Pictures from the “Unidentified” Pile

I spent yet another day today working through the pile of unidentified pictures from Public Affairs. I’m getting close to the bottom of the pile, but I’m nearly cross-eyed from trying to sort all these out–most of them are slides and I wind up twisting and squinting up into the light to get a better look at them. Because I’m getting close to the end, what’s left of the pile is now almost completely random. There are still hundreds of images of buildings, people doing things or just walking around, and a wide variety of scenic locations on campus. They’re just all mixed together. Here are a few that interested me, in no particular order, which is exactly the way I found them.

Here’s something you can’t see anymore, as there is now a residential college on top of it. I must have seen at least four hundred pictures of Lovett Hall in this collection and hundreds more of the academic quad, but I believe this is the only image of this spot that exists in the archives. There are a lot of places that haven’t been photographed at all.

One thing that’s kind of tricky is labeling things so that someone else will know what the label means fifty years from now. What do I call this?

This is actually a little embarrassing. Sometimes I’ll run across a shot that was taken from an angle that’s unfamiliar to me and I just can’t figure out what I’m looking at. I was completely stumped by this one. I actually sought help! I won’t tell you what we were guessing, only that our guesses were preposterous. It wasn’t until I uploaded it just now that I realized it’s Del Butcher Hall seen from the intramural field. Sheesh.

I put this one in because it has a helicopter in it. It looks like it might be a Veteran’s Day observation.

With luck, I’ll have something more coherent to say tomorrow. No promises, though.

And thanks to Intern Kaleb for scanning these slides!

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12 Responses to Pictures from the “Unidentified” Pile

  1. gus schill says:

    Del Butcher was a wonderful man. He worked with Mr. Rayzor in establishing American Commercial Barge Lines.

  2. Doctor says:

    I think “Anderson skylight” may make sense for that tower thingy.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      It’s bigger than that, although you can’t tell from this photograph. I suspect it might be some sort of lab venting device, although this is a wild guess.

      • CW McCullagh says:

        Melissa, you are correct. The picture is of the one of the two vents on top of George R. Brown Hall. From Fox’s “The Campus Guide, Rice University,” “In order not to appear too fixated on the past, Cambridge Seven used the vent stacks needed to service the labs in Brown Hall to assert the modernity of the building and the scientific research pursued inside. The twin stack houses are thirty feet high and clad in stainless steel. They too participate in the postmodern exercise of seeking out precedents in their obvious kinship to the vent towers of the Chemistry and Physics Buildings and the light cones of Anderson Hall.”

      • CW McCullagh says:

        Which is a long way of saying I would label it “George R. Brown Hall Vent Stack”

        • Melissa Kean says:


          And if you could see the pile of photos that still need to be identified, you’d really understand how grateful I am for your help!

  3. James Medford says:

    The sidewalk in the first photo was “Virgin’s Walk” … I’m not sure exactly why it was called that, but it probably had something to do with Jones and Brown Colleges’ origins as all-female colleges.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      The sidewalk’s still there. I’m dubious about any virgins, though.

    • Brian Strasters says:


      “The straight path that leads from the Inner Loop to the North Residential Colleges, so called because it was the path that led to the all-female dorms before the college system went coed. Myth has it that if you can knock out all of the lights along this path, you will get lucky that night (if you don’t break all of your toes trying).”

      • Chip F says:

        I can confirm both stories, from someone who matriculated in 1987. It was called Virgin’s Walk, due to it going to the all-women’s colleges; and the urban legend of the lights, in my recollection, involved only knocking out one if you were supposed to get lucky. The tennis courts helped give it away to my late 80s experiences. It was also called Virgin’s Walk at least back to the 60s, according to some I know from that era.

  4. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT says:

    In the early years of the 1950’s, Rice Institute males had NO knowledge of the terminology “Virgin” or “Non-Virgin”.
    With the release of the Kinsey Report concerning Male Sexuality and the average frequency with which the “average college male” got lucky, all Rice Males became obsessed witht the question of “Who’s getting mine?”
    By the way, none of us ever heard of the “Virgin’s Walk”.

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