Groundbreaking for the R Room, 1971

As usual I found this great picture while I was looking for something else:


My first reaction was simple bliss. Not only is it fully labeled and dated, it also features a fantastic lineup of Rice personages.

My second reaction involves the structure behind them. What exactly was that? It looks pretty rough.

If you have time to waste zoom in and check out the RC can in the kid’s hand. I’d forgotten about those pull tabs!

Bonus: The Rice bee hive has been very productive. And also delicious. My fingers are still sticky.



Nancy is the best. It’s just that simple.


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18 Responses to Groundbreaking for the R Room, 1971

  1. CH says:

    The lettering on the photo is beautiful.

    • Lou Ann Montana says:

      It is indeed beautiful! It reminds me of Dr. James Sims’s writing. I was fortunate to be a Civil Engineering major during his tenure at Rice.

  2. almadenmike says:

    I believe that the simple structure behind the groundbreaking celebrants contained some restrooms and, perhaps, a couple of storage or other service offices or such. The upper part of this structure can be seen in the background of this photo — — which appeared in the Sept. 17, 2013, edition of Rice History Corner.

  3. Melinda Clark says:

    Sorry, but I am not seeing it in that photo. Where should I be looking?

  4. almadenmike says:

    The building I was referring to is deep in shadows, but is visible beneath and on either side of the scoreboard. Another, clearer, view is in this 1970 photo that was in the Feb.3, 2011, Rice History Corner: . It’s left and right sides are made of brick. I believe the center portion is where the groundbreaking was held. I do notice now, however, that the window pattern in the 1970 photo does not appear to match exactly that seen in the 1971 groundbreaking photo … so I could be mistaken.

  5. almadenmike says:

    Also, a photo that looks like it would have been taken by the photographer in the lower-right of the groundbreaking picture above appears on page 2 of the Dec. 2, 1971, Thresher (credited to Kelly Hill;

  6. Was this the former ROTC building? As I remember the Rice “Police Department” was in a similar building nearby.

  7. Steve Lukingbeal says:

    The third person from the right is Augie Erfurth who coached the track team to a Southwest Conference championship earlier that year. He later replaced Red Bale (who is partially blocking his face) as Athletic Director.

    Certainly there are some additional faces in that photo which people recognize.

  8. David Frels says:

    Look at the logo on the shirt of the kid holding the RC can. It looks like the Owl wings symbol you make with your hands.

  9. joni says:

    I may be way off, but on first glance, I thought the groundbreaking was just below where the R Room rises above the stadium and the older building is on the first level of the stadium, where there have sporadically been offices, the stadium store, and even an entrance (through one of the old doors seen) that went up internal stairs to the R Room, as opposed to the better known outside concrete stairs that go up to the higher level of the R Room on both sides. The other picture in the link of the scoreboard and small building seems to me to be at the other end of the stadium opposite the R Room.

    • almadenmike says:

      Ack! You’re correct, Joni. The 1970 photo I linked to is of the wrong end, the north side (no tunnel). Mea culpa. The groundbreaking would have been in front of the sounth-end building that was barely visible in that photo used in the Sept 17, 2013, post.

  10. From the 1950 UT vs Rice game. The building did contain the restrooms that are still there plus some offices and storage (the football offices were added with the R Room. The small building at the north end was for supplying the concession vendors who used to walk the stadium.

  11. JD Miner says:

    Not only is that kid holding a RC Cola can with a pop top, but he is also wearing an iconic fashion piece from the early 70’s… A classic “Hang Ten” Tee Shirt. I had quite a few of those back in the day myself.

  12. Buddy Chuoke '75 says:

    Interesting how (Rice) people look at the same picture and come away with different observations. A few responders focused on the building, a couple were intrigued with the RC can, and one mentioned the people in the photo. What I take away is vestiges of a bygone era in the Rice football program. Coach Bill Peterson had been lured away from his head coach job at Florida State, now a perennial national power, to take what was then considered a better job at Rice. Can’t conceive of a similar scenario playing out that way ever again.

  13. grungy1973 says:

    Someone had to chip through the concrete of the concourse to reveal ground (dirt) to be broken.
    The building in the background also included a door leading to the stairs down to the tunnel.

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