A Change of Mind, 1955

I was looking at a file of old RMC stuff earlier this week in preparation for a meeting when I came across this fund-raising brochure for the building. Here’s the cover:

RMC fund raiser 1955

As you can see, there’s only a resemblance, and a rather loose one at that, to what was built. What was really startling, however, was something else altogether — they meant to put it on the opposite end of campus, where Allen Center and it’s parking lot are now:

RMC fund raiser 1955 3

And here’s the text:

RMC fund raiser 1955 2

As some of you might know, the building was meant to house some of the (rudimentary by today’s standards) student life functions that had been located in either Autry House  or the basement of Fondren. There was quite a bit of grumbling when it opened about how far away the new RMC was from both the dorms and from Autry House and I wonder why the powers-that-be changed their minds.

Just for fun, here are some RMC construction photos that I found among Joseph Davies’s slides. First, the uncharacteristically blurry groundbreaking:

JI Davies blurry groundbreaking RMC

There are also a couple that he took from the new Biology Building across the street, which seems to have still been under construction also:

JI Davies construction through bars 60s

JI Davies RMC construction

Note: I’m taking the day off tomorrow for Good Friday. I’ll be back next week.


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2 Responses to A Change of Mind, 1955

  1. The Rice Thresher (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 45, No. 1, Ed. 1 Thursday, September 12, 1957, mentions the site change, but not why. Probably the decision was made over the summer as a result of the plans enlarging several times in 1956 and there not being enough space in the Allen Center location. That’s my guess. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth231061/m1/1/?q=Memorial%20Center

    • I agree with Marty, the present facility would not have fit in the original location. The original plan did not include Sammy’s, which significantly increased both the size and the flexibility of the facility. It is interesting to see how many of the elements of the original plan ended up in the final design.

      I really appreciate the foresight of those who drove this plan from a vision to the reality. The RMC and the activities there formed a great deal of my experience at Rice.

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