Today we have another great photo from the Bud Morehead slides, by far the best image I’ve seen of the cage where students kept the live owl mascots that we had for a while. If you squint you can see one of the owls sitting on a perch just to the right of the door:
It brought to mind something else that turned up a while ago–one of the odder pieces of correspondence in the Lovett College files:
The St. Joe Brick Works has been operating in Pearl River, La., since 1891. Rice is specifically called out as a customer in the company’s history (http://www.stjoebrickworks.com/history.html) … along with the Bell Telephone System, Texas Instruments of Dallas, The Hockaday School, Pan American University, St. Luke’s of Houston, and the Botanical Gardens at Atlanta.
When I was working on campus in the late 90’s, I found a St. Joe brick in the quad near Physics that had been unearthed during sprinkler installation or maintenance. It is now in my office.
Interesting. Die all the brick on campus come from this one factory? By condense, we just finished watching “The Last Brickmaker in America”
No. Early buildings came from other sources. If my recollection is correct, Lovett Halll was built a brickworks that labelled them “Houston”. They went out of business in the 20s or 30s. Much of the campus is St Joe brick, specifically the rose blend of St Joe brick.
The 1991 book “William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute” has a passage (pp 173-4) and note (p. 193) about the early bricks:
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While preparing specifications for the Chemistry Building, Watkin discovered that the “Brady pink” brick used in the original structures at Rice was no longer available. Sherman Brady had died in a racing car accident. His kiln had shut down and the Brady
Company was in receivership.
Watkin was anxious to find a new supply of “Brady pink” brick, if at all possible. He was helped by Tom Tellepsen, who had been awarded the contract for the Chemistry Building. Tellepsen, long a Houston general contractor, knew members of the Brady family, who assisted him in locating a one-time foreman of their brickyard, now in his eighties.
The Bradys had been well known in the Houston area for generations. Sherman Brady’s father. Colonel J.T. Brady, had been a state senator and leading businessman for many years. Sherman’s mother Lucy was the daughter of General Sidney Sherman, who commanded the left flank of Sam Houston’s army at San Jacinto. Colonel Brady operated a large brickyard on Hill Street bridge near present-day Navigation Boulevard. The clay for Brady bricks came from a deposit on Brady Island, formed by redirecting a portion of
the Ship Channel. Kilns were operated both on the island and at Navigation Boulevard locations.
With help from Sherman Brady’s sister Lucy (Mrs. W. Sperry Hunt), his widow, Chaille Jones, and others, a new supply of Brady pink was finally made available  . Construction on the Chemistry Building was delayed several months because of the problems involved, but Watkin’ s recommendation to wait on the exterior brickwork was accepted.
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2. After Sherman Brady's death, Chaille Jones Brady had married Benjamin Botts Rice, the nephew of the founder who replaced his uncle on the Rice Institute board of trustees. The Ben Rices lived just down the street from the Watkin family, at 5303 Caroline. They were a positive factor both in the search for Brady pink, and in maintaining additional support and contact within the governing board.
The key to the brick problem was John R Williams, the retired one-time foreman of the Brady brickyard. Although quite old, Williams was mentally alert and able to recall even minute details of his former responsibilities. He located a remaining deposit of the exact clay required on Brady Island, and listed from memory the minute particulars of exact temperatures and time in the baking kilns. Watkin then had to convince President Lovett and the trustees of the need to finance reopening long dormant Brady clay deposits and kilns. This he did. The result was the highly attractive match between Brady -pink brick in the new Chemistry Building and pre-World War I structures.
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(Source: http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/patrick-james-nicholson/william-ward-watkin-and-the-rice-institute-hci/page-16-william-ward-watkin-and-the-rice-institute-hci.shtml )
It appears that all of the St. Joe’s Brick did, Matt. Here’s a link to an article about the place: http://offcite.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2011/02/Cite_84_StJoeBrick_Hancock.pdf
An excerpt: “Rice University used brick from St. Joe before Pete was born in 1953 and has come to rely on St. Joe bricks for their varied, rich tones, and their handcrafted beauty, says university architect David Rodd. ‘We’ve found no comparable substitutes, and no other masonry products that come as close to the historical look of Rice’s original buildings.’ ”
This article about Duncan Hall (http://www.cs.rice.edu/~keith/DuncanHall/Exterior.html) says: “Duncan Hall is faced with St. Joe Brick (from Slidell, LA, USA). Most of the brick comes from their “rose blend”, although some of the bricks are from other formulations. (Rose blend is the most common brick used on the Rice campus.) The bricks on Duncan were water-struck rather than sand-struck, so they have a smoother face that appears more weathered than the older bricks on buildings such as Fondren Library or Rayzor Hall.”
Articles about many other buildings mention St. Joe bricks.
The brick shown in Melissa’s photo is a sand-struck brick. On the water-struck bricks, the St Joe lettering is almost completely obliterated.