Some of you may not be as crazy as I am about the old Physics Building, but please humor me here. As my heroes in FE&P work to get the renovations right, I’m still looking around for photos that can help shed some light on things. Today I came across three pictures of the back of the building–as far as I can tell these are the only ones we have with any age to them. They are all taken from slightly different angles, which makes it kind of tricky. The only thing I really have to go on is the state of the landscaping. The first one (above) is dated 1916, which would have been just after it was completed. That seems right to me given how barren it looks. The only plants you can really see are those two sad little shrubs on either side of the back entrance.
The second one is undated, but it’s clearly more recent than the first based on the larger shrubbery. I think the two little shrubs in the first picture are the big round bushes here and there have been two more planted on either side of the walk to the doorway:
The last one has been dated firmly and with exemplary precision by someone in the Architecture Department as having been taken on April 26, 1930. Those big shrubs framing the door are the two small ones in the photo just above.
So the second picture was taken sometime between 1916 and 1930. This is not a particularly satisfying answer. There is, though, one more clue. If you enlarge and zoom in on that second photo, you can see the tiny live oak saplings that must have been recently planted when the picture was taken. If I can figure out when that happened, I’ll have it narrowed down to a more enjoyable range.
And here are those saplings today:
Bonus photos: I was recently part of a debate about whether it was possible for a person in the Physics Lecture Hall to look down into the department office below. I contended that it was not, but after checking it turns out that I was partially wrong. (!) It’s sort of possible, but it’s not easy. Except for the one at the very top, the windows are significantly above eye level for human beings.You can’t climb up on a chair, because the chairs are attached to each other. Further, the blinds can’t be raised, but they can be opened. This is what you can see with the naked eye if you get up on your tiptoes and separate the blinds. This, I would contend, does not constitute “seeing in.”
However, if you have a zoom lens, you can clearly see everything on the window shelf inside, so I have to concede something here. Still, if you were thinking of looking in there, you can just forget about it because that office is getting new blinds.