A few years ago I found a stash of documents in the ARA Historical Collection relating to the construction of the 1938 version of the stadium. I scanned some of them but didn’t use them at the time. When I ran across the scans again this morning I was struck in particular by this document, which explains where the funding for the new stadium came from. There was no development department at the time (and in fact there wouldn’t be one for decades) so the people who wanted the improvements went out and raised the money themselves. Crazy, I know. This appeal is really worth reading:
This is the drawing that accompanied it:
And the completed project:
For comparison this is what it replaced:
When it was all finished they held a dinner for the Rice board and the major supporters. All the big dogs were invited and most came. Just for kicks here’s Will Rice’s acceptance note:
Bonus: Another shot courtesy of Annette Bruer Tarver ’86.
The brick wall in front of the horseshoe stands at the western end of the stadium (upper left corner of the first aerial photo) was still there when I was at Rice in the early 80s. It was removed sometime between 10 and 20 years ago (I think) when a sudden windstorm slammed some football training equipment into the wall and damaged it. The brick wall along the north stands (upper right corner of the aerial photo) was also still there in the 80s, but I don’t know when it was removed.
Once upon a time when something needed to be done in Houston the leaders went out and did it. That time is long past. Where have you gone Jesse Jones and George R. Brown? Our city turns its lonely eyes to you.
That stadium would be the perfect size for today’s attendance, too.
I like the $1.25 admission the Board charged W.M.Rice for the Dinner! Lol 1.25 can’t buy a cup of coffee today and $125. would be a typical dinner charge now. Did they really make him pay $1.25?
And yes, I agree (with Mr. Schafer) that playing football games today in the old stadium would provide more excitement than in our 68,000 seat arena; however, I also recall attending many sell-out games in the 50’s and early 60’s during the Jess Neely era! It was one decade of excitement for Rice football in the big stadium!
Also, the 5′ brick wall enveloped the entire old stadium after they removed the south side stands and the east side structure. That wall was adjacent to the track along the south side and now that 150′ area between the track and Univ. Blvd. contains long jump and pole vault pits and room for tents for track meets; it’s a beautiful arena.