Day 117

A nerd’s dream intersection

April 25th, 2012

There are several scientific-sounding streets here in Country Club: Ampere, Ohm, Watt, Radio, Research, and Library (but no Volt!). They were likely named in honor of Isaac Rice, former president of the Electric Storage Battery Company, whose wife donated a million dollars to the city in 1919 for the construction of Rice Stadium, a tribute to her late husband, in nearby Pelham Bay Park.

Isaac Rice was also a chess master, a music scholar (one of his published works is titled "How the Geometrical Lines Have Their Counterparts in Music"), and, like Robert Fulton 100 years earlier, a pioneer in the field of submersibles. In 1899 he founded the Electric Boat Company, which built the US Navy's first submarine and which has been its primary supplier of such vessels ever since.

His wife, Julia, was a physician and a pioneer in her own right: she founded the Society for the Suppression of Unnecessary Noise, which fought against loud tugboats and boisterous schoolchildren, and was notably supported by Mark Twain.

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