There was a very minor stir last week when an old laundry cart appeared next to the west door of Anderson Hall. Several emailers alerted me to it and another clever reader actually forwarded a picture to me, for which I am grateful. It’s indeed an unexpected treat:
The Tidelands, as most of you surely know, was a motel that sat on the corner of University and Main, where the BRC is today. Every newspaper story gives different dates, but my best guess as of this moment is that the opening was scheduled for the fall of 1958 but they put things into high gear and opened in time for the the Rice-Baylor game on November 30, 1957. Built by Spaw-Glass—run by Rice alums Louis Spaw (’40) and T. Franklin Glass (’39)—and Walter P. Moore and Associates (’27), it was always closely associated with Rice, especially after football star Dick Maegle (’55) became the manager in 1958.
I only saw the Tidelands in its last years so it came as a real surprise to learn that it was once quite a fancy place, its lounge a big draw for nightclubbers with acts such as Bob Newhart, the Smothers Brothers and–can this be true??–Willie Nelson. By the early 1980’s the glamour had worn off and the motel was acquired by Rice in the summer of 1983 as housing for grad students. This is what it was used for when I first saw it and the atmosphere was about as far from elegant as you could get. I’ll have more about this soon, but here’s a small appetizer: