It was a rare quiet afternoon in the Woodson today, the last day of finals. This meant–even rarer–that I had some time to simply explore, meandering through the collections just to see if anything good would turn up. After a while I found myself crouched down in the rare books stacks, leafing through old books and magazines from or about Houston. I came upon quite a few interesting things but the best was this, the 1915 City Book of Houston, which featured the Rice Administration Building on its cover:
This volume contained exactly what its cover promises: reports of all departments of the city, lots of facts and figures, and a great deal of enthusiasm about all of Houston’s progress. Roads, bridges, new fire wagons, library budgets, waste disposal, etc., etc., etc. There are also lots of photographs, including several of Rice. The top two images here aren’t really breathtaking or anything but I’m reasonably certain I’ve never seen them before. The bottom one is a drawing:
The next page is where things get weird. The top photo is new to me but mundane. But the bottom one is–what the heck? It also seems to be a drawing and one that looks like it came from some alternate reality. The reflecting pools are strange enough but I’ve seen that in other drawings. There are no Italian cypresses, which I’ve never seen omitted before. But it’s the statue at the far left that really looks odd:
All in all, it’s left me feeling rather uneasy.
Bonus: I never feel completely good about this either.