I got a lot of response to the post last week with the very early construction pictures, particularly to this shot with the railroad cars. I was guessing that the picture wasn’t taken on campus because the contract for building the spur was written and signed in 1913. After further review, the call on the field is overturned. If you zoom in and take another close look, you’ll be able to see two things. First, to the right of the train there’s a lamp post, a classic Rice German high hat. Were those already on campus this early? Yes, they were. Here’s one in another image from 1910:
Second, the track itself isn’t built up at all. It’s a narrow gauge and has been laid down right on the ground. The specs for the spur that Wilmer Waldo built in 1913 call for the grade to be raised somewhat. It also just makes sense that the stone would be laid out in that fashion very close to where it would be used. So I’m currently guessing that this was just a temporary track, meant to be used only to get construction materials to the work site. I suspect that it was laid in roughly the same line as the 1913 spur, but I haven’t been able to find any more visual evidence of it so I’m not sure about that. There are many, many more pictures to look at but they’re kind of disorienting—most of them aren’t labeled and it isn’t always immediately clear which direction the photographer is facing—so I have to go slow and be patient.
In the meantime, I’m scrutinizing these photos much more closely than I ever have before and so I’ll go ahead and post some of the more interesting ones. Any thoughts on what we’re looking at are greatly appreciated.
For reference, here’s one I basically understand, taken from up in the East Hall construction towards the Administration Building: