It’s pretty quiet around here right now and with time on my hands I somehow found myself leafing through the 1940 Campanile, hoping for a photograph of Cohen House around the time our predecessors acquired the radio/phonograph they inaugurated at the 1940 Christmas party. I didn’t really expect to find one and I didn’t but unexpectedly came upon a nice image taken from the back patio towards Hermann Hospital:
Then I remembered that I had taken a picture from roughly the same spot just a few weeks ago, which seemed to be an easy opportunity for a marginally interesting blog post:
But as I looked more carefully at this picture I began to think about those big oaks out the window. And specifically I recalled something I’d noticed in one of the pictures of the Rice aviation field that Story Sloane graciously allowed me to use a few weeks ago. In the open field left of the Administration Building you can see two clusters of small trees that I’d never noticed before. Might the group closest to the left edge be what we see out the back windows?
I think it is. This next image shows the area after Cohen House was built. It’s dated 1931 and you can get a good look at the orientation of those two clusters, with one just off the back corner of the hedge:
It’s even clearer in this 1956 aerial, but with the addition of what looks to be a double line on oaks along the side of Cohen House where there used to be a small driveway and parking area:
One more, post-Cohen House addition, circa 1967:
So now that I’m convinced I can’t help but wonder how long those trees have been there. The Story Sloane picture looks to be from 1924, but could they have been on campus from the beginning?
Nope. This was taken in 1920 and they’re not there:
Bonus: Improbably, both clusters survive. The other one is now wedged in between Allen Center and the parking garage/Cambridge Building.
Extra Bonus: This is what’s left of that double line of oaks along the west side of Cohen House, which has been largely squeezed out by the loading dock addition on one side and Allen Center on the other.