Rice football at West End Park

I didn’t mean to have another football post so soon, but these pictures are like money burning a hole in my pocket. I had the old scrapbooks out so I could retrieve the picture of the 1912 football team and I started looking closely at what else was in the vicinity. I found these. They all seem to be from the same game, but I can’t be sure which one it was. It is VERY early, possibly 1912, and possibly with one of the local high schools. There isn’t any information on the jerseys to help figure it out. (Note that many of the players aren’t wearing helmets.) It also took me a while to understand where they were playing. I knew right away, of course, that they weren’t at Rice so I thought maybe it was a road game. It turns out that in 1912 Rice didn’t yet have a real football field, although they had a rough one for practice. The newly-named Owls played their first season in Houston’s West End Park, which was primarily used for baseball. (I need to do a little work to figure out when they played their first game on campus.) A nice article about the Park, with a nifty aerial shot that lets you see exactly where it was (it looks like where Allen Center is today), is here.


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2 Responses to Rice football at West End Park

  1. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT says:

    It seems that most of the dark jersey team wore helmets.
    So was the wearing of helmets a ‘macho’ thing or was it a financial thing. It was obviously not a rule that day.

    Also 1912, was not long after Teddy Roosevelt’s terms as president, and remember he made football clean up its roughness with a threat of some kind — what I’ve forgotten (Fancy That).

  2. I have referenced this and the previous articles in the Wikipedia article about West End Park. I also added a reference to a 1942 “Houston, a history and guide” which seems to suggest that the entire (albeit short) 1912 season was played at that park. That guide references the “Houston Chronicle and Herald” for its descriptions of a couple of the first Rice football games, including one in 1913 in “an oat field” in which Rice won 7-0, after a receiver caught a pass while he “hid in the high oats”.

    (I don’t see an author or publisher of this site specifically named, so I left those fields blank in my references in the Wikipedia article.)

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