Stockton Axson, Reckless Driver

This afternoon just by chance I found myself holding the first issue of Rice News, one of my favorite Rice publications of all times. It’s only online now so I don’t look at it very often but when it still came out in print I read it religiously, cover to cover, for its news of what my colleagues were up to and the schedule of campus lectures.

The first issue was published after commencement in 1991, which was celebrated as the centennial of the charter. Part of the festivities was an alumni panel that turned up a very interesting nugget, courtesy of retired English professor George Williams, ’23. I’ve talked quite bit about the parking lot that ran right up against the administration building for decades but I’d never stopped to consider that this created the potential for mayhem:

New Stockton Axson reckless driver Rice News 1991

As soon as I read this I stood up, walked out of the library, and headed for the cornerstone. Sure enough, there’s a nice nick taken out of one edge:

Nicked cornerstone August 2015

Curiously, one of the few pictures we have of the perpetrator shows him waiting for a trolley. Might not be a coincidence.

Turnbull For Whites Only



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4 Responses to Stockton Axson, Reckless Driver

  1. mjthannisch says:

    Only three pedals? I bet there was a dimmer switch and starter down there too.

  2. marmer01 says:

    Depends. The Ford Model T had three pedals: transmission, reverse, and a rudimentary brake, with the throttle controlled by a hand lever. Many other cars had control layouts that we would recognize today with the accelerator, brake and clutch approximately in their modern positions. Other cars placed the accelerator between the brake and clutch. I can absolutely believe that pedal confusion would lead to a lot of problems, especially since the Ford was so common and so unique in its controls. Of course we don’t know if Axson had a Ford (although it’s a reasonable guess during this period) but exposure to the Ford might have spoiled him for other cars. Then too, most people hadn’t ever driven very much to begin with anyway.

    • mjthannisch says:

      You’re right. Somethings didn’t get standardised until 1955. My 1952 Packard Clipper had an automatic trans. The shift patern was N R D L P. I noted a Dodger from the same year: R N L P D. You just have to wander how many accidents that may have caused.

  3. marmer01 says:

    Yes, the early automatic transmissions did not have a standard sequence. (ba-dum-pssh)

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