Some Interesting Notes on Transportation, 1923

I was looking for something in an old Thresher yesterday and after I found it I browsed for a while, ending up quite taken with this story about how people got to school in 1923:

There are a couple of surprises in there–I never suspected McCants of being a bicyclist–but the most interesting one, even more than the risqué “cloister courses,” is the bit about the student-owned airplanes. I brought back to me the memory of this picture that was featured on the 1920 Rice Owl Calendar:

Was this on campus? It’s not impossible, although it may have been elsewhere in the immediate area. Charles Lindbergh in his 1927 autobiography, We, describes a fuel stop in the early ’20s at Rice Field but again, I’ve never been able to get satisfied that I know where this was. Any thoughts?

Bonus: Unless I’m remembering wrong, the Media Center has been painted to match the Moody.

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16 Responses to Some Interesting Notes on Transportation, 1923

  1. Hmm, black buildings in Houston. I can’t think of any possible problems.

  2. You are right that there are many interesting things there. Wish that the airplane pic would embiggen, but they look like Curtiss Jennys to me. Thousands of them were built for flight training in WWI and sold off cheaply right after the war. They were truly the Ford Model T of aviation and were the “first plane” of many a 1920s pilot. It is by no means unreasonable for a college student to with some means to have one if they were interested in flying. I also find the assertion about all the auto brands a little hard to believe unless the rich Houston boys were borrowing Daddy’s car. Cadillac, Overland, Buick, Packard? Those cost more than twice what a Model T Ford cost, and I would _not_ expect them to be owned by college students, any more than you would expect a Cadillac or Lincoln to be owned by a student today. Maybe the very occasional rich kid (like the Cullinans or Autrys.)

  3. marmer01 says:

    Maybe the Packard boys were the same ones who owned the planes. Probably were.

  4. marmer01 says:

    Also, in the 1920s, a lot of older folks were scared of automobiles, both the driving and the maintaining part. Seems quite reasonable that older faculty, who were in fact paid rather modestly as I recall, would be more comfortable with bicycles if they didn’t have too far to go.

  5. almadenmike says:

    On p. 410 of his 1953 book, “The Spirit of St. Louis” (, Lindbergh wrote: “At Rice Field, outside of Houston, we found a hangar full of surplus Army equipment. We bough three nine-gallon wing tanks …”

    So it would seem not to be on the Rice campus. Or might there have been an out building full of equipment left over from the on-campus WWI training?

  6. Dale Henry says:

    Here’s a report on the “Main Street Airport”, which states the airport apparently existed before 1934. Included in the report is a copy of an advertisement of the “Rice Flying Club” from the May 30, 1946 issue of the Thresher noting the field was located one mile south of campus on Main Street.

  7. joecwhite says:

    Further corroboration of Lovett’s propensity for walking…maybe he did walk to and fro from the Rice Hotel everyday!

  8. Pingback: “This flying field was right next to the Rice fence,” 1918 | Rice History Corner

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