Neil Brennan Looks At The Chemistry Building, 1942

As I mentioned before, the reason I got so interested in Neill Brennan in the first place was the quality of the pictures he took. It’s not so much that they’re great images as images, but rather that they show glimpses of an interesting sensibility. Here’s an example of what I mean, a startling shot taken out of a lab window:

New view from chem 220 lab Neil Brennan 1941054

Looking dead straight on the cloister, there’s only one place this could have been taken from–the first floor lab on the left:

New WWW Chemistry first floor plan

While the unexpected yucca plants certainly grab your attention, that’s not what I’m interested in. What I care about is the ivy that’s visible on the side of the Chem Lecture Hall through the arch on the left. In this second photo that Brennan took from . . . where? would you say the top of the Administration Building? . . . you can clearly see that half of Lecture Hall is covered with the vines:

New Chem with ivy Neil Brennan 1941050

I first noticed those vines when I wrote this post about the Lecture Hall door over a year ago and I have been squirreling away pictures that demonstrate their history ever since, just waiting for an excuse to drag you through the whole thing. This I shall do directly.



Extra Bonus:


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6 Responses to Neil Brennan Looks At The Chemistry Building, 1942

  1. effegee says:

    That looks like the room that was used for my section of freshman chem lab in 1969-70.

    The long shot from the Administration Building shows ivy that is the unruliest that I have ever seen. I recall it confined to parts of the east wall with periodic trimmings of varying severity, including complete removal a couple of times during the years I frequented Valhalla.

  2. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

    An ivy-covered building is reportedly cooler than one that is NOT tso covered.
    That would have been important in non-AC days, including my time at Rice Institute.

    Regarding the potted plant with the digging tool:
    What do y’all call that?
    In Texas, I’ve heard it called a “sharp-shooter”. In Tenn. (yes, that’s the way we abbreviated it in the “old” days), it was called a “spade”. I’ve been told it was called something else in La.

    • almadenmike says:

      Francis — Hardware stores seem to call it a “drain spade.”

      Here are some excerpts from an article that explains its design and use:

      Though used interchangeably, the terms “shovel” and “spade” refer to very different tools. A shovel’s wide, concave blade is angled to scoop loose material while the blade of a spade extends in a straight line from the handle, designed for digging.

      A report published in 1871 by the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, Edinburgh describes the original purpose of the drain spade: digging and cleaning narrow deep ditches to drain marshy land as a way to improve it for agricultural purposes. Today, this straight, narrow spade is also called a sharp shooter because it enables you to dig deep, precisely-placed postholes for fences, to create trenches for laying pipe or wire underground and to transplant small trees and shrubs into or out of close-growing vegetation without damaging the root systems of surrounding plants.

      The blade or digging end of the drain spade consists of a long, narrow rectangle of carbon or stainless steel. Stainless steel is more expensive, but does not rust. Blade widths range from four and three-quarters to six inches, while lengths are 14 or 16 inches. The blade’s “business” end is rounded or pointed and should be sharp to improve ease of insertion when digging. …

  3. Pingback: The Ivy on the Chem Lecture Hall | Rice History Corner

  4. David Scott says:

    Looks like a support beam for the stands by the track stadium.

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