I spent a completely unjustifiable amount of time this afternoon digging through piles of bids, contracts, specs and change orders for the construction of the Mech Lab and power plant in 1910-11. I was down so far in the weeds I needed a machete to get out. Pointless? Probably. But life is short and I was enjoying myself. I’d only ever glanced at this material in the past and this time it made a lot more sense.
This was the find of the day:
At first I was stumped by “tree vases” then I realized that these are the pots that I love so much. The square ones, like the one visible right next to the Physics Building, must have been just regular old tree vases:
And the fancy ones that people liked to pose with have to be the special tree vases:
Two things about the order were arresting. First, Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson went to the trouble to design tree vases for the campus—that’s a pretty small detail but they went so far as to design a Rice automobile pennant, so probably not so surprising. Second, the contractor charged with executing the design was Oswald Lassig, the stone carver responsible for the decoration of the early buildings. (I realized today that I’ve never written about him here. I’ll remedy that as soon as I can.)
It reminded me of another photograph I scanned quite some time ago but never found a use for. This is the front of Wiess House, undated. On the back it says only “Lions by Lassig.” I wonder what happened to them.
Bonus: I don’t know what this is.
Corrections Are Issued: Thanks to the estimable Stephen Fox, I now know that that is not in fact Wiess House but rather the estate of Commodore Perry in Austin. (The lions are still by Lassig.) The Rice History Corner regrets, but is not particularly surprised by, the error.