The High Jumper

One of the pictures  I got from Tommy Lavergne last week shows a high jumper in mid-leap. There is another picture I’m pretty sure was taken at the same, of a pole vaulter. (I’ll talk more about that one later.) I think both these pictures were taken at a fairly large track meet. It’s clearly not a practice–the athletes seem to be in regular uniform and there are a lot of people standing around watching, some of whom look very official. One fellow in the pole vault photo even seems to have some sort of official’s ribbon pinned to his jacket.

Was this picture taken at Rice? Honestly, I’m not sure yet. There are some good clues here–an open view of some treeless space, a house in the background, a road, a fence and a line of electric poles. But where to look for comparison? Do you remember my post about Fred Manaker, Professor J.H. Pound and the aerial photos of Rice taken in 1917, just a year or two after this one was shot? (What?? You don’t??!) Let’s have another look at those then. (Click on them to enlarge, then click again to zoom in.) The first one was taken directly over the athletic field, although part of it is blocked by a wing. Drat.

 You can tell from this that a good part of the field had no bleachers and also that there was open space (that is, without trees) at least on the west and northwest of the track. It’s hard to tell what’s to the south and southwest because of the airplane wing. But so far, so good.

Now here’s another:

OK, right off the bat I see that towards the northwest there is a house here just as there is in the background of the high jump picture–but it’s obviously not the same house.  You can also clearly see that there is also open, relatively treeless space towards the southwest on the Main Street corner of the field. But there’s no house there at all, at least not one that’s visible in this photo. Might there be one out of camera range? Sure. But might it be the one on Main Street towards the southeast? I don’t know, there seem to be a lot of trees to the southeast of the field that would block the view.

But there’s one more picture in this series, taken at only 300 feet:

Well, the road looks right and the fence looks right also. It seems there might be a sight line to the house from some angles as well. I even happen to know that there was a line of electric poles down there along Fannin, because of this 1914 photo of some Rice guys waiting for a trolley car.


But I’m still skeptical. Please feel free to weigh in.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about who the high jumper might be.

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2 Responses to The High Jumper

  1. C Kelly says:

    Tough one. The first aerial photo (shown during baseball season, I presume) shows a low stands on the west side of the field. In order for it to stay out of view (as in the high jump photo), wouldn’t the high jump pit have to be pretty close to the west end of the north end zone? If so, wouldn’t you see the multiple stories of the house? Maybe the single-story, white house was taken down and the multi-story house put up between the track meet and the aerial photos.

  2. Pingback: The High Jumper, Part II | Rice History Corner

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