“Rice by the Sea,” Early 1930s

It’s pretty wet today and they’re saying that the really heavy stuff isn’t going to come down until tomorrow. These photos from sometime in the early 1930s record the consequences of a similarly rainy bout:

Rice by the sea early 30s 1Rice by the sea 2

I don’t care who you are, that’s impressive. Student scrapbooks and mentions of “Lovett Lake” in the Thresher and the Campanile make it clear that this was a fairly regular sight for many decades. Seventy years of working on campus drainage between then and now have reduced this problem significantly. I think the last time we had water on this scale must have been sometime in the ’70s. Which is not, of course, to say that it won’t happen again. Because I’m pretty sure it eventually will.

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12 Responses to “Rice by the Sea,” Early 1930s

  1. The June 1976 flood did the most damage, but the November 1978 flood was also impressive. My housemates kayaked from our house on Bissonet to campus. I couldn’t paddle because I’d broken my collarbone in a Moonlight Ramble bike accident (my fault), but I let them use my kayak.

    For a nice list of 1970’s Houston floods: http://www.wxresearch.com/flood/1979.html

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

      The November 1978 flood inundated the basements of the buildings in the Medical Center across Main St. Cars were floating up the ramps and out into the street.

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

        I do not recall that the 1978 flood got into the Medical center buidings. My memory is that it was the June 1976 that flooded several building (primarily west of Bertner) and they remediated it by building the berms. I know the 1978 flood did float cars but my memory is that there was no major building flooding until Allison

  2. Kathy says:

    I remember one 70’s flood, can’t recall the exact year, but it resulted in the only-ever rain-out in the Astrodome: players and even umpires couldn’t get to the stadium. My not-yet-husband and I weren’t trying to get to the game but to get off campus to his apartment we had to wade across University and the water was hip-deep! Wish we’d had a kayak!

  3. Bill Peebles (Hanszen '70) says:

    In one of the late 60’s floods someone posted a sign near Fondren that said “William Rice Marsh.” Another one said “Mosquito Refuge.” I think pictures of those are in one of the yearbooks.

  4. Dan McCormack says:

    There was major flooding and a campus-wide power outage on Owl Day in the Spring of ’79.

  5. john wolda says:

    Astrodome rainout was June 15, 1976. Prior to that the saying was “you win some, you lose some and some are rained out,except in the Astrodome.”

    • Kathy says:

      Or, somewhat more poetically, in Bull Durham: “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains.” 😎

  6. Barney L. McCoy says:

    After the 1978 flood filled the basements of many of the hospitals in the med center, a study was done recommending that the electric switching be moved to 2nd story levels. Like most studies it was ignored, with the result that the Allison flooding shorted out many systems, causing several hospitals to be closed for long periods of time. Barney L. McCoy, Hanszen 67

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

      1976 actually. The report was not ignored but the senior management felt that the flood control measures taken after that incident reduced the risk of water encrocement to a degree that they felt spending the millions of dollars to relocate the switch gear could be better spent on other priorities. In retrospect it was the wrong decision. Some institutions did move their switch gear (e-gens, transformer vaults and primary panels) to the 2nd floor or mezzanine level but it did not do any good because they did not isolate the basement from the rest of the internal grid so when the basements flooded there was no was to isolate the flooded area from the dry so everything had to be de-enegized. Other organizations had added the recommended work to their list of things to do but it had not risen high enough to be prioritized to actually do the work.

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