I’ve been traveling today and I’m pretty beat, so here are a couple of images from Maxwell Reade’s scrapbook that almost stand on their own. As far as I know, both of these are unique in the archives–I’ve never seen another shot from either angle. This first one is dated 1937 and it was taken standing in the empty field where the science buildings would later rise. Two things jump out at me right away. First, you can get a good look at the building just west of the Mech Lab which began life as the Chemistry Annex, but became the Engineering Annex after the Chemistry Building was completed in 1928. Second, wow, that’s a lot of empty space!
This next one is dated 1938 and it’s odd enough that it had me stumped for a moment. I have to believe that it was taken from inside Hermann Hospital–there wasn’t much else on that side of Main Street in those days. I can’t help but notice that there’s a whole lot of empty foreground in this shot too–it must have scratched some kind of itch for Reade. The line of the electric poles was where the old trolley tracks were, I think.
For comparison, here’s a 1931 aerial shot, which was as close as I could get without being in the Woodson.
You can see how Fannin curves and then ends right behind Autry House and the abandoned trolley line continues across the field. Just to the southwest of Autry, right at the edge of the photograph, you can make out the driveway of Hermann Hospital, which opened in 1925.
Is that the Warwick, behind the tree, left of center, in the top photo?
Like the baseball field, the row crops, the sheds near Harris Gulley, and the yet-older version of the grandstands at the football stadium in the bottom photo. I’d like to look that one over with a magnifying glass.
That is the Warwick, and just to the left of the Warwick you can see a faint image of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, which was built in the late 1920’s.
I think you are right about the Warwick, Grungy. That bottom photo interests me because I see the Oak trees recently planted in the middle of Sunset Blvd. I remember those from when I was young. They were eventually chopped down because cars kept hitting them, sometime in the mid 60’s I think.
What a difference the Houston “urban forest” makes in our perception of this neighborhood today. Planners in the 30’s creating those new neighborhoods had a blank canvas.
I am now a fan of the big tree that Grungy refers to. It stands to the street side of what will become the space between the Bio and Geo buildings. The tree is a useful marker in a lot of these early photos. You can spot it in the aerial shot, the only tree in a mostly empty field. I wonder, is it still there today?
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