The first thing I put my hand on when I got back on campus today was something I’d never seen before, an article recounting Dr. Lovett’s delivery of Rice’s request for a paved boulevard that would connect the Institute to the rest of the city:
This was really important. The lack of a paved road out to campus was a fairly major hindrance to the growth of the school and also of its ability to contribute to the larger Houston community. Here’s a shot of the dirt road Main Street just outside Gate 1, facing downtown, in 1912:
It looks relatively benign, I suppose, but you know what Houston weather is like. This is group of students trying to figure out how to get Norman Ricker’s car out of the Main Street mud in about 1914:
The project was approved and $100,000 of city money was allocated to build a boulevard 120 feet wide to the Institute and even well beyond. By June of 1916 one side was open as far as Rice’s main gate and many of the people who showed up for the first commencement came partly for the thrill of a smooth car ride out to campus.
If I correctly remember my Rice Business Manager records, there might be more to say about this. That 120 foot number rings a bell . . . so hang on.
Bonus: I got back from my ski trip in time to make sure I catch all of pollen season.
I’m still trying to get it together after vacation. If I owe you an email, it’s coming!
Mr. Ricker’s family must have had some money because that is probably a 1913-1914 Cadillac.