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A Walk Through Houston's History - Part 3

A cache by Texas Bandits Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 10/29/2014
3 out of 5
1 out of 5

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Geocache Description:

A Walk Through Houston's History - Part 3

Welcome to the Julia Ideson Building, the past home of Houston's main library and current home of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center.
Below is an excerpt taken from their Welcome Brochure...

The Julia Ideson Building was formally dedicated and opened on October 18, 1926 as Houston's main library replacing the 1904 Carnegie Library that stood at Main and McKinney. The lead design architect was Ralph Adams Cram of the Boston architectural firm Cram and Ferguson Architects. Mr. Cram also designed St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City, parts of West Point, the original buildings of Rice University, Trinity Episcopal Church in Houston, and many other renowned structures. William Ward Watkin and Louis A. Glover were the local architects-of-record. The building was originally planned to be part of a civic complex built in the selfsame Spanish Renaissance style.

In 1951, the main library was named in honor of the city's first professional librarian who served from 1903 to 1945, Julia Bedford Ideson. Upon the completion of a new Central Library next door in 1976, the Julia Ideson Building became home to the Houston Metropolitan Research Center after a 1976-1978 renovation.

A $32 million capital campaign launched in 2007 by the Julia Ideson Library Preservation Partners underwrote the construction of a new archival wing with adjacent two-story loggia and outdoor reading rooms as well as the restoration of the 1926 building to its original glory. The project is currently seeking LEED Silver certification.

The Julia Ideson Building is a City of Houston Protected Landmark, a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark, a Texas State Archaeological Landmark, and a landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

This is one of four "Walk" caches that we have placed here in the downtown area. The other three being "A Walk in Space", "A Walk Through Houston's History - Part 1" and "A Walk Through Houston's History - Part 2". We know that these four caches are a lot of work, especially during Houston's typical hot and humid climate, so we're going to reward you with a collectible Geocoin once you've completed all of them!

And finally, a special thanks to the Houston Public Library for allowing us to place this cache here!

To locate this cache, you will be touring the library grounds and all 3 floors of the library, gathering numbers that will help lead you to the cache's location. Following the steps below, you will need to locate the items listed and answer their corresponding questions.

Cache Notes:

  1. Admission to the Julia Ideson Building is free and its hours are as follows:      Monday, Tuesday and Thursday - 10am - 6pm;   Wednesday - 10am - 8pm;  Saturday - 10am - 5pm;   Friday and Sunday - Closed.

  2. The Julia Ideson Building hosts special events throughout the year which results in parts of the library being closed to the public. Since caching areas may not be available during this time it's best to call the library first and ask if there are any events planned for the day of your visit. They can be reached at 832-393-1662.

  3. There is parking underneath the Central Library next door for $2 an hour or if you are also doing Parts 1 and 2 of this series, you can park at the Houston Heritage Society's parking lot for free.

  4. There are public restrooms on the first two floors of the Library.

  5. The Library is wheelchair friendly. There are ramps on the outside of the building and elevators inside. There is also a wheelchair elevator to allow movement between the two levels of the 3rd floor.

  6. You can download a question and answer chart by clicking on the "Related Web Page" link on this page.

  7. The cache is not located at the listed coordinates, but they will lead you to the first part of the puzzle.

  8. The steps needed to solve this cache were laid out to minimize the amount of walking that you will need to do. However, feel free to start and end wherever you like. All of the items that you need to locate are easy to find.

  9. This is actually a 2-part cache. Answering the cache questions will lead you to the first cache which will in turn direct you to the final one.

  10. Depending on the time of day, there may be many muggles around so use stealth when searching for the cache and please replace it back exactly as you found it.

  11. The Library is rumored to be haunted by Jacob Frank Cramer (who worked here as a night watchman, gardener and handyman) and his German Shepherd, Petey. You've been warned!

Now, on to the hunt!

Stop 1 - Go to N 29 45.553 W 095 22.133

You should find yourself on McKinney in front of the entrance gate. Here you will enter the Lee Hage Jamail Plaza, which is dominated by two large oak trees. (These trees are thought to have come from a seedling and an acorn from a tree planted by Sam Houston.)

Look around the plaza and count the number of light poles and the number of benches within it.

  • Answer #1, or A1 = The number of light poles added to the number of benches.
Now head towards the Library entrance. (There is wheel chair access on the opposite side (Lamar Street) of the building). As you pass through the doors, you will enter the Margarett Root Brown Foyer.

To your right are the North Gallery, the Printer Room, the Auditorium (not part of the cache tour) and restrooms. To your left is the Grand Staircase, the East Hallway, more restrooms, the elevators and the exit to the outdoor loggia and garden. And directly in front of you is the Texas Room (also not part of the cache tour).

