The Community House

Before Autry House was built across Main Street from Rice by the Episcopal Diocese in 1921, there was a wooden building on the site that served as a temporary “community house” for Rice students. (There really was no one else in the vicinity.) It had been cobbled together in 1919 from a couple of old Army mess halls that had been used at Camp Logan during the first World War. I was always aware that it had existed–we have a single photo of it:

I’d also seen it briefly  discussed in this excellent article by Joan Ferry (formerly of the Woodson Research Center) about Autry House that appeared in the Rice Historical Society’s newsletter, The Cornerstone, in 2008.

But it always seemed a little unreal to me–sort of lost in the mists of time. Unlike Autry House, where I’ve been many times, I couldn’t get any real sense of the place or what it meant. Then I found this while looking for something in a scrapbook that belonged to a student from the 1920s:

It’s nothing earth shaking, just a ticket to a dance. But in an instant the Community House became real to me. Why? Because now I can see people in it.

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12 Responses to The Community House

  1. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

    Fantastic historical story of Autrey House, Bede Chapel (never heard of it before), Palmer House, and all the rest.
    I attended a few events there in 1952-56, including the introductory dance of my class of 1956, also an occasional lunch as I recall, but had no idea of all it had been.
    Melissas, I wish I could make your Rice Historical bi-cen lectures. Hopefully, they will re recorded and made available to us later,somehow.
    gene pratt
    Rice Institute 1956.

  2. Deborah Gronke Bennett says:

    Great article about Autry House. I never whT there during my six years at Rice. Somehow it wasn’t even on my radar.

    Why do the Cornerstone issues stop in 2009?

    • Grungy says:

      At the RHS website?
      Because (a) we stopped receiving electronic copies that were easy to upload, (b) we stopped sending the electronic copies to the web-being, (c) both of the above.

      • Deborah Gronke Bennett says:

        Yes, I did mean at the website. It’s a pity that no more recent issues of the Cornerstone are available online. I find it an interesting read.

  3. Patrick Hall says:

    Wow. And the name on that card – J.L.C. McFaddin happens to have been my great-grandfather! And I am the new Episcopal Chaplain to Rice University – and my office is none other than – in Autry House! Time makes fascinating coincidences (if you believe in such a thing).

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