“Houston football stadium built 25 feet below ground,” 1951

I know a lot of you have probably been wondering when I’d have another post about campus drainage. Well, I’m happy to report that today is the day. This one is a doozy too. I stumbled across a 1951 issue of a publication that I was heretofore unaware of: The Highway Magazine. This was published by Armco Drainage and Metal Products, which seemed to specialize in culverts, flumes, and other specialized drainage equipment. These aren’t exciting to most people but they are exceptionally useful. It turns out that Armco provided much of the expertise and material for the complicated project of draining Rice Stadium and there’s a nice article about the problems that arose building something that big below ground in Houston, Texas:

Warning: There may well be more to be mined in this vein.

Bonus: There are always a lot of construction and maintenance projects over the summer but I’ve never seen anything like the mass of workers in this picture that a loyal reader sent in. It almost looks like an evacuation–they’re usually moving.


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7 Responses to “Houston football stadium built 25 feet below ground,” 1951

  1. C Kelly says:

    Hmm. At first I thought that was the MOB surreptitiously practicing a new, outlandish half-time show involving outre instruments and uniforms — something to get the 2018 season to a good start.

  2. dnorton2015 says:

    Thanks for finding this article. What an interesting description of how to get a big hole to stay dry in Houston!

  3. I’m looking forward to the article on how Sewall Hall is dewatered next! Get the plant folks to give you a tour of the pump room and lower sump.

    • grungy1973 says:

      Oh, please do.
      I’d like to join you for that, if you go.
      Sump Pump 10 is the lowest point on campus (a floor and a half below “first” floor Sewall).

  4. Jim Walzel says:

    Melissa, this is an old story which I am sure you have heard many times, but it is a favorite of mine!
    Brown & Root was building the stadium. George Brown was asked if the stadium would be ready for the opening game. His response, ” Is that an afternoon or night game?”

  5. ed ulrich says:

    Actually have the the stadium drawings on my desk. We needed them to design the North Stands Improvements. I often wondered about the construction since it was before the wide spread use of soil mechanics and foundation engineering. Clearly a monumental engagement.!!!!

  6. Suzy Rhodes Casey says:

    Having been “born and raised” in a tiny
    house at the corner of Morningside Drive and Dunstan Road, the building of the stadium was great amusement for that summer. After it was built and in use, my sister and I “sold” parking places on our lawn on game days for a dollar! When it rained hard (it ALWAYS rained hard), the ditches along Morningside Drive filled up with water, then crayfish, which my father boiled and we greedily consumed! Suzy Rhodes Casey

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