Harris Bayou, 1911-1917

I got several emails last night and this morning from people who were agog over yesterday’s picture of Harris Bayou. So just for fun here are a few more. Some of them I’ve used in the long ago past but I’ve gotten quite a few new readers since then and there are a couple of new ones here too for you old timers.

The main reason that pictures got taken in this area was because it was occasionally full of water, sometimes to an alarming degree. This one, taken in April 1912, is the best example of Harris Bayou engorged. It’s impressive:

This is what happened when the rain stopped falling. The photographer was standing on the Main Street bridge looking up campus:

Here is one of our first pitiful attempts to control this force. The drains, incidentally, had been installed before the above photos were taken:

This next one was taken after an earlier flood in February 1911, which is what prompted the installation of the drains in the first place. It’s looking towards the northwest, also from the general area of Main Street. It looks kind of nice, I think, very serene:

I can’t resist one that doesn’t show the bayou but does make clear what a big problem it could be. This picture was taken all the way across campus, almost as far away from the gully as you could get and still be at Rice, from the northeast side of the Mech Lab construction site looking towards the main entrance. It’s from the same rain storm that produced the photo directly above. There was water pretty nearly the whole way in between:

And finally my favorite, a page from the 1917 Campanile with an image taken on a calmer day that shows the wild treasure that once lived here:

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6 Responses to Harris Bayou, 1911-1917

  1. Bob Swanson says:

    Who you callin’ “old timer”?

    Can I get a hurrumph?

  2. Galloway Hudson - Wiess '60 says:

    William Marsh Rice’s rice marsh has a long and distinctive history. Thanks for these photos.

  3. Texas SPQ says:

    These pictures are amazing, especially the last photo. It would have been lovely to have a natural water feature on the campus. Too bad the approach was to cover it.

  4. I can still remember the unique smell of the Rice Campus during the rainy season. It was the smell of decaying vegetation — a swamp smell. I mentioned it at one point in my book.

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