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Monday, August 15, 2016

News & Updates

I've been rushed and haven't had a chance to follow up on all the items I've received recently, but I do want to note this sad item immediately.  I received a note from John Martin (DHS '61) that his sister Mary Ann Martin Young (SLHS '53) passed away recently.  Here is an obituary.  I didn't realize she was Vernon (DHS '67) and Billy (DHS '69) Duty's stepmother.
God bless John and Mary Ann's extended family in their time of grief.

DHS Class of '66 Celebrates 50 Years

Time marches on, and Dulles High School's Class of '66 is celebrating the 50th anniversary of their graduation from our alma mater.  Here are details on the soiree:

Date:  Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 6:00 pm
Location: The Redneck Country Club at 11110 West Airport Blvd. in Stafford
Price: $60 per person (cash bar & no tickets sold at the door)
Attire: Casual

The planning committee is arranging a special rate at the Courtyard Marriott (281-491-7700) for those people who need accommodations.  Contact me (post a comment) or Scotty Hightower Bass for more information.

Reservations are limited. (No joke.) Members of the Class of '66  have first priority until September 10th.  Afterward, friends are more than welcome to reserve a ticket.  I'll have more info in the coming weeks.

Click this link to access the Evite invitation.  (You can also see who's attending.)

Click here to view the reunion's Facebook page. (I hope this link works for people without Facebook accounts.)

If you aren't sure whether you're member of the Class of '66 (just kidding), I've posted graduation photos of your potential classmates.  (Click the image below.)  More important, SEND CONTACT INFO for any class members who may be missing from these lists.

Time's awastin'.

Interview With Ernest Trevino in 2011

I wanted to post another of the interviews Pat Pollicoff (City of Sugar Land) did with an old timers at Kempner Stadium in 2011.  Like the one with Wayne Boehm, Ernest talks about playing football with Ken Hall and the camaraderie of teams of that era.


A few months ago, I got a note from Lawrence Farias, who attend Sugar Land High School in the 1950s, but didn't graduate here. He asked about a friend and classmate, Donald Hoke. I said both Donald and Mildred Jordy Hoke had passed away.

Here is part of his message:

. . . I'm very sorry to hear that he passed away. May they both rest in peace. And I did forgave both him and the teacher. (CK: He mentioned in an earlier message that Donald had got him in trouble with a math teacher, which led to a memorable paddling.) What brought that incident to mind, was the picture of a paddle someone posted that another teacher used. It looked exactly the same. Anyhow, thanks for the update. Looking forward to seeing more news about the good old times.
I have done some research and tried to determine who the math teacher was. My best guess is Paul Parker, shown here in the 1953 Gator yearbook. No offense intended, but he seems like the kind of fellow who wouldn't hesitate application of paddle to rear end if he thought it was necessary.  

Also note Mrs. Gladys Pierce, long-time librarian in SLISD and FBISD. I remember Mrs. Pierce from my days at Dulles High School in the 1960s.

This is trivia item that caught my eye in a 1919 issue of the Texas Commercial News printed in Sugar Land. The article points out that 'gunnite' was invented during WWI. (Gunnite is/was the material whose wide-spread use was construction of home swimming pools.) I had no idea it was created that far back.

Here is a transcript of the article.
"Cement Guns" Are of Great Value in Quick Construction
The use of guns for construction rather than destruction is a recent development in building that helped materially in creating the structures that went up so rapidly during the war. These weapons of peace are the "cement guns" that shoot stucco with great speed and volume against steel or timber framework covered with wire network. The cement, appropriately called "gunnite," sticks to all framework, hardens, and a new wall comes into being. In the building of the army warehouses at Norfolk, Va., a "battery" of twelve or more cement guns bombarded the framework of the growing walls. As a matter of fact, however, it is questionable, except for the war, whether it would have occurred to anybody to name the new engine of construction a "gun." The apparatus is much more like a hose squirting a semi-liquid fluid mixture, and the terminology of the method would probably have related itself to the fire department, says the Christian Science Monitor. Under its operation a wall goes up almost as rapidly as a fire goes out.

Two final items from 1919.  A September issue of the Texas Commercial News contained an article indicating the roads around Sugar Land in those days turned into impassable mud bogs.  The same issue also said that the new project to build a power plant and electrify the town was well underway.  The power plant referred to in the article was the structure between Oyster Creek and Main St. across from the water tower.  The building was razed last year.

