I’ve been on the road today but I managed to make it into the Woodson for a few minutes this morning to have another look at those physics building construction pictures. I didn’t see another photo of the exact same structure as the one from yesterday but there are some really clear images of earlier iterations. Click on it twice and you can really see how it worked.
Then look up and over to the left of the Mech Lab, where I just now noticed the train. This is actually one of the best images we have of a train on the spur! And I happen to know, because I just found the correspondence in the Rice Institute Business Manager Papers, that at the time this picture was taken we were in the middle of a wrestling match with the railroad about the poor condition of the track, which meant that at least for a while it wasn’t possible to bring some of the construction materials (stone, mostly) to the site on these tracks. There was probably coal in those cars.
Bonus: This is the only photo I can recall seeing of Mr. Cohn, the business manager. I took it from a newspaper clipping. He looks scary and I suppose he probably was at times, but I think he was also a very good man. He certainly pulled a heavy load at the Institute. He was, incidentally, the person who placed William Marsh Rice’s ashes in the base of the statue.