Rice Stadium, c1950

I’d never seen a photo taken straight on before. What an elegant structure.

New Rice stadium ground level 1950

Bonus: The big question on this blustery day was how far is the tip of the blade from the emergency phone pole. The answer was 5’1″. It must have been enough because when I came back a couple of hours later they were gone.


I was the only one who had enough hair to get blown around.

2015-10-26 13.09.13



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15 Responses to Rice Stadium, c1950

  1. marmer01 says:

    Yes, they ran the engine for well over an hour before they took off, and spun the rotor for thirty minutes or so. They cleared the roof of Hirsch Orchestra Rehearsal Hall by what looked like fifty feet from the ground. Very exciting. Left to right: Staff Sergeant, Specialist, Warrant Officer 2nd Class, Historian First Class, First Lieutenant. I wonder why their flag patches are reversed. There must be some reason.

  2. marmer01 says:

    I googled it. On the right shoulder the blue field is to the front because the flag is always flown with the blue nearest the flagpole and the stripes behind.

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

      I have been told (by a not unimpeachable source, however) that the flag standard — and the attached flag — are depicted as always charging forward: NO retreat.
      Therefore, the blue field faces forward, as does the military person, and the stripes stream out behind.
      Good story, doncha think?

      My question is, did they land it before knowing that distance?

      • Melissa Kean says:

        I asked them why they put it down there (and what you can’t really see here is that there was a tree 5′ away on the other side) and they just said that’s where they were told to land it, so they did. I nearly swooned.

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

    P.S., Re. the stadium.
    Did all y’all — that is correct Suthrun, btw — hear the scuttlebutt about the stands having been built without columns, as they weren’t needed. But they had to be added later because people were squeamish about the stability of the structure.
    I think I once asked Jack McGinty, Institute Architect Class of 1956-7, if that story were true (I just love that subjunctive) about his father’s designing it that way. But Jack either evaded the question or I have forgotten the answer.
    (Either possibility is a definite possibility.)
    [Do 2 possibilities make a probability?]

  4. Bill Johnson '57, '58 says:

    In about 1957or 58, as a project in a class of Structural Concrete, I was assigned by Dr. Jim Sims, to go to the offices of Walter Moore.(a Rice Grad and his son was also, Walter Moore Jr, ’58-59) to see if the last two columns were within code. I met a very attractive, blond lady and made the mistake that she was just the secretary. She had designed the columns and yes the last column on the outside, the tallest and longest unsupported ones, were not within code. They were too slender and the L/R ratio was outside the limits. From this personnel investigation, I have no doubts that all columns were in the original design.

  5. Richard Schafer says:

    Why were they there?

  6. Bill Johnson '57, '58 says:

    As I recall there are four columns from the ground floor to the underside of the upper seats.and to the ends of the seating., These columns hold up a portion of the upper seats. They do not have to take much wind (lateral) load since the brick portion of the stadium is very substantial and would take all of these lateral loads. This is the same as having a very substantial center core in buildings for elevators and stairwells. Then the columns on the outside of the core can be designed for only vertical loads. Without these columns, there would have to be very heavy beams to cantilever this portion of the upper deck.

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

      Thanks for your reply. That information may explain the origin of the ‘missing columns’ myth. How was the error corrected — if indeed it was corrected?
      What part did the office of Walter Moore play in the original design and/or construction of the stadium? Did Jack McGinty work with them in some capacity?
      I looked you up in my 1956 “Campanile”. I must admit I don’t remember you; was that your picture then, or did you have a surrogate fill in for you?
      You were a good-looking devil though. Still and all, if you do NOT submit a recent photo of yourself, I promise that I will NOT either.
      Are you a member of the FINAL Institute Class, or did you graduate from the University?

  7. mjthannisch says:

    The helicopter brings back memories. In about 1976, I was taking a night time hike near my parents house in the Sam Houston National Forest, west of New Waverly. At the junction of Old Osburn Rd and FM 1375, I found an Army Helicopter, just landed for being out of fuel. They didn’t know how lucky they were until I used my flashlight to illuminate the power lines they had landed under. They had come skimming the ground looking for a spot to land before running out of fuel. One of them went home with me to call Ft. Hood for help. I hadn’t thought about that for years, but we had several interestin talks with soldiers who used the Sam Houston National Forest to practice for Vietnam.

  8. Tommy LaVergne says:

    You and Maxwell should have had your sunglasses on! That would have made a perfect picture.

  9. Owlcop says:

    The flight was delayed due to water in the electronics. Had they not been wheels up by 1615 hours they would be there overnight. With a couple of cans of contact cleaner from RUPD they just made it.

  10. Bill Johnson '57, '58 says:

    Gene Thanks for the compliment. 1958 was still “The Institute”. I’m not sure when it changed.

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