There’s been a lot of talk around here in the last few weeks about commencement, academic processions and the use of landscaping to create the quad where it all takes place. As I’ve been working all this out I’ve frequently found myself staring quite hard at photos I’ve seen many times before, searching for clues to questions I only recently became aware of. One of these pictures turned out to be particularly arresting, although it was taken so early that it sheds no light at all on on any commencement issues. It says on the back that it was taken in 1912 and I’m totally convinced that that’s right. It shows a campus that’s still absolutely raw. I looked at it for a long time, puzzling over the two little structures at the end of the newly planted hedges. It was only after I scanned it and blew it up that I realized how much is going on here. Click on it to zoom in, then click again to expand it.
There’s an incredible amount of action in this image–and nobody here stopped to pose for the picture so much of it is blurry. I hardly know where to begin so I’ll just point out a couple of things and let you enjoy it yourself. First, on the left side you can see a bit of smoke, maybe from burning trash, and there are a couple of horses (not mules!) over there too. More interesting to me is the sawhorse perched on top of the manhole cover right where the gravel walk meets the road across the quad.
The right side is even busier–several wagons are moving and there’s a team further out that’s kind of fuzzy but looks to be plowing right where Anderson Hall is now. Way off towards the spot where the RMC is today you can see quite clearly an entire crew working on the road. My vote for the best thing in the picture, though, goes to the small, lone pine tree that you can see if you look to the right of that crew.
So what do you think those two little structures are for?