The Anderson Addition and An Unusual Lamp Post

Recently I’ve begun working my way carefully through the Campus Photographer collection, which came over to the Woodson only a couple years ago. This group is voluminous—I can’t even bear to think about all those boxes—and also tricky. There are hundreds of images that exist only on contact sheets and thousands that are only negatives. My former colleague Lauren Meyers, who’s now the archivist at UH-Clear Lake, did a really fine job of organizing them all. I knew from her that there was good stuff in there but only now do I have time to look at it all in detail.

Anderson Addition 1

Again, as I’ve mentioned before, sometimes the most interesting things on contact sheets are the last couple of pictures, often taken by a photographer in a hurry to use up a roll of film. That’s how I found these pictures–they were at the end of a roll of photos of architectural details (which was the label on the file where I found them. See how that works? I started with “A.”). I was mystified when I blew up the first one, above. What is that? The shape made me think of Herring Hall, but that can’t be right as it’s clearly attached to an already existing building. The angle of the next image made it clear, though–it’s the 1981 James Sterling addition to Anderson Hall.

Anderson Addition

Well, this was at least mildly interesting, mostly because there aren’t many pictures of this construction. It’s the lamp post that’s visible in the second picture, however, that’s really remarkable. Here it is today:

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Notice anything odd? If you live a normal kind of life you probably don’t. Sadly, I do. That lamp is what we call here a German High Hat and they predominate on the older part of campus. I think they’re quite attractive. Here, however, is what they usually look like:

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Notice the base? It’s square.

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They all are, except for the one by the Anderson Addition, which if you go back and look you’ll see is round.

Bonus: Did I say they all are except for the one by the Anderson Addition? Ooops, sorry! There’s at least one other oddball with the same roundish base, next to Lovett over by the Sewall courtyard.

P1020292

Really, Melissa? Are you sure? Yes.

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Obviously, I took these pictures before the bushes were removed and the lovely roses put in their place. And yes, I recognize that digging around in bushes looking at lamp post bases is preposterous. But I needed to know.

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15 Responses to The Anderson Addition and An Unusual Lamp Post

  1. marmer01 says:

    Roundish, I guess in a hexagonal or octagonal sort of way. 😉 (Can’t tell for sure from the pic.)

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    I think “bulbous” is a pretty good fit.

  3. Richard A. Schafer says:

    Of course, now you have to figure out why those two outliers exist, right?

    • Melissa Kean says:

      Yes, I’m afraid so.

    • marmer01 says:

      It’s one of those stories that is now lost to the mists of legend and it probably involves the Rally Club, a ’48 Ford, a ’49 Chevy, a lot of beer, a discontinued design by Weitzmann Iron Works, and an impromptu race around the Inner Loop that was so scandalous that all mention of it has been expunged (expunged! I tell you!) from University records.

    • Deborah Gronke Bennett (BSEE Hanszen '82) says:

      Maybe it is something more mundane. Like they used to be square, but were damaged somehow, and couldn’t be exactly replaced. So they used the bulbuous version instead.

  4. effegee says:

    Maybe they were just short a couple and the two mentioned were as close to the rest that could be found? Starting with the construction of Sewall, there was concerted effort to return to the original architecture style. (Too bad the departure resulted in Fondren and in Cram’s library for Rice ending up in California.)

    • I thought that the Sewall bequest specified that the above-ground portion of Sewall Hall had to match the Physics Building as closely as possible, hence the two floors underground. That was the story I heard back when the Shepherd School was in the basement. Not that it was the beginning of a campus-wide swing back to Cram-ian (boy, that’s awkward) Mediterranean detail — that had to wait for Humanities and McNair. But, hey, maybe the oddballs were damaged in construction of Sewall and the Anderson addition, and this was as close as they could come. Let’s give a moment of sympathy to poor Melissa, who is probably even now scouring campus photos to see if she can tell when/if they changed!

  5. George Webb says:

    I love those lampposts, and I always agree that they look strikingly like soldiers in helmets. It’s not just that the top looks like a helmet; the supporting bracket is easily reminiscent of a chinstrap, and the glass presents exactly the kind of square-jawed silhouette one would expect in a recruiting poster. But I would say the resemblance is more to the helmets of the British Tommies, rather than the coal-scuttle shape that the Germany army made famous.

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