A couple weeks ago one of my colleagues in the Woodson was using the Teas Nursery Collection and found this very old picture of the Italian cypresses nicely accessorized with those pots that used to inhabit the quad area. It’s bit scraggly but an interesting look:
There were more shots of the campus in the file and one of them immediately grabbed my attention. Here ladies and gentlemen is an image of Gate Number 2, the least loved and by far the least photographed of all the early gates. (Gate Number 3 was the heavily used dormitory gate and the main gate was, well, the main gate.) I did a pretty thorough search and couldn’t find another picture of it anywhere.
It’s a view so rare that it took me a moment to understand what it was. Notice that pyramid shaped blob behind the man? It’s a very big shrub, seen here in another shot, this one taken on the day of General Pershing’s visit in 1920:
When I saw the shrub again in the Teas photo my unthinking reaction was that we were looking at it through the main gate. On only an instant’s reflection it’s clear that this is impossible–the Administration Building is missing.
I’d been meaning to go out to the front of campus for other reasons so I grabbed my camera and headed over there just to make sure I had this right. I did. Here’s the same angle today:
I noticed some other interesting things while I was wandering around out there, which I will get to directly.
Two thoughts on the 1920 picture on the day of the General Pershing visit: It’s amazing that there are over 80 automobiles parked there just a mere 20 years following when only horse and buggy would have been available as transportation. Secondly, it is surprising to see how thin all the men are. Compare their waistlines to any contemporary crowd of men wearing suits.
I noticed some newish markers on trees out there and wondered about them. Not sure if that will be one of your interesting things or not.
Automobiles were not that unusual in large cities by 1900. Mass production of a sort was well underway by 1905. Someday I will take the time to identify the cars in the photo; many of them but by no means all are Model T Fords of various vintage. But over on the far right, top, the odd looking diagonally-beaked car is probably an air-cooled 1919 Franklin.