Mech Lab, 1912 With An Exciting Surprise

It’s exciting to me, at any rate. See it?

Mech Lab 1912 with train car

The first thing I do with any image from this era that I haven’t seen before is to look for a train. I can’t tell you how much I wish someone had just gone back there and taken some pictures of them unloading one. It would have saved me a lot of trouble.


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14 Responses to Mech Lab, 1912 With An Exciting Surprise

  1. Grungy says:

    I see it.
    Doesn’t look like the hopper car I would have expected.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      I thought about that too. It’s really hard to find any information at all about what went on with this. I’m not even completely sure when they took the rail spur out.

  2. Keith Cooper says:

    In the 90’s , if I recall correctly, F&E found a deeply buried fuel tank out behind the power plant. I They did not expect it. Might date back further than they thought …

  3. Keith Cooper says:

    Surprise: chapel courtyard?

    • Melissa Kean says:

      Wow–great job. I didn’t think anyone would get that.

      • Angela Wren Wall says:

        Finally got back to the blog! 🙂 Pegged this one. I’ve spent many a lunch hour in the chapel (sans food) and wandering around in the surrounding courtyards (with totable food). I probably wouldn’t have recognized it had I not always been intrigued by those funky door handles!

  4. Barney L. McCoy says:

    That appears to be a railroad tank car, and with the visible lettering on the side of “THE TEX” may have belonged to The Texas Fuel Co., the predecessor to Texaco. It was one of the big winners during the Spindletop boom and would have been a significant fuel supplier in the Houston area in 1912. Incidently, with the restrictive policies about women visitors in the Men’s Colleges in the 60’s, the courtyard of the Rice Chapel was oft nightly frequented by lovestruck young couples. Barney L. McCoy, Hanszen 67

  5. mjthannischm says:

    I don’t remember, was the plant originally coal fired? I remember a house in River Oaks that I repaired the sprinkler system on (while on Summer vacation from Rice), and it still had the original furnace in the basement. It was originally coal fired, and converted to oil. If the plant was coal fired, do we know where the coal came from. I know a lot of coal came out of Thurber, Texas (west of Ft. Worth) which was originally mined by the Texas and Pacific Coal Company to sell to the Texas and Pacific RR. When the RR went to oil fired locomotives, the coal mining started going down. Coal was also sold to someone in Ft. Worth by them for the purpose of making coal gas for lighting at one time.

  6. mjthannisch says:

    It could be it was just an extra car on the line, but I know at one time at least parts of Houston ran on coal and were switched to oil. I have seen a furnace in the basement of a house on River Oaks that was originally coal fired and had been converted to oil. It was no longer in use when I saw it (around 76 during a summer job while on vacation from Rice), having been replaced by a gas furnace.

    I would be curious to know where the coal came from. The largest coal mines in Texas at this time were in Thurber, TX (also of Thurber brick fame, look around you’ll find them in a variety of places). The Texas and Pacific Coal Company was organised in order to mine and sell bituminous coal to the Texas and Pacific RR. After the rail roads switched to oil fired locomotives in around 1910, the mines started closing down and the T&P Coal company renamed the T&P Coal and Oil Company and began drilling for oil in the Thurber area.

  7. mjthannisch says:

    Sorry about the doubling. I couldn’t find my first post and it magically re-appeared after posting the second.

  8. Grungy says:

    There is a coal-chute on the Herzstein-end of Lovett Hall.
    The coal had to get there somehow – carted from rail’s end?
    For all of the pipes in the steam tunnels, why would they need an additional furnace/boiler?

  9. Pingback: What Fueled The Power Plant? | Rice History Corner

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