Teas Nursery and the Rice Institute

I’ve been running around like a maniac this week, so for now I’m just going to post a little taste of good things to come. When the Teas Nursery sold their property on Bellaire a while back, we were fortunate enough to acquire their large trove of historical materials. (We’re extremely grateful to the Teas family for this.) Among the many treasures are several reminders of the long relationship between the Teas Nursery and the Rice Institute.

This is Elizabeth, hard at work and still smiling.

We have several fantastic students working in the Woodson this summer. One of them–the wonderful Elizabeth–is currently working through several boxes of old slides and negatives from the Teas collection. This is hard labor, my friends, that requires a lot of squinting and the ability to speculate both freely and rationally. She’s good at it. Yesterday she brought me several great slides related to the Rice campus that I’ll post about soon, so I was pretty happy. But then she really outdid herself and reappeared with a very old negative. This is frankly impressive. It’s hard to look at negatives for very long, even harder to make sense of them. And this one was indeed quite interesting to me. It’s something I haven’t seen before, and it’s also funny. It made me laugh because the person who took the picture, being a nurseryman, was more interested in the shrub in front of what I wanted to see.

Click on it to enlarge, then click again to zoom in. It's hard to believe this image was just resurrected yesterday. Kind of makes you wonder what you have in your closet.

That’s a sign encouraging people to “Boost for Rice” by attending their home football games. I’m not sure where it was, although it looks to be the middle of nowhere. I’m also not sure what year it was taken, but I think there’s enough visible information to figure it out. Nice shrub, though.

Bonus picture: Tools of the trade.


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10 Responses to Teas Nursery and the Rice Institute

  1. C Kelly says:

    I think this billboard comes from the 1924 football season. They play Southwestern on October 4th. Baylor appears to be the last game of the season. Check out the season on the Rice Athletic Web site:


    • C Kelly says:

      I’m sure this is the ’24 season now. These are the home games. The first is against ‘S.H.N.C.’ or Sam Houston Normal College. I think the game on the 18th must be “LA State’ although it’s not as clear.

  2. Farrell Gerbode ('73) says:

    What can be seen looks a great deal like the 1924 schedule except that the Oct 11 game against Southwestern appears to be an “away” game. See

    • C Kelly says:

      There is definitely a discrepancy between the two ‘records’ for that season. I couldn’t find another year that was a closer fit. Maybe they moved the game site at the last moment? We’d probably need an old yearbook to resolve this.

      • Melissa Kean says:

        Discrepancies aren’t unusual for things like this, and sometimes they’re not resolvable. Today football schedules are set years in advance, but back then that wasn’t so. Things would be scheduled, then moved. Cancellations were common, because there wasn’t so much at stake. Bad weather often meant that teams just wouldn’t even try to travel on the still primitive roads. Sometimes the venues changed at the last minute–even on the day of the game. Even newspaper accounts can be confusing, and sometimes different newspapers seem to conflict with each other. The yearbook is, to be generous, spotty.

        I still think 1924 is the most likely season.

  3. Farrell Gerbode ('73) says:

    By the early 70’s the sign was posted near what is now the south entrance to the colleges parking lot on Main St.

  4. Patsy T. Teas says:

    Thank you for your dedicated work in preserving the history. It is very time consuming and tedious to deal with such old artifacts and the family certainly appreciates what you are doing.

    Patsy T. Teas

    • Melissa Kean says:

      It truly is our pleasure to work with these things. It’s a labor of love for all of us in the Woodson. We’re so grateful for your family’s gift. Thank you!

  5. Caleb Oliver Teas says:

    Hi there, my father Daniel Teas, was the general manager over Teas Nursery. Much of the local area you and I see in the photo was very underdeveloped and what we see as rural Is now bustling school district. It wouldn’t surprise me if that location was once rice campus and I’d suspect the photo was taken in 30’s but I can ask my father for additional information

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