Stop 2 - The First Floor

Margarett Root Brown Foyer- Here you will find the reception desk, the wall of donors, the entrance to the Photography Gallery, a large painting of Sam Houston and a Don Quixote mural. For this room, you will need to locate the Don Quixote mural.

  • Count the number of tiles that make up the mural. Now add each of those numbers together.
  • A2 = The sum of those numbers.
Photography Gallery - Behind and to the left of the Don Quixote Mural, you'll see the entrance to this room. Inside you will find an antique camera, printer and photo enlarger as well as a few pictures.

  • Locate the picture of the "C.J. Wright Photographer" building and count the number of times you find "C.J. Wright" printed in it.
  • Locate the "R.B. Cycle Graphic" camera and count the number of lenses on the front of it.
  • A3 = The 2 answers above added together.
Exit the room and head left towards the North Gallery.

North Gallery - Here you will find photographs of the directors of the Houston Public Library System, newspaper stands and display cases that are original to the building and three Spanish murals. These murals, along with the others in the building, were WPA projects during the 1930's.

  • Locate the picture of Julia Ideson and note the dates on it. Add the two digits together that are separated by (closest to) the "-".
  • In the mural of the left, note the number of bells in the bell towers
  • In the mural in the middle, note the number of ships
  • In the mural on the right, note the number of dogs.
  • A4 = The 4 answers above added together.
Now head back across the Foyer to the Grand Staircase.

Grand Staircase- Here you'll see another mural which depicts a Houston Lyceum Committee subscription drive. Their collection eventually became part of the Carnegie Building, which was Houston's first public library.

  • A5 = The number of dollars the committee collected minus the number of females in the mural.

Number check! A1+A2+A3+A4+A5 should equal 54.

Now head up the stairs to the second floor.

As you reach the top of the staircase you will notice this floor's North Gallery directly in front of you, with a picture of Julia Ideson over its entrance. To your left is the Tudor Gallery which has entrances to the Reading Room, the South Loggia and the Exhibit Hall. Take a left into the Gallery and then another left into the Reading Room.

Stop 3 - The Reading Room, Carnegie Room and North Loggia

The Reading Room - This area is a public reading room that contains tables, chairs and built in bookcases that are original to the room. It also contains busts of George Washington, Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin as well as a replica of an ancient statue. And finally, there is a plaque and a picture on the walls here honoring John E. T. Milsaps, a bibliophile, Salvationist, traveler and diarist. Many of his writings and journals are now preserved in this building.

As you enter the room, look to your right for the first bookcase that contains books. (Currently to the left of the George Washington bust).

  • Find the HodgePodge books located somewhere in it.
  • A6 = Multiply the value of the numeric word in the publisher's name by the number of HodgePodge books that you see.
  • NOTE = The books are currently missing. The #'s you need to multiply are 4 and 2..
Now head towards the back of the room and locate Milsap's plaque.

  • A7 = The number of screws holding the plaque to the wall times the number of periods "." located in the plaque text.
Now look for the lone statue in this room.

  • A8 = The number of words in the name of this statue. (There is not a nameplate here so you'll have to use your ancient art knowledge)
Now head to the small room in the northeast corner of this area.

The Carnegie Room - Almost all of the items in this room, along with the statue that you just saw, are originally from the Carnegie Building, which was the library "predecessor" to this building. If the doors to this room are closed you can open them (per the library staff).

  • Now look for the block of marble in this room. Locate the Roman numeral year on it and convert it to its modern day equivalent.
  • A9 = The sum of the numbers in the year.
Now head to the next small room directly to the west.

The North Loggia - This room was originally an open air area but was enclosed in the 1950's after the building was air conditioned.

  • Locate the Donor plaque on the east wall, which has 4 sections. Look at the bottom section.
  • A10 = The number of different last names that start with the letter "D".

Number check! A6+A7+A8+A9+A10 should equal 35.

Now exit the Reading Room, head to the left through the elevator lobby and go outside to the South Loggia.

Stop 4 - The South Loggia and the Tudor Gallery.

The South Loggia - This outdoor area was added to the building during its 2007 restoration. It offers a southern view of downtown Houston as well as to the garden area below.

  • Look down in the garden and locate the water well.
  • A11 = The number of water geysers in it.
Head inside and go back through the elevator lobby.

The Tudor Gallery - This area, which at one time was the location of the Central Library's circulation desk, is now restored to it's original look. In it, you will find the final 4 murals in this building, busts of Petrarch's Laura, Sappho and Juan Seguin and a view up to the 3rd floor.

