Several weeks ago I began work on a major collaborative project with the Houston Metropolitan Research Center in the Julia Ideson Building downtown. (The HMRC is the archival branch of the Houston Public Library and its website is here. Take look if you’re not familiar with it or even if you are. If you have any interest in the history of Houston, this is the place for you.) It is truly a privilege to work with this magnificent collection and it’s also delightful to work alongside such a devoted and friendly staff. I will be occupied with this project for quite some time (and I’ll have more to say about it later) but I will remain faithfully at my post in Fondren on the usual irregular basis.
What I’m working on isn’t focused specifically on Rice but I’ve already come across more images of campus than I can easily handle. Many of these images are exactly the views that are most interesting to me at this point–pictures of something else that incidentally capture the edges of the university. What I’m going to show you today came out of an envelope in the Houston Post Photographic collection. This collection was painstakingly inventoried over a number of years by a volunteer who name I don’t know but this particular envelope was labeled only with the date (1957) and “unidentified intersection, football stadium.” I, of course, couldn’t stop myself from looking at this.
The first picture looks almost familiar:
It was the second one that let me place it. That’s Emanu El peeking out at lower right, so this is the wonky intersection of Rice Boulevard and Sunset and Mandell:
Which means that’s Rice at the bottom of this one:
But what ho! This next one is absolutely delicious–it’s the back side of everything! Swooning, I am.
Zoom in on them. There’s more here than I can discuss right now but feel free to have at it if you’d like. But why were they even taken? I’m not sure but I suspect it was the groundbreaking for the First Christian Church that now sits on that site.
Well, there is one thing I can’t resist mentioning. See the path that cuts straight across the middle of the church property? We’ve talked about that before!
Well, also at the front of my mind recently has been the radio antenna by Abercrombie. Interestingly, it’s not here even though the first pictures I’ve seen from on top of it also were taken in 1957.
Ok, that’s it. For now.
I have to go up to College Station tomorrow so I’ll be back here Monday.
Bonus: That intersection has been weird from the beginning. Here’s a map of all the real estate swaps that had to take place way back in 1923 to get it in place. Note the “Chas Weber” parcel at top left. We’ve talked about him before too.
Extra Bonus: You didn’t think I forgot about the football stadium, did you?