Look at This!

I found this sequence of four shots at the very end of the collection of construction negatives in William Ward Watkins’ papers. They were completely unexpected and I nearly wept when I understood what they were–the immediacy of the images and the homeliness of the task they depict felt overwhelming. I’m tearing up a bit now just thinking about it.

This day was October 8, 1914 and these men were unloading a new gas tank from a railcar and moving it onto a mule drawn wagon:

New WWW 3 89 gas tank on car Oct 8 1914

New WWW 3 90 unloading gas tank Oct 8 14

New WWW 3 91 loading on team

New WWW 3 92 gas tank on team Box 10

That’s just so good.

Bonus:

L1020892

A Little Note: I’ve got a bunch of family obligations the rest of this week–all happy ones–so I probably won’t be back until Monday. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

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4 Responses to Look at This!

  1. Workers, Mules, Wagons, Railroads and Honest Hard Work. What more can you ask for in historic photos?

  2. Rachel Dvoretzky says:

    Juxtapose these images with the installation of the Heizer 45-90-180.

  3. So was there any information on where this tank ended up? In the power plant fuel thread https://ricehistorycorner.com/2014/09/30/what-fueled-the-power-plant/ we saw cast in place concrete tanks; this one is riveted metal. In the last photo, the crew appears to be somewhere near the Physics building (Front? of Campanile in background)

    • I think the third photo is actually the last in the sequence, as they move the tank from the wagon to the ground. The fourth photo that shows the Campanile is in the same spot, shot from a slightly different angle before starting the unload. You can see the same cast iron pipe just beyond the wagon in both photos. Also, notice the German High Hat in the distant background of the third photo.

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