HMRC Thursday: Tidelands, 1958-59

When I arrived at Rice in 1991 the old Tidelands Motel had been the Graduate House for some time already. A grim, ill-lighted building, it also had a weird, scruffy sort of charm. I’ve heard people talk about its early days as a fashionable place but it seemed hard to credit. This picture makes it look better than it was:

But pictures in the Houston Post photo archives at the HMRC do reveal a Tidelands that was actually–of all things–glamorous! Here, with the motel sign above them, are the Miss Photoflash contestants at the Tidelands pool in October, 1958. It doesn’t look like it was too cold:

There was a different sort of entertainment inside the building. I recently came across negatives of Jonathan Winters performing at the Tidelands in January, 1959:


Bonus: The outside of the Julia Ideson Building at the downtown library. This is where the HMRC is located. It’s a pleasure to work there.

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10 Responses to HMRC Thursday: Tidelands, 1958-59

  1. The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart was recorded at the Tidelands in 1960.

  2. Lynne (WRC ‘88) says:

    The Tidelands also rented out rooms, as available, to undergraduates. My junior year (86 to 87) I lived in there for my year off campus from Will Rice. My recollection is that it was old and seedy, with depressing 70s decor, and a strong smell of mold. I spend as little time there as possible. The silver lining to living in such an environment was that I got to be very good friends with a bunch of people at Baker that I otherwise would not have, because I spent almost all my waking hours hanging out in their rooms.

  3. Marc Hairston says:

    Back in 84 or 85 when Rice bought the Tidelands I was on the GSA council. We knew about the fact that Bob Newhart had recorded his album “The Button-Down Mind” there which was a series of one-sided monologs of him on the phone. In honor of that the GSA council voted to designate the one pay phone (remember those?) on the first floor of the newly acquired “Gradlands” the “Bob Newhart Commemorative Telephone.” We had intended to pay for a small plaque to be made and put on the wall next to it, then mail a picture of it to Newhart. Sadly, we never went through with it.

  4. Francis Eugene "Gene" Pratt, Rice Institute 1956 says:

    If I remember correctly, one of our All Time Favorite gridiron stars (Dickie Moegle — in one of the spellings of his last name — was a partner in the ownership of that motel. He was the tacklee of the infamous tackle off the bench by Tommy Lewis (?) of Alabama . Moegle held the one game Cotton Bowl rushing record for many years. His record was broken a few years ago by a man who played the whole game; Moegle sat out much of the fourth quarter; the Owls were that far ahead!
    I think one of Melissa’s old maps of the area showed it had once been a racing course and/or a children’s horse rink. What say you, Melissa.

  5. David Leeds says:

    Another item of note is that Dicky Maegle was the GM in the early 70’s.

  6. grungy1973 says:

    Thresher article about the official opening as graduate housing (my physical copy reappeared a day before Melissa posted this):

  7. marmer01 says:

    As Rachel Dvoretzky posted in FB, there was also a well-known Latin music club (Hector’s) upstairs for many years.

  8. The Tidelands was a motel when I was a Rice Student. Several of my friends (of both sexes) lost their “virginity” there.

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