Car Wash

Even though I’m on vacation, I’m still thinking about Rice University arcana. On the drive from Spokane to Portland this comment by a grad from the mid-70s about my 1957 Beer Bike post was rattling around in my skull:

According to the tribal knowledge the worst spot on the inner loop was the turn from the N-S portion to the portion in front of the colleges. Before it was built up, there was a car wash location right at that corner and many riders wiped out there. I remember that car wash when I was there.

Oddly enough, that car wash has been the subject of correspondence with a couple of other readers too. I’ve tried and tried to find it in a photo but I haven’t been able to manage it. At least, I haven’t found it to my own knowledge. I’m not completely sure what it is I’m looking for. So be a pal and take a look at this aerial, which I would date c1968 (the graduate wing of Fondren isn’t quite complete). Zoom in on it and tell me if you can see the car wash:

Aerial late 60s

Bonus: Wait ’til next year!

baseball 1950s

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20 Responses to Car Wash

  1. Melissa, I believe it’s the asphalt extension of the parking lot across from old Wiess where Herring Hall is now. Right across from the tennis court in the picture. There’s a red car there with what looks like wet asphalt around it. My earliest Hanszen memories, c. 1980 pre-Herring seem to confirm that, albeit in a threadbare, thirty-three-year-old way.

    • Richard Miller (Hanszen '75 & '76) says:

      That is it. Not really noticible is the concrete barrier at the head of rhe rack so nobody could get into the Weiss parking lot. I believe the race was counter clockwise so the bikers would be going full tilt and making the turn when they would hit the wet (and soapy) pavement resulting in spectacular wipeouts

  2. Brad Bucher says:

    If you look at the tennis courts and look directly across from them you will notice a red car on the right side of a slab of concrete with room for possibly 2-3 cars available to the left. This is where the car wash was. The rest of the parking lot immediately to the left did not even exist when I was at Rice.

    Brad Bucher > WordPress.com > Melissa Kean posted: “Even though I’m on vacation, I’m still thinking > about Rice University arcana. On the drive from Spokane to Portland > this comment by a grad from the mid-70s about my 1957 Beer Bike post > was rattling around in my skull:According to the tribal knowledge the ” >

  3. Helen L.-Toombs '79 says:

    I was thinking that it was across the street, on what is now BIPP’s corner. There is nothing but grass in your pic, Melissa. But I could well be wrong. Definitely that intersection, though: I remember the combo of stop sign and car-wash.

  4. Grungy says:

    Yup. The red car is in the car wash.
    My bonus in this picture is The Bozobus, visible on the Campus Store loading dock.
    This is a great view of the original RMC, before expansion, with G lot, H lot, and The MOB’s practice field.

  5. Grungy says:

    …and the RMC’s circular drive.
    Lovett College is also being built.

  6. Richard A. Schafer says:

    There are two other views of the car wash space in the 1969 and 1965 aerial shots in your January 17, 2013 posting (“Trees, or Lack thereof”).

  7. marmer01 says:

    Lots of cool details in this pic for the history-minded. Looks like the stage house of the new Miller Theatre is also under construction. Copper roof on the tower of Baker (or Will Rice) next to Allen Center. Old tile-roofed huge apartment building across Bissonnet from the MFAH building where the parking lot is now. Just-barely-visible “Shadyside” house built by J.S. Cullinan, one of the founders of Texaco. Torn down in a fit of pique by Oveta Culp Hobby when the Shadyside board blocked her from building a high-rise (!) Open breezeways on SPAC. No Sewall Hall, no fourth floor on Allen Center, no Sid, no Mudd. Old Hanszen commons. Courtyard apartment with covered balconies where Grad Apartments on Bissonnet are now. More red and blue cars than we commonly see today.

  8. marmer01 says:

    Oh, and Zoo parking lot mostly empty? Wow. This is a different world for sure.

  9. Grungy says:

    Marty – guesses on what the small red and white vehicle is in H lot?
    There appears to be a red Beetle in the Geo lot.
    Hermann Brown is also under construction…
    Melissa – is this image part of a set, or a one-off?

    • Melissa Kean says:

      I’m not sure. It’s the only one I have on my laptop and I won’t be back in the Woodson until the end of the week. If there are more, I’ll let you know.

    • Grungy, red with a white roof was a common color scheme for the Mini Cooper. Judging from the short wheelbase and off-center white on that car, I’m going with that. There probably weren’t _all_ that many in Houston then, but there were probably a few. http://www.muamat.com/adpics/4cc4fac084e7adc2900d18ca7.jpg

      • Grungy says:

        There is also the possibility it’s a Nash Rambler Metropolitan Coupe.
        There does appear to be some white on the sides.
        H lot was still oyster shell, and there is at least one car in motion (or very badly parked) and one pedestrian visible in this shot.

  10. marmer01 says:

    I guess it could be a Metro or even a white-roof Metro convertible. Can’t tell for sure if it has a little trunk.

  11. marmer01 says:

    Zooming in does show a little red trunk. On the other hand, there seem to be some diagonals which are reminiscent of an MG TD series, particularly the front “fender” area and maybe the trunk. Melissa, we need a higher resolution picture!

  12. Grungy says:

    After downloading the image and playing with it in Photoshop, there is quite a bit of red on the trunk of the small car in H lot.
    I also see that there are quite a few VW Beetles parked on campus.
    Another difference between then and now is the alignment of the streets and parking among Hamman Hall, CK and the new Herman Brown. The short piece of street inside of what is now Entrance 21 aligns with the street in the image on the other side of Campanile Road. Today, the U-shaped parking area between Hamman Hall and Mudd is much narrower, making for some interesting intersection interactions.

  13. Nancy Flatt says:

    Did you find the car wash? It is just north and across the street from the most north east tennis court and just outside that long parking lot. We used it many times between 1965 and 1969. Nancy Flatt

    From: Rice History Corner Reply-To: Rice History Corner Date: Monday, June 10, 2013 3:48 PM To: Nancy Flatt Subject: [New post] Car Wash

    WordPress.com Melissa Kean posted: “Even though I’m on vacation, I’m still thinking about Rice University arcana. On the drive from Spokane to Portland this comment by a grad from the mid-70s about my 1957 Beer Bike post was rattling around in my skull:According to the tribal knowledge the “

  14. I did some Photoshopping, too. Yes, it’s not a Mini, I should have looked more closely. I don’t think it’s a Beetle convertible. But that diagonal white is not consistent with the two-tone Metropolitan color scheme. Maybe a Brit roadster with side curtains like this MG TD: http://www.wwmotorcars.com/images/PreviousProjects/54mgtd.jpg
    or, better yet, this Triumph TR3:

    Probably not an MGA. They had real glass side curtains or windows, I think.

  15. Pingback: Thank you…But | What's in Woodson

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