Inside the Navy ROTC Building

I’ve written about this building a couple of times before but mostly to bemoan the lack of information about it. We do know that it was built in a big hurry in the spring and summer of 1941 and designed by William Ward Watkin in a style described as “modernistic.”

Hidden behind the power plant, it was rarely photographed but here’s the outside, which I agree you’d have to call modernistic:

Naval ROTC building 1941

NROTC Building 1942

So imagine my surprise when I came across photos of the inside of the building that show it to be not just traditional but absolutely cozy. This first one was taken in the fall of 1941, just after it opened–note the wood paneling:

Inside Navy Building September 1941 004

The second one, taken in 1943 and showing the Rice Naval ROTC staff, is even more surprising. It almost looks like faux colonial. Very unexpected.

Rice Naval ROTC staff Inside Navy Building October 1943005

Bonus: We had a firetruck today!


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8 Responses to Inside the Navy ROTC Building

  1. Mark Williamson says:

    What was the occasion for the firetruck?

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    I think a fire alarm went off in Sewall. Didn’t seem to be anything serious.

  3. marmer01 says:

    Yes, there was a false fire alarm in Sewall. Something having to do with a pressure irregularity in the city water making the fire alarm system think the sprinklers were going off, or something.

  4. marmer01 says:

    Wow. Very nice, very Streamline Moderne. That interior looks like pecky cypress to me, not especially Colonial but more Southwestern. Navy installations often have extremely traditional interiors. Conservative lot, those Navy officers. Also, you get a chance to see Service Dress White, a double-breasted coat for the chiefs and the choker whites for the LCDR. Khaki as an everyday uniform, especially on shore, was still a few years off.

  5. loki_the_bubba says:

    When did we lose that building?

  6. Leoguy says:

    I can’t believe the second interior photo (with a fireplace, no less!) was taken inside the “modern” NROTC building. Are you certain of the location, Melissa?

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