New and Improved Physics Construction Photo with Something Unexpected

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.

Physics construction 1914 2

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.


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4 Responses to New and Improved Physics Construction Photo with Something Unexpected

  1. Richard Schafer says:

    Any idea what the tower in the middle is for? There’s another very tall wooden ladder, but I can’t figure out what anyone climbing to the top would do once there, except have a good view of the entire site.

    • Keith Cooper says:

      Looking at the position of the tower relative to the foundation, it might well be the same tower that we saw in yesterday’s photograph. It looks as if it moved slightly toward the PL Amphitheater in the later photo, but it is pretty close to the same location.

  2. marmer01 says:

    Perhaps the ladder all the way to the top is to permit further growth of the tower as needed. A way to get up there to haul up more wood or something.

  3. Deborah Gronke Bennett (BSEE Hanszen '82) says:

    I wonder what the horses in the foreground are waiting to do. They are all harnessed up, and look like they are a team of 4 to pull something heavy.

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