The 1937 Campus Map and the “New” Rice Stadium

If you go back and look at the 1937 Owl map, up at the top an arrow points to the “new Rice Stadium.”  I don’t pretend to understand whatever joke is being made here, but I’m interested by the reference to the new stadium, which wasn’t built until 1938. The most likely explanation, I suppose, is that it had already been announced since the money for the renovations had to be raised from the fans.

In any event, it was a pretty significant renovation. Here’s the Thresher article that ran at the beginning of the 1938 football season, which explains what was done and how it was paid for. Just click to zoom in. I kind of got a kick from the fact that construction finished two entire weeks before the first game–pretty luxurious compared to the 1950 stadium:

Note also the reference to the new “towering entrance arches on the south side.” They weren’t kidding. Here they are:

I found this in William Ward Watkin's papers.

And here’s an aerial shot:

 Tomorrow I’ll show you some pictures taken inside the stadium on game day.

Bonus: The Glasscock School of Continuing Studies is having a Rice Centennial Photography Contest. If you have any interest in photography  at all, here’s a link to the information. This could be fun.

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14 Responses to The 1937 Campus Map and the “New” Rice Stadium

  1. C Kelly says:

    These are great pictures of the old stadium. I always wondered what it looked like.

  2. Dagobert Brito says:

    Melissa, Great pictures! Is that a stream on then east side of the stadium?

  3. Grungy says:

    That is a fabulous image of a packed stadium.
    It’s easy to tell where the opponents of that day are seated, but I am sad that I cannot find the Rice Band.

  4. James Medford says:

    That’s the first photo I’ve seen that clearly shows the footbridge over Harris Gully.

  5. Deborah Gronke Bennett says:

    Is the 1938 stadium in almost the same location as the track stadium is today (and the baseball field of today is where the stadium parking was in 1938)? Or do I have my corners of the campus confused?

    I am curious how many of the large houses across Rice Blvd in the 1938 stadium picture are still there today. They look so different without their surrounding trees.

  6. Richard Miller (Hanszen '75 & '76) says:

    I think the track stadium is the 1938 stadium with the south side seats and entrance removed. As I recall, some of the earlier posts showing this area as it is now had some remnants of the entrance complex.

    Also, the structure of the north side seats looks very much like what is there now

  7. James Medford says:

    Yes, the old Rice Field was at the location of the current track stadium.

  8. Edward L. Summers says:

    Interesting photos of the old stadium. I can remember attending a “pro” football game in that old stadium in the 1940s, before the new stadium was finished (maybe even before it was started). What can you find out about that? Did Houston have, or try to have, a pro football team in the 1940s? Or was it an exhibition game by non-Houston teams? I believe it was cold and coudy that day. I also remember a walkway leading from the north or northwest to the old stadium. The walkway was shielded by hedges, and parts of it were still intact in the 1950s after Autry Court was built. Where did that walkway go?

  9. Mike Ross says:

    Edward — The last football game played at the Old Rice Stadium (Field) was a pro game — the Shamrock Bowl on Dec. 19, 1949 — pitting that year’s All-American Football Conference champions (Cleveland Browns) against a team of All-Stars from the other conference teams. Here’s a nice web account of that game: . It was also the final game of the AAFL, as the Browns, Baltimore Colts and San Francisco 49ers left that league for the National Football League in 1950.

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