The Front Gate

We’ve had several really good interns lately and one day this summer one of them came in with some early photographs of Rice’s front gate. (He came by them honestly–this intern was Austin Rodd, whose father David, the University Architect, sent them over.) We were standing around looking at them this morning and realized that every one of them had something a bit odd about it. (Which probably explains why someone bothered to take the picture in the first place, now that I think about it.) None were dated, so the first job is to figure out–when was this taken?

Zoom in and you’ll undoubtedly notice the graffitti on the right side of the gate, which seems to have been left by those rascals from Texas A&M. There isn’t much to go on here, but I do see a couple of things that might help. First, the drive isn’t yet paved, which suggests a fairly early date. On the other hand, the landscaping looks pretty lush, like it’s been there for a while. But wait . . . . this reminds me of another photo that I have squirreled away in my laptop:

According to the writing on the back of the photograph these are some of Mrs. Lovett’s relatives who came for a visit from Kentucky in 1919. Off the top of my head that date looks about right. (The Physics Building is there.)Note that the sidewalk has just been put in–there’s a reasonable prospect of finding a contract for that work. I’ll check when I have a few minutes. So all I need is a horticulturalist or something like that to tell me how long it takes for those bushes to get from the size they are in 1919 to the size they are in the top picture. Anybody know any horticulturalists?

Bonus: The reason that I just happen to have the picture of the Kentucky relatives is that a while back I got really interested in the various pots that used to be around campus. Here’s a photo of the same relatives with an absolutely first-rate pot:

That is a thing of beauty. And the children were so charming that I scanned the other picture as well.

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8 Responses to The Front Gate

  1. Grungy says:

    … and there was no spray paint for graffiti back then …

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    You’re always so practical!

  3. Dagobert Brito says:


    Re: Graffitti
    Isn’t there a 25 under the AMC? This would suggest that the graffitti was painted on by members of the AMC class of 1925.


    • Melissa Kean says:

      Brito, you’re a genius! I couldn’t make out what that was, but now I see that you’re correct. I”ll check the 1925 Threshers to see if there’s any mention of this.

  4. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT says:

    Finally, there is evidence of the truthfullness of the tale that the gate was covered with ivy to hide A&M grafitti of some kind.

  5. Mike Ross says:

    Then the faded markings might still be there?

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