The Opening Procession

I just spent a ridiculous amount of time staring at this picture of the academic procession at the formal opening of the Institute in October, 1912.

I’ve seen it before (it’s in the William ward Watkin Family Papers), but I never thought hard about precisely where it was taken. Which gate is that in the background? There were only three, so how hard could it be to figure this out?

Well, I’m still not absolutely positive, but after looking at some other pictures of the procession my current guess is that it’s gate number two. (Unfortunately, I don’t have them on this computer. You can see a couple in Fredericka Meiners’ excellent History of Rice University. ) I think they started at the dormitories (inside gate three), then turned east on what would become the loop towards the administration building. It looks like they’re turning north in this picture, so the administration building would be just in front of them. That makes sense in terms of the camera angle too–the photographer was probably on top or near the top of that building.

So why was I looking at this picture in the first place? I’ve gotten interested in the lamp posts. First I got a hot tip about them from one of the electricians, then I stumbled across the original specs and contract for their installation. This model is called a German High Hat, for fairly obvious reasons.

The picture of the academic procession has one right smack dab in the middle.

Bonus: I can’t swear that this is exactly the same one, but it’s close.

Much more on the lamp posts later! I really mean that.

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2 Responses to The Opening Procession

  1. Grungy says:

    Have you compared the location of the existing lamp post to the manhole cover in the photo?
    There is a man standing on it, just left of center, toward the bottom.
    The “auto-adjust” tool in Photoshop puts a bit more contrast into the image.
    Thanks for giving us the full-resolution scan.

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    Hi Grungy! I plan on going over there today and having a closer look–maybe go up high in Lovett Hall too and see what I can see. Also, I need to dig out all the photos of the procession and stare intently at them for a while.

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