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.
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.
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:
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:
Notice the base? It’s square.
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.
Really, Melissa? Are you sure? Yes.
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.