I ran across this undated photo a little while ago and I was so interested in the area behind the gym and around the old stadium that I failed to notice it had been taken on a game day. Look how full the parking lot is! My initial wild guess is it’s probably early ’70s, based entirely on the presence of the two “temporary” Howard Barnstone buildings for the Institute of the Arts:
Later I remembered I have another undated game day photo, this one of the old stadium. This iteration was quite short-lived, lasting only from 1938 to 1949, so this has to have been taken in there somewhere. I’m struggling to find a way to get a better date but I find myself thwarted at every turn. The additions to the old field house were there during that entire period, as was the footbridge across Harris Gully. Even that little wooden building hiding in the trees at right, which held handball courts, managed to hang on to existence all that time. If you can do better, let me know.
Just for fun here’s another game day picture. This one, though, has a date: November 11, 1921. We were playing A&M and it ended in a 7-7 tie.
Bonus: This was attached to the based of Willy’s statue this morning. No candy for me, alas, but I always appreciate recognition of my awesomeness.
The original Hanszen College commons is visible in the HRS photo. If I recall, the original commons was destroyed by fire in 1976.
That has to be the replacement commons, as there are too many confirmed clues now, beyond the year of the rebuild.
I was going to add that the flood remediation channel, east of the gym, was added after the 6/15/76 flood as an early delimiter, but the move of the baseball field and the two practice gyms were years later.
I wonder if that was Super Bowl VIII. There is a big white tent next to the stadium. Lined up along the curb are trucks and buses. The trucks could be for TV broadcast. The intramural soccer fields have that scabby winter look that I remember.
Probably not the Super Bowl. This Chronicle photo shows that lot just full of buses.
Hardly anybody in the upper deck and lots of empty spaces in Greenbrier lot and also on campus side of stadium. Couldn’t have been a big game.
The location of the baseball field suggests to me that the top photo could not be be that early–I believe the baseball field was behind the tennis courts through the early ’80s.
Baseball field is behind Jake Hess Tennis Stadium. Courts next to Wiess were for regular non-tournament use.
In the early 1970s, the baseball field was near Wiess College so this photo is later than that era.
Yes, that’s right. The baseball field moved over there in 1978.
And the police station was built in 1983, so it the picture has to have been taken between 1978 and 1983.
The gym was enlarged in 1979 (per Stephen Fox’s Campus Guide) to the size you see in the photo. New basketball/volleyball courts were added on either side of the pool. So this is no earlier than 1979.
And now that I look more closely, I think see the tall light poles around Cameron Field. I know the lights were added while I was an undergrad (Fall ’81 through Spring ’85), but I can’t be sure of the year. I just remember attending the first night game after the lights were installed.
Ooh, that’s really good, James. So then we’d be 1981 or 1982.
Maybe. I’m pretty sure the lights were added after my Freshman year. I’ll ask around.
The white-roofed shed with enclosed yard between the Media Center and Jake Hess – was that the recycling center?
That’s a good guess. Looking closely at the building it appears that the left (from this perspective) two thirds of the roof covers building and the right third covers the porch, which is the configuration I remember. It looks so close on the photo but seemed so far from the core of campus back then.
If that’s ’81 or ’82, that means my blue and white Suburban is out there somewhere and I am in there playing electric bass with the MOB. Also means the game might have been against a SWC opponent, which generally if I remember correctly drew larger crowds.
I’m leaning toward a later (postwar) date for the older pic because there appears to be a mixture of prewar and postwar cars. However, I can’t really see them well enough to be sure.
I’d go with UH, for the number of Metro buses – who else would get to use them?
Yeah, if that’s what they are. Might have been some kind of park and ride. They look like early 80s buses. Also UH would have drawn a biggish crowd.
At least one of the buses on the east side, where the Beer-Bike bleachers would have been, is in Metro livery.
I wonder if we can further narrow this with buildings in the Village?
That is a very sparse crowd on the Rice side, for a SWC game in good weather.
The opposing audience might be largely on the east side, and invisible in this shot.
The UH game in ’81 was 11/28.
Weather Underground says there was no rain at Hobby that day, with a high of 71 and low of 64.
Rice was 4-7 and Houston 7-4-1 that year.
If this is ’81 or ’82 why are there no rugby goalposts directly across from the Gym? That is the field we played on then.
The middle picture – sell out crowd, with more coming in.
It would appear that the visitors have a lot of white, or another light color, but why is the team on the home side bench wearing white and the team on the visiting side bench the darker color?
Where’s the band?
Are they in the bleachers in the end zone closest to the camera?
Who might the dozen or so people walking in front of the bleachers be?
How often did they put in the extra seats on the track?
There appear to be 3 or 4 white-clad yell leaders in front of the white-clad fans, but they are the only cheer leaders I can find.
Update: I was told that the lights at Cameron Field were first used in the spring of my Senior year at Rice, so 1985. Also, a Rice alum who graduated in 1990 and then worked for the campus police for a few years says that the current police station was built in 1988. So that would place the first photo in the 1985 to 1988 timeframe. (Note that the source of the police station info was also the subject of the thank you note written by Dennis Huston after the October 1994 flood …)
That would correspond to my memory about two other details.
A. The Beer Bike track appears to be on the west side of the stadium. You can see it painted on the asphalt. In the early 80s Beer Bike was east of the stadium for some reason.
B. The rugby field I mentioned above. We were moved from just across the street from the Gym to the north up by the Pocket Prairie in ’83 or ’84.
Ah, yes … the first Beer Bike on the west side of the stadium was my Senior year, Spring 1985.
F&E’s timeline of buildings shows the RPD/Post Office building as opening in ’87.
As I’m finding with any of this data, YMMV (OED says singular use for mass data is ok).
Another data point – the weight room addition to the west end of the locker rooms does not appear to be present in this photo. Coach says that facility opened in Spring ’86.
There is no visible sign of site prep for either facility.
So maybe fall of ’84? Yes, I remember that RUPD was still in AbLab in ’86/87. I briefly dated someone who worked there at that time.
Cameron Field lights weren’t in place until Spring 1985, so the photo is Fall of ’85 at the earliest.
I sometimes wonder if I missed my calling and should have gone into history… the conversation in the Comments above is fascinating to me!