Closing In on the Bent

This has been comically difficult. Really, I’ve been laughing as I’ve gone along. Part of what makes it all so interesting is that the engineering quad has been photographed so much over the years that there are hundred of images of it in the file. It’s full of things that seem to fascinate photographers–the old Mech Lab, the big marble slabs of the sculpture, there are even dozens of pictures of the Mechanical Engineering Building going up. The Tau Beta Pi bent, however, is not one of those things. It’s always hidden behind something or tantalizingly just off the edge of the image. Combine this with one of humanity’s great weaknesses–the refusal to date pictures–and you have a convoluted situation.

Nonetheless, I persevere. Looking in the most obvious place first, I found this Thresher article from September 1968 (which happily matches the date on the bent):

Tau Beta Pi bent Thresher Sept 1968 p8

Clearly, the bent was not then placed where it is now. Here’s an undated picture of it in its original home. This time instead of Paul Pfeiffer entering Abercrombie, in a nifty bookend we see Bill Wilson exiting:

Tau Beta Pi bent Dr Bill nd

At this point I can only make educated guesses about dates based on some random scraps that have turned up. Here’s a pretty image from a February 1979 Thresher:

Pi Beta Tau bent Thresher Feb 1979

This next one is more surprising to me. Zoom in as close as you can and you’ll see the old Sigma Tau pyramid still there in the back corner. It was obviously taken just after 45° 90° 180° was installed in 1984, which is later than I would have expected it to be there.

Tau Beta Pi bent

But I don’t think it stayed there much longer. Here, mirabile dictu, is a photo dated August 1987 that shows the bent in its current location, with the pool filled in and plants added:

Tau Beta Pi bent August 1987

I don’t know about you guys, but I think that’s close enough.

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16 Responses to Closing In on the Bent

  1. James Medford says:

    Unrelated to the bent, it’s cool to see the ad for Times Barber Shop in the Thresher. They’re still in business at the Southwest Freeway feeder road and Shepherd.

  2. Deborah Gronke Bennett (BSEE Hanszen 1982) says:

    So yesterday’s picture of the guy in jeans reading on the bench was from after 1984, which in my opinion fits with those jean pockets and shoes.

    • Deborah Gronke Bennett (BSEE Hanszen 1982) says:

      Please ignore ny previous comment. It is all wrong. (I blame jet lag and lack of sleep).

  3. In the 1987 picture it looks like they’re working on the area around the pyramid. I think I see turned earth and some kind of traffic-cone things and it looks like the water might have been drained and the lower part of the pyramid base is visible. Let’s start a cause: Bring back the Sigma Tau pool!

  4. Don Johnson says:

    Is the student walking with Dr. Bill John Doerr? Bart would know.

  5. Grungy says:

    And “2001” in Cinerama, at the Windsor.
    I believe the Windsor was the last Cinerama house in Houston, and the last film shown in that format was “Deliverance”: it was magnificent.

  6. mjthannisch says:

    I too noticed 2001 and the Windsor Cinerama which is where I saw 2001. Other things that popped out at me was the article on political scientists, and that none of the (presidential) candidates were any good for various reasons including not talking about the environment. The alarm sold by the Rice Campus Store for the girls walking to Jones brought back memories of the escort service that Lovett(?) provided in the late 70s.

    I think, John, the last movie I saw there was the Great Waltz, but I may be mistaken. The very first movie I saw there was on the Brothers Grimm, but I never can find it on the internet anywhere.

    On the whole a very nice set of pictures showing the bent (which I don’t remember).

    Thank you very much.

  7. mjthannisch says:

    And now I find it, I guess it just wasn’t up before. “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm” See it if you can find it.

  8. I seem to remember seeing a movie at the Windsor on a high school trip after it had been cruelly split in two. All the seats were at a strange angle because of that. Wasn’t Gaylynn a Cinerama house also?

  9. Kathy says:

    I also saw 2001 for the first (of countless) time at the Windsor. Seeing that logo really takes me back! I love the “extra” stuff in old newspaper clippings.

  10. mjthannisch says:

    @Loki_the_bubba Thank you for that link. Many fond memories for me. The Delman, the Village Theatre, and General Cinema Meyerland were all regular haunts when we went to see movies.

  11. Yes, Gaylynn was a Cinerama house. So, too, briefly, was the Rivoli downtown.

    http://cinerama.topcities.com/ctcineramatheatres.htm

  12. Pingback: An Unsuspected Link Between Rice Engineering and Beer | Rice History Corner

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