The Find of the Year

I know it’s only the end of March but I’m going to go ahead and call it. If something better than this turns up we’re going to need to install a fainting couch in the back room.

I was looking for something in a box of R Association things and after I found it I was just checking out what else might be in there. There were a couple of things of moderate interest and then there was a file that contained a big envelope that was labeled “negatives.” This is something I would ordinarily avoid like the plague–it can mean nothing but pain. A label like that was surely put there many years ago by someone who had simply given up. The envelope was almost certainly full of problematic unlabeled and unidentifiable miscellany and in an awkward format to boot. Nothing but trouble.

So I opened it.

The first thing I noticed was the biggest thing in the box. And I immediately saw that it’s not a negative at all but rather positive film. But before I could even issue a snort of derision I saw what it was: an aerial shot of Harris Gully in mid-enclosure!

New aerial positive film 1950 stadium construction

I realize that the subject was supposed to be the stadium construction but there are probably hundreds of images of that. It’s the gully that’s remarkable. Blow it up and you can see that the far portion closest to Main Street is already covered and that the part closest to Rice Boulevard is in process. The middle, though, is still uncovered and would stay that way until the middle of the 1950s. I have no idea why.

And while you’re looking around, check out the gym. If you’re alert you’ll notice it’s not there. It was built at roughly the same time as the stadium but without the same need for speed. The buildings that are sitting where the gym would soon be seem to be what’s left  of these:



The only other glimpse of those stables and sheds I’ve found was in this aerial taken in 1931:


Bonus: No time to lose.


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6 Responses to The Find of the Year

  1. Richard Schafer (Lovett '73) says:

    What a spectacular picture. The only thing I can imagine topping that would be a copy of the movies taken at the Opening.

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    Yes, it would have to be something amazing indeed. I wish you could have seen me when I found it. I was jumping around like a maniac–you would have laughed.

  3. George Webb '88, '91 says:

    It’s also an awesome view of the old football stadium, and also of old Wiess College (then Wiess Hall) — minus the commons and before the middle wing was extended.

  4. Matt Noall says:

    The Harris gully clears up why the water flows the way it does in heavy rains. A very interesting picture. Might be interesting to compare that with pictures of flooding on campus. Probably none from that angle, though, or even any aerials.

  5. effegee says:

    Any idea when Harris Gully was covered up in Southampton ? It appears to be there in the 1931 aerial and 1940-something Google Earth historical but not in the construction photo. It appears it was simply buried in Southampton rather than channeled like Rice and points downstream. According to Phil Bedient, the watershed goes all the way to the vicinity of Kirby and Westheimer.

  6. Pingback: Tony’s Stable, 1928 | Rice History Corner

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