Filling in the Wings of Abercrombie Hall

I’ve has this picture for quite some time and just couldn’t figure out what it was. I actually titled it “No Idea Construction” when I scanned it. No matter how I looked at it, I couldn’t get it to make sense.

No Idea Construction

Then, the answer to yesterday’s Bonus Question gave me an idea. Just as a reminder, here it is: Who knows where this is?


And Don Johnson’s correct answer is: I think I do. It is the ceiling skylight in one of the newer wings of Abercrombie. Newer being a relative term; the fill-in wings were constructed in the 80s, if I recall correctly. 

I got confirmation this afternoon from an eminent authority that the top image is of filling in the space between two original wings, c1980. Here’s a look at the wings during construction in 1948:


And a 1983 view (if you zoom in you can see the scaffolding still up on Mudd Lab) of the top of the building from Bonner Lab:

Rooftop to Abercrombie

Bonus: This was discovered yesterday inside the ceiling of an art department room in the first Sewall basement. It’s a piece of art, intricate and exquisitely constructed. Covered with dust, it had clearly been in the ceiling for quite a long time. If you have any idea who made it, where it came from or why it was in the ceiling I would love to hear from you.

Mystery 2

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5 Responses to Filling in the Wings of Abercrombie Hall

  1. marmer01 says:

    Is it a sculpture, or does it actually look like it was meant to measure something?

  2. Tommy LaVergne says:

    Speaking of that “ceiling skylight”, I have a rather embarrassing story. back in 1987 Dr. Bill Wilson allowed me to use his hidden darkroom that was in that wing. I used it to print black and white photos for the pre-Rice News. I think the paper was called This Side of Rice at that time. Anyway, as a completely disillusioned, longhaired 25 year old, for whatever reason, I would play this silly game where I would toss my keys over the top of those lights all the way down that hall and catch them on the other side. As you’ve probably already guessed, they finally landed on one of them. I had to go next door to RUPD and get Officer Putski who called Facilities to bring a very tall ladder over so they could be retrieved. This seemed to take hours and as time passed, more and more people would stop and ask what was going on, etc….
    I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “How in the hell did you do that?”
    I’m fairly certain that Dr. Don Johnson was one of those people. Not one of my finer moments.

  3. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, yes. I’ve had to get the Genie lift out to get a student’s keys down from the big horizontal “crossbars” in the Foyer of Alice Pratt Brown. He was doing the same tossing thing, more or less. Of course, he was then required to endure a fair amount of good-natured ribbing by passersby while this was going on.

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