I can’t remember right now what I had planned to write about today.  As soon as I got to campus this morning I saw something that reminded me of something else and whatever my plans were, they were immediately forgotten. (I’m sure it will come back to me eventually. Like maybe tomorrow, when I’m desperately looking for a topic.) Here’s what I saw:

This fellow was very nice and patient with my questions. He gave me a short lesson on surveying and could not resist noting that Mt. Rushmore depicts “three surveyors and one other guy.” I had quite a jolly time. Here’s what he reminded me of:

That’s Carl Knapp, class of 1916. (I’ve already written about him here and I will certainly write about him again.) In those days, and for a long time after, Rice engineering students were all taught to survey. They clearly loved their classes and their teachers, and they took great pride in learning the skills of engineering. With great enthusiasm, they almost immediately organized themselves into a club. Here they are in a very early photo, probably taken no later than 1913:

(It’s a good measure, incidentally, of the strangeness of my job that I can identify all those young men at a glance. I’m also quite sure of who took the picture–it had to have been Ed Dupree, who would otherwise have been in the photograph himself.)

This drawing is from a slightly later date (1922), but it gives you a good idea of part of what these guys were being asked to do in Civil Engineering class:

This map is well worth a look, by the way. It shows a decent amount of cultivated land and a railroad spur for deliveries to the power plant. The “Chas. Weber” tract just northeast of campus belonged to the pig farmer who had once owned the land where Cohen House is now–part of his asking price for the land (in addition to a lot of money) was a new place to live. This was it. And get a load of that soggy mess next to the athletics field!


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9 Responses to Throwback

  1. Thank you for the map. I’ve been looking for a while for something that would show me the creek that I now know from the map is Braes Bayou. From what I’ve been told, students and others used to find arrow heads on the banks of this bayou, on campus. I think in the neighbourhood of the pond, and mid campus. No-one though has been able to identify for sure which Amerindians they may have been.

  2. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT says:

    I forgot to ask for updates if replied be received.

  3. Carolyn Brewer says:

    Fascinating to see the names on adjoining tracks. I am confident you are aware of the connections to Rice represented by those names. Thanks for sharing this map.
    Carolyn Brewer

  4. James Medford says:

    Funny that they labeled the Commons as “Mess Hall”.

  5. Pingback: What is that over by West Hall? UPDATE | Rice History Corner

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