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.
Hmm, black buildings in Houston. I can’t think of any possible problems.
Pennzoil Place says “It’s no big deal.”
I was developing film at the Media Center in 1980. How much insulation did they add before they painted it black?
The Moody Center is pending LEED certification. How much of that savings are burned by painting the quonset hut buildings black?
Lol I’ll ask!
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.)
Maybe the Packard boys were the same ones who owned the planes. Probably were.
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.
On p. 410 of his 1953 book, “The Spirit of St. Louis” (https://books.google.com/books?id=1NgGzzsR74cC&pg=PA410&lpg=PA410), 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?
The flight described in this Jan 17, 1928, newspaper article (https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/61252482/) would seem to be the same one said here to have occurred in March 1924 (https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlc03).
That flight is described in more detail in Chapter 8 (“Lindbergh Landed Here”) of the 2010 book “History Ahead: Stories Beyond the Texas Roadside Markers” By Dan K. Utley & cynthia J. Beeman (https://books.google.com/books?id=p5ZMMkkrSZUC&pg=PA101&lpg=PA101)
But they don’t mention anything about the location of the Rice Field near Houston.
I think it’s still possible this was on campus. I can’t recall when the city limits officially encompassed Rice but for quite a long time it looked to be outside Houston. About the only thing I can do is continue to keep my eyes open for more bits of information about this. You never know . . .
The Rice Flying Club used the Main Street Airport. That was in operation before 1934 and closed in 1952.
You can rummage around this site for more “abandoned & little-known airfields”.
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.
Further corroboration of Lovett’s propensity for walking…maybe he did walk to and fro from the Rice Hotel everyday!
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