“The Latest and Best of Everything,” Rice Stadium, 1950

There was a nice article about Rice Stadium in the Houston Chronicle last week, celebrating the 70th anniversary of that elegant structure. While it was being built it was the talk of the town, an exciting development for the city and not just Rice. Such was the excitement that bleachers were installed near the construction site so the curious could sit and watch the work.

Here’s a 1950 piece from the Houston Post that gives some sense of the buzz around its completion:

I got several emails about last week’s article, including a good question from loyal reader Jeff Ross:

Do you know where the dirt excavated from the Rice stadium construction was moved to? I had always heard it became the hill at Miller Outdoor theater but a Google search says the hill came from excavation of Fannin Street.

Well, I sort of know and sort of don’t know. Here’s part of a set of specs that is the only mention I’ve ever come across of what was supposed to happen to the excavated dirt:



And you can see from this image taken early in the construction that there was really quite  a large amount of soil taken out of the site:

This image shows that much of that excavated dirt was spread around campus, including a significant portion that was used to fill in around the newly buried Harris Gully:

So I think a lot of it stayed here. But over the years I’ve heard several reliable eyewitnesses talk about seeing trucks full of stadium dirt headed over to the Miller Theater site so while I don’t have proof I’m inclined to think that some of was added to the hill over there too. If you know different, please let me know.

Bonus: They don’t specify the capacity for owls. Also, I haven’t seen two people at the same time in that entire building for months.




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8 Responses to “The Latest and Best of Everything,” Rice Stadium, 1950

  1. Jim Walzel '59 says:

    I think I have shared this before, but I like the story. Someone asked George Brown if the stadium would be ready for the first game which was coming up soon. Brown’s response ” Is that an afternoon or a night game? “

  2. It’s interesting that the newspaper called it “Houston Stadium”. As contrasted with the old “Rice Stadium”. It was opened the year I was born…

  3. Michael Bludworth says:

    Good to get a date on the covering of Harris Bayou. That culvert still comes out down at Brays Bayou.

  4. Steve Lukingbeal, Hanszen ‘76 says:

    It’s interesting that most of the cost was financed by $100 and $200 a seat options on several thousand seats. That was a lot of money back then. I thought that the Houston Texans and several NFL teams were greedy to charge similar upfront rights, but when you have a football crazy fan base, that makes economic sense.

  5. grungy1973 says:

    Four of the restrooms were removed when the north end building was repurposed as the first of the Daktronics scoreboards was built over it.
    Two more, on the south end, now under the R-Room, were basically condemned and locked.
    Four on the lower West side have been made modern.
    The other twelve are pretty much the same as they were in 1950, except for adding AC.

  6. Charles says:

    “Elegant structure”? Really?

    • Grungy says:

      I’ll agree with “elegant”.
      No obstructed views.
      Never had a track, so the fans are close the field.
      Simple and functional – two of the building blocks of elegance.
      It gets the job done.
      Does this make it out-dated?
      Yes, if modern foofaraw is considered a requirement.

  7. Daniel Allan says:

    An ideal venue for the Rice Marching Band, a band without equal

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