Two Postcards of Rice Stadium and One Little Kid

I recently came across a beautiful postcard I’d never seen before, this one showing the old football stadium and the west end of campus. This is actually what I think of as the New Old Stadium, built in 1938 to handle the growing crowds at Owl football games. (A really good view of the Old Old Stadium, which was a significant expansion of the original stands, is here.)

Have a look:

(Note that the photo from which it was made was taken by Bob Bailey, whose archives it pains me to say are held at the Briscoe Center at the University of Texas.)

There’s a lot to look at here–the other side of Main Street is especially interesting–but what I feel like thinking about today is the long hedge that leads from the dorms, across the footbridge over Harris Gully, and to the stadium. It was a double privet hedge and as you can see it grew over to form a tunnel. It was there for a really long time, surviving the 1950 covering of the gully for at least six years. You can still see it clearly in this aerial shot taken on July 3, 1956, although it was beginning to look a bit bedraggled:

So when was it planted? It looks like just a bare path in this 1921 photo from the Flying Owls collection, but it’s not clear enough to tell for sure if there are little plants there:

The earliest image I’ve found is from just a bit later, early 1923, and they’re already thriving, as is the little kid, who would grow up to be Rice’s Dean of Undergraduates, Katherine Tsanoff Brown:

Bonus: A somewhat less interesting view, roughly contemporaneous, facing the other side.

Extra Bonus: One more postcard, this time the current stadium, undated. That’s pretty full house. Anybody have a guess?

Rice Institute football stadium aerial view postcard

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16 Responses to Two Postcards of Rice Stadium and One Little Kid

  1. Michael Bludworth says:

    Ooooo….”The Flying Owls”! Tell me more, Melissa! I can’t make out the Rice Aviation Grounds in your aerial, but I know they’re there! Was this a “flying club” at Rice?

    • Melissa Kean says:

      The Flying Owls were two 1920 Rice grads who flew in WWI. One day in 1921 they flew over campus and took about a dozen pictures, which were collected in a little booklet called “Rice Institute From the Air.” The Rice Historical reproduced this booklet a while back and we may still have some copies, although we’ve been doing a clean up lately. If you’d like one, let me know and I’ll check.

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    How can I see it?

  3. William Johnson '57 & '58 says:

    My guess if the Texas A&M game in November 1956. I had quit the MOB to earn some money and Hank Coors and I really sold seat cushions that day even with the aggies standing. I believe that they were $0.50 each and we had to pick them up after the game. It was a sold out stadium.

    • grungy1973 says:

      The final image is of the 1960 Bluebonnet Bowl – UT vs Alabama.

      • Mike Ross says:

        That makes sense, Grungy. There is a gaggle of burnt orange clad folks that appear to be filing down onto the field from the stands in the southeast corner of the stadium. The Longhorn Band, perhaps?

        If it were a UT vs. Rice game, the UT band would have been in the northeast stands, right?

        • grungy1973 says:

          The LHB would have been in roughly the same place for a game vs Rice.
          The reason I know it’s the Bluebonnet Bowl is that I have the same postcard, and it’s labeled as such on the other side.

  4. James Medford says:

    The double privet hedge running out to the old stadium would have been removed before construction could begin on the Hanszen New Section in 1957, the same New Section that has just been replaced by the new New Section.

  5. Grungy1973 says:

    Have yet to see an(y) image of what is behind the red brick facade of the west side of the old stadium, or the interior of the Field House.

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