Remember the other day when I thought I might have wrongly dated this picture?
I had it pegged at about 1917, but because I didn’t see East or West Halls when I looked at again I thought I might have made a mistake. Loyal reader Charles Szalkowski thinks I was right the first time:“The airplane is a Curtiss JN-3 or more likely, a JN-4, also called the “Jenny.” It was a pilot training aircraft with two cockpits, one for the student and one for the instructor.
It was very scarce before the US entered the Great War, although a few of the earlier model flew in support of Pershing’s chase of Pancho Villa in late 1916. The plane became common after the US entered the War and more common still in Texas after the training operation at Ellington Field opened. Ellington Field probably did not open til probably after the US entered the War, so 1917.
Therefore, your earlier date estimate of 1917 (or even 1918) is probably correct, and in fact, I believe that you can see East Hall between the Commons and South Hall, with the slightly higher roof.”
Now that I’ve become aware of the history of flight at Rice, I’m finding more and more small bits of evidence that it was considered to be quite a big deal. Here, for example, is an advertisement that ran in the Chronicle on May 27, 1917, touting the benefits of buying a lot in the newly opened neighborhood of West University Place: