I’ve used this photo once or twice here before. (Check out this one, about the path through the empty lot across Rice Boulevard from the Mech Lab.) It came out of some papers from Jim Sims ’41 and it’s a nice, clear image of the campus–but it was undated. The best approximation I could come up with was circa late 1930s. It’s a useful image with one interesting puzzle–all that disturbed ground over on the far north side along Sunset. Probably, I thought, one of those things that’s just lost to time.
It turns out that I was right about the dating but wrong about the insolubility of the puzzle. Reading through the 1939 volume of the Thresher yesterday I came across this little tidbit:
Well, this is just delightful, isn’t it? 10,00 truckloads of dirt, from the construction of the midtown Sears building, the future home of the Rice innovation district’s Ion.
Here’s Lake Lovett sometime in the ’20s:
And of course the problem wasn’t actually solved by the fill dirt, although it did help quite a bit. The joke didn’t disappear either.
Bonus: I recently saw the second snake I’ve ever encountered on campus, roughly in the same place I saw the first.