Looking Across Main Street, circa 1950, Part II

Some of you might remember this beautiful photograph looking out across the dorms towards the fledgling Med Center, taken in about 1950:

View over dorms towards Hermann Hosp and Professional Building 1950

I posted it about a year ago and some discussion broke out in the comments about where the photographer was standing. The roof of Fondren was the consensus pick and it looks like that was correct. This is from yesterday, just a quick eyeball guess taken with a pocket camera:P1080395

You can barely see the tops of the dorms over the roof of Humanities. The only way you can really get a good look at them at all is to retreat to the back part of the roof (the 1967 addition):P1080444

Bonus: What the heck, as long as I’m up here . . .


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10 Responses to Looking Across Main Street, circa 1950, Part II

  1. effegee says:

    The angle of the “1967 extension” picture is closer to correct than the first Fondren picture. However, it looks to me that both Fondren pictures look at the side of the Hermann Professional Building more than the original does.

    Could the “1950” picture have been taken from the roof of Anderson Biology? (Perhaps by the photographer whose works in and around the science trio buildings were published in this blog last year?) A picture from the original section of Bio would be more toward the Main Street face of HPB than either Fondren picture. Of course, it may be even harder to see any of the landmarks from Bio today!

  2. James Medford says:

    Anderson Biology was built in 1958. The top photo was taken before 1957, because Will Rice’s original “New Section” (built in 1957), isn’t visible here. The “tower” of that building would be visible from this perspective after 1957.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      That’s right. I actually meant Anderson (Architecture), which was completed before Fondren was begun. I felt like I was getting close to the right angle when I was at the very front of the Fondren roof.

      • effegee says:

        For some reason, I have a mental image of an Anderson Bio cornerstone with an earlier date in the 50’s. However, the Google Earth historical image from 12/1953 dispel that image. So it is not an option if the date of the photo is accurate. Anderson Hall seems too far to the left of the photo (“northeast”?) for the walkway to line up the way it does with the Dining Hall (“Baker Commons”) entry.

        So, I took the 2013 Fondren image from the late ’60s addition and the 1950 image and put them into Photoshop. I copied a square around HPB from the 2013 image, layered it on to the 1950 image at 50% transparency, and then scaled the overlaid selection until I had a fairly good match on the size of the “steps” on the HPB outline just below the roof. After scaling, the 2013 image lined up with the 1950 much better than I thought it did when looking at the two images at different scale. It’s off by a little, but I would have to have a much higher resolution display and photographs to be certain that the 2013 image was too far to the left of the 1950 viewpoint.

        It’s interesting to note that the building is twice as deep today as it was in 1950. Either the Fannin end or Main end was not there in the 1950 picture. But roughly the same result was obtained using either end of today’s building with minor adjustment of the scaling.

        I’m now convinced that the original picture was shot from the back corner of the roof of the original Fondren closest to the Dining Hall kitchen tower (known in 1969-73 as Baker College Entrance 9). The other options I discarded were that someone erected a temporary tower the height of a 3 or 4 floor building OR that the date on the photo is off by enough for the RMC campanile to have been erected. Neither seems that likely.

        Amazing how the eyes (and mind!) play tricks!

        • Melissa Kean says:

          Wow. You are a complete maniac. And I say that with the deepest respect.

          I’ve also been messing around with this tonight, mostly staring at old aerial shots, and I also think the 1950 picture had to have been taken from a spot quite near where I took the image yesterday. For a few moments I even harbored the notion that it might have been taken from the second floor side balcony of the Chemistry Building before Fondren was built but then I realized that the Hermann Building wasn’t complete until 1948. No other building besides Fondren in 1950 would give you a clean shot at that line. The next time I go up there I’ll make a real effort to line it up.

  3. Love the photos. When I left Rice in 1982, the campus still had the quality of a peaceful and protected island. My most recent visit back in January of 2013 (after about 15 years since my prior visit) left me with a few pangs, since many of the new buildings just outside the campus are readily in view from the center of the quadrangle. Rice is right in the thick of things, but not so cozy!

  4. Farrell proves again that there ain’t no geek like an old Rice geek! I’ve played around with historical images and Photoshop a fair bit here and there, and I can’t even IMAGINE doing that! Wow!

  5. Pingback: A Photo of Abercrombie Sends Me Off in a Totally Different Direction | Rice History Corner

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