View from the top of Rice Stadium, 1952

While I was looking at some old slides the other day, I found one that made me really happy. Even several days later I’m nearly beside myself with glee. One day in 1952 someone climbed to the top of the east stands in the football stadium and took a picture looking towards campus. It’s an odd photograph–I’m not really sure what the person who took it was trying to capture. But for me, it’s a dream come true because it shows all the stuff that nobody ever takes pictures of. You have to click on it and zoom in, and even then it’s not the clearest picture I’ve ever seen, but you can find all sorts of wonders.

There’s a smoldering pile of trash, what seems to be a row of hay bales, and–lo and behold–several sheds of the sort that might house mules and mowing equipment. I’m not finished studying this one, but I couldn’t wait to share it.

Bonus picture: Here’s another thing no one would ever take a picture of. It’s a manhole cover, underneath the trees in the middle quad by the RMC. I thought it looked pretty and it’s message is a little mysterious: “Clean water, clear choices.”

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6 Responses to View from the top of Rice Stadium, 1952

  1. jput says:

    Apparently people DO take pictures of manhole covers: another “Clean Water, Clear Choice” cover and one with the Rice shield and wordmark. (Also, I had a friend, another Rice alum, who took pictures of manhole covers on our trip through Europe.)

    • almadenmike says:

      “Clean water, Clear Choices” was a “slogan idea” of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Nonpoint Source Branch,” but this website gives no dates (

      It was also the beginning of the title of a 1989 report written by Robert Wetherbee: “Clean water, clear choices: an action agenda for American agriculture” that was published in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Sept/Oct 1989,. v. 44 (5). Wetherbee was a grain farmer from Western Minnesota and Fairmount, North Dakota, who became a leader in soil conservation. He was president of the National Association of Conservation Districts from 1989-92.

      In 1991, the NACD produced a 13-minute video titled, “Clean Water, Clear Choices: The Challenge of Nonpoint Source Pollution.”

      U.S. Rep. Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.) commended Wetherbeefor his service on the floor of the House of Representatives on April 28, 1992.

  2. No Gulf sign on the Gulf (JPMorgan Chase) Building? When we lived in Houston (1961-1970) this was the Landmark when you came into Houston. With the big Gulf Oil sign on top, to my mind as a child it looked all in the world like a giant gas pump. It was built by Jesse H. Jones in 1929, so has some relationship (although indirect) to Rice. This building was surpassed by the Humble Oil building (now Exxon Building) in around 1963, but dominated the Houston skyline (along with the Esperson building) until the 70’s when many new taller buildings were built.

    When I was at Rice (1974-1979) it was my custom to go to Sid Rich at the beginning of the school year to the 7th(?) floor balcony and see how much the down town Houston sky line had changed.

  3. James Medford says:

    In the photo taken from the stadium, you can see a single-story whitish building where Ryon Lab is currently located (just this side of Mech Lab in the picture). Any idea what that building was? I’ve seen it in many old photos of the campus but have never been able to determine what it was used for.

  4. James Medford says:

    I just answered my own question. Per Stephen Fox’s campus guide, Ryon “replaced a temporary building constructed in 1915 as the chemistry annex.” I guess it ceased being the chemistry annex when Chem Lab was built in the 20’s.

  5. Richard Miller (Hanszen '75 & '76) says:

    Interesting picture.

    You can see what you later identified as the Army ROTC building and just beyond it I think you can see Emanu El. Accoridng to their website it was completed on 9/9/49

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