  • Locate the busts along the south wall.
  • A12 = The number of busts that have a name on them.
  • Now find the 4 large murals mounted in each corner of the gallery. Note the number that appears twice in the date on the "Beauvoir" mural and the number of letters in the country's name that appears on the "President's House" mural. (Not Texas!)
  • A13 = Take the "Beauvoir" number and add it to the "President's House" number.

Number check! A11+A12+A13 should equal 16.

Now enter the Exhibit Hall which is directly across the Gallery from the Reading Room.

Stop 5 - The Exhibit Hall, the North Gallery and the Grand Staircase

The Exhibit Hall - The contents of this area change frequently so we will concentrate on something more permanent in here.

  • A14 = The number of circular windows in the Exhibit Hall.
Take the exit to the North Gallery in the back, right corner of the room. Be sure to sign the guest log (add geocacher to your entry!) on your way out.

The North Gallery - Like the North Gallery on the first floor, this one also has display cases that are original to the building. And like the North Loggia, this room also used to be an open air area.

  • A15 = The number of display cases here.
Now head back across the Tudor Gallery to the Grand Stairway and head up to the third floor.

Grand Staircase

  • A16 = The number of light fixtures on the staircase walls between the second and third floors.

Stop 6 - The Third Floor

The Kitty King Powell Gallery- As you walk around the lower section of this dual leveled floor you'll notice the ornamental coffered ceiling and balustrade (railing) that stand out in this room.

  • Look at the inside of the balustrade and note the number of gold stars that you see.
  • Then look around the third floor and note the number of staircases that go from the lower level of the third floor to the upper level of the 3rd floor.

  • A17 = The number of staircases subtracted from the number of gold stars.

And now, the best for last. Look up at the coffered ceiling and count the number of square panels, which will give you a 2 digit number.

  • A18 = Take the smaller number, from the two digit answer, and subtract it from the larger number.

Number check! A14+A15+A16+A17+A18 should equal 24.

Time for math!

The North Coordinates are AB CD.EFG, where...

A =

A13 - A9

B =

A6 + A11

C =

A14 - A15

D =

A18 + A16

E =

A7 - A8

F =

A2 - A12

G =

A17 - A3

The West Coordinates are HIJ KL.MNO, where...

H =

A1 - A4 - A11

I =

A3 + A10

J =

A9 - A14

K =

A5 - A7

L =

A15 - A12

M =

A10 - A8

N =

A5 - A2

O =

A17 - A18

Now that you have the coordinates, it's time to find the cache! Here are a few final notes...

You will not need to walk through or disturb any landscaping to find the cache. The first container, which is small, will guide you to the final, larger cache container.

Due to the sensitive nature of the indoor and outdoor displays, we feel that we need to give a pretty specific hint to make sure overzealous cachers (like us at times) don't damage or otherwise disrupt anything inside or out of this building.

However, since we don't want cachers to just read the hint and go straight to the cache without completing all of the steps, we're going to "encrypt" it in the same manner that we did the coordinates. That way you'll have to work for both of them. And since you usually need a pretty specific hint for downtown caches anyway, due to signal interference from the buildings, we don't feel bad about giving one. So you're also getting a bonus puzzle as part of this cache, albeit an easy one.

Like the coordinates, we'll encrypt the clue with the A1, A2, A3, etc... codes. You'll then have to simply substitute the number that they represent with its corresponding letter of the alphabet.

For example if the clue was "A1 A2 (A3+ A4) A5"

And you had previously figured out that...

A1 = 20 , A2 = 18, A3 = 4, A4 = 1, and A5 = 5

Then A1 would equal the 20th letter of the alphabet, which is "T", A2 would equal the 18th letter, "R", (A3 + A4) would = (4+1), or 5, which would equal "E" and A5 would also equal "E", since its value is also 5.

And once done you would come up with the word "TREE".

Don't forget, once you've completed all 4 of our "Walk" caches, contact us and you'll get a collectable Geocoin!

Congratulations to rozowski5 and Dhaulaghiri on being the Co-FTF'ers!

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

N5 N11 (N5 + N18) N12 N17 N9 N4 N9 N12 (N4 + N5) N11 (N13 + N14) N13 (N14 - N15) (N15 + N16) (N1 + N11)

(N4 + N18) (N1 + N8) (N17 + N2) (N6 + N2) N3 N16 (N15 + N16) N13 N15 N7 (N5 + N10) N3 N12 (N10 + N13)

(N2 + N6) N11 (N3 + N7) N3 N4 N9 N12 (N1 + N8) (N7 - N8) (N6 + N14) (N2 + N7) N16 (N10 - N18) N18 (N16 + N17)

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

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