

You really never know what will turn up next. These are some of the sweetest pictures I’ve come across in the Woodson. They were taken at Rice Day in April, 1955. Rice Day was an alumni sponsored all-university event, a sort of picnic with carnival booths, rides, contests and games for alumni and their kids as well as current students. From what I can tell it began in 1950 and was always held in the football stadium. If you look closely you can see that these images were taken either out on the field or under the stands. By all accounts this was an extremely well attended function— alumni groups in other cities chartered buses to bring them in for the event.

I assume this is Shirley but I don’t know how she got up there:

Rice Day 1955 3

The entertainment that year was Don Mahoney, the singing cowboy. He would have been well known to the crowd from his show on KPRC, “Don Mahoney and His Kiddie Troupers”:

Rice Day 1955 2

It looks like a blast. I bet every one of those kids fell asleep in the car on the way home.


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First Day, 1929

You have to register first. Freshmen filled out enrollment cards, which astonishingly still exist and which I look at regularly. They don’t contain a whole lot of information but often there will be a clue that points me in a fruitful direction.

If you look closely you’ll see that there’s  quite a bit going on in this picture. I don’t really understand the system they’re using, but I love it that you’re supposed to be there but most definitely not in line. Instead, everyone gets to mill around aimlessly. Seems like a much better way to meet people and in fact most everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.

Glass registration 1929


Predictably, there were also kids hanging out in the parking lot and I wonder whether the top photograph might have been taken by someone standing on top of a vehicle:

Girls on cars 1930


Note: I’ll be in Portland for the rest of the week, which means that I’ll have to rummage through my laptop for pictures to post. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this as much as I do–there’s some odd stuff in there.


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Friday Afternoon Baby: 9 pounds, 1 ounce

I got a brand new granddaughter this afternoon. It feels something like this, about nine parts relief and one part trepidation:

Turnbull 1919 commencement

I expect that ratio to flip in short order.



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Army ROTC, April 1954

Is this technology obsolete? I suspect so, but I don’t really know what it is. Some kind of teletype? Actually, there seem to be several different things going on here and I don’t understand any of them. Also, I can only guess where they were, although I have to assume it was in the Army ROTC building. So basically what I’m saying is that I know nothing about this.

I do love the Rice Institute patches on their jackets, though.

Army ROTC April 1954




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A Visit to Campus, 1938

Some interesting photographs turned up in the papers of Ray Watkin Hoagland Strange ’36, recently. In them, we see Ray on a visit to campus two years after her graduation in the company of some of her co-workers. I was frankly astonished to learn that she worked for several years for a major oil company, mostly because I can’t quite imagine her having a boss. In any event, there’s Ray sitting by the fountain at Cohen House with a great view of the fancy terrace furniture:

Ray Watkin and friend 1938 Cohen House fountain

My instant reaction to this next image is that it was taken by someone standing in the middle doorway of the Physics building. (And while we’re looking around, look at the size of that tree! How did that happen?)

Ray Watkin and friends 1938 gravel path

When I went and stood in that middle doorway, though, I saw something surprising. The changes in the shrubbery are about what I expected but there’s no sidewalk coming out from the doorway towards the middle of the quad.



A quick perusal of some random aerial shots cleared this up, mostly. Where there are now two sidewalks coming off the front of Physics, there were for many years three. Here’s one example, a photo taken near the beginning of the second wave of building after World War II—construction of the Geology Building is well underway. Zoom in and you can clearly see the three lines from Physics:

Aerial from treasurer's office nd


I don’t know when that middle walk went away but I don’t have time to figure it out right now. I have a new granddaughter about to be born in Oregon and I’ve got to get up there!


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Fountain Trouble

Doesn’t look good, circa 1998:

Fountain trouble 1998 Thresher right way

I have a better picture of this but it lacks the fabulous background view.

Doesn’t look good, circa 2012:

Baker inst. fountain repair 2

This was part of the Centennial cleanup, which put the annual Commencement cleanup to shame.

The guts of the thing are kind of pretty, though:

Baker inst. fountain repair


Bonus: I had to get inside the area marked in red in order to make out where that area is. This might be more of that “irony” I keep hearing about.


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