A Different Kind of “Tree on the Quad” Post

This is a post about a tree on the quad that is NOT an Italian cypress.

We were refiling some pictures this morning and I took notice of this one, dated 1917, for the first time:

I was first taken with the strange circular view. I don’t know what that was all about, maybe just being fancy. Next I realized what an unusual view it really is. There aren’t many photos with such a close view of the road that used to run through the middle of campus.

Once I got the picture scanned and could zoom in on it, I noticed something else. See the little tree there? Just to its right, on the other side of the crosswalk, you can tell that another small tree had recently been taken out. As I walked out to my car this afternoon I stopped to check out what this spot looks like today, and lo and behold, there’s still a tree missing. All the rows are four across except for the first one–there’s a bench where that tree should be:

I don’t know what kind of trees these are, but I do know that there are often Downy Woodpeckers in them.

Bonus: See the manhole cover in the first picture, right smack in the middle of the crossing? There’s still one there, although it’s a much prettier one now:

Extra Bonus: Dan Wagner, winner of the Vintage Rice Football Program Calendar, does a bit of a geek touchdown dance in the comments today:

My days as president of the library club in high school have finally paid off! I’ve got a spot picked out in my office, right above the Catalyst archives.

“Catalyst? What the heck is Catalyst?” I ask myself. It turns out to be what Rice undergrads are up to in the science labs. It’s definitely worth a look.

 

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6 Responses to A Different Kind of “Tree on the Quad” Post

  1. Don Johnson says:

    The trees along the north-south axis running through the center of campus are cedar elms. You’ll find them between Keck and Abercrombie as well.

  2. effegee says:

    Wow! That manhole cover in the 1917 picture is one of those funky, slightly domed, vented steam tunnel covers that I remember starting in 1969. I had no idea they were that old.

    I’m not exactly sure when the fancy ones in the “today” picture went into service. I know that all the covers on steam, storm, and sanitary were welded in place for the 1990 Economic Summit. Perhaps that started the ball rolling to replace the old ones.

  3. Eric says:

    Yes, they are cedar elms as Don Johnson beat me to the answer :). If you were really into trees on campus, there is an interactive tree map http://fon-gis.rice.edu/ricetrees/
    You might enjoy this based on your previous tree related posts, etc. It doesn’t load for me on Internet Explorer but does on Firefox. You can turn on layers at the left, and using the button that looks like the letter “i” with a circle (top of page on right), you can then click on a tree to get information or identify.
    This link is referenced on this page http://arboretum.rice.edu/trails.cfm

  4. That circular image means the film was larger than the lens could cover. I expect the original was a 4×5 or 8×10 negative. They used a wide angle lens designed for smaller format film, so a 4×5 lens with 8×10 film.

    All lenses illuminate a circle. With a view camera, you can move the film to different positions in that circle, usually to correct perspective when looking up or down. If you move it too far, the corners are outside the image circle and you see vignetting in the corners. Look for this in vertical photos of tall buildings, it is pretty common.

    I love these old large format photos, there is so much detail in them.

    Since you are dealing with so many old photos, it might be worth dropping by a photo class and finding out more about how view cameras work. They are pretty different from “hand cameras”. Once you know, you can often spot a photo from a “stand camera”.

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