Here are transcripts of the articles to save you from straining your eyes.
Got Stuck In The Mud
W. T. Eldridge, Jr. and family, accompanied by Miss Ivy Eldridge, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Blum, Paul Richardson and Herbert Kempner of Galveston motored to Sugar Land from Galveston Sunday night. The trip was delightful till the car got stuck in the mud this side of Stafford where the party got out and went off for a team to pull them out.
Town Wiring And Building On Power Plant Progresses

Work on the big power plant is progressing rapidly now. Material is being unloaded in large quantities at the site. A pile driver has been erected and the foundation will soon be going in. Big poles are being set over town and new wiring installed. The system is to be much larger in all respects than the present equipment which the town as entirely out grown.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

News & Updates

As is too often the case, I have bad news to report. Many of you probably know that Betty Norman, long-time resident Sugar Land passed away recently. Like many of us, Mrs. Norman X-rayed me multiple times at the old Sugar Land clinic. Click here to view an obituary.  My best to Richard, Peggy, and the extended Norman family.

I also saw that Cindy Anderson (DHS Class of '73) passed away.  Click here to view an obituary.  My best to her family for their loss.

Sugar Land High School's Class of 1940

I had a very enjoyable visit with Mr. Tom B. McDade, Jr. (SLHS Class of 1940) and his wife last week.  The object of his visit was to give me some records his father kept of cotton harvests in Sugar Land from 1928 to 1942. After I've scanned them, I will put them in the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation's document collection.  (I'll have more on them in the future.)

As I said, we had a very pleasant visit and talked about all kinds of things.  Here are a few other items he's donated to the SLHF. These relate to his high school graduation class.

 SLHS 1940 Commencement Program.

SLHS 1940 Commencement Program. 

SLHS 1940 Baccalaureate Program. 

 SLHS 1940 Baccalaureate Program. 

SLHS 1940 Class Photo. 

Cherryl Hughes Fikes has generously given me a scan of the class photo, which I posted earlier.  You see her father, Joe Bob Hughes, among the members of the Class of '40. I wanted to post it again due to an astounding story Mr. McDade told me.

He was in the US Navy during WWII.  He served as an officer on an LCI (landing craft infantry) in the Pacific theater of war.  He was on leave in the Philippines and went to an air base where he met his classmate, Joe Bob Hughes, by chance.  Hughes was a B-29 pilot and suggested Tom join him on a trip to Okinawa. Tom thought about it, but decided it was probably better that he decline.  As it turned out, he made the right decision.  A day or two later a monster typhoon hit Okinawa.  He would have had some 'splanin' to do regarding how he was stranded in Okinawa!

What astounds me is this is the 5th story I've heard about Sugar Land men/boys meeting up with each other in the Pacific theater during WWII.  (I know at least one occurred in Europe.)  Like my mother has said, the population of Sugar Land was about 2,500 people, yet in all but one, the meetings happened by chance.  

Kempner Memorial Stadium & Athletic Field

I received a request recently from the City of Sugar Land about the history of Kempner Stadium.  I thought I'd post some of the research I've assembled.  

Sugar Land had an athletic field beginning in the very early part of the 20th century. Baseball was the principal sport until 1927, when Sugar Land High School started a football team.  They played in an open field roughly where the outfield of the baseball diamond was located.  Fans roamed the sidelines - there were no stands or amenities of any kind.  All games were played during the day - there were no lights.

The Sugar Land Gators won their first district championship in 1938, which earned them an upgrade to their home ground.  They got lights, wooden stands (on the east side of the field), concession stands, and restrooms. The new stadium debuted in September 1939 when the Gators played Eagle Lake.  You'll see below, the home team downed the visitors 21-0.

In 1958, the stadium was upgraded with cement stands (on the west side of the field) and an electric scoreboard.  The stadium has changed further over the years, but it's still used today.

Here are images of two plaques dedicating the stadium and the scoreboard.  I've posted info on Stu Clarkson in the past.  Click here and here to view those entries.

 I. H. Kempner, Jr. plaque.

 Stuart Clarkson plaque.

I want to thank Ralph McCord's family for letting me scan the following items, which chronicle the opening game of the 1939 season.

Ralph McCord in 1939. 

Newspaper article about new stadium.  

Photo from the Eagle Lake game in 1939.  

Gator record of the 1939 season.  

Gator line up from the 1939 season.

The stadium also served as a venue for school graduations.  Here are items from the 1941 graduation ceremony on Kempner Field.  (My thanks go to the Kadlecek family for these images.)

1941 SLHS Commencement.

1941 SLHS Commencement Program.

1941 SLHS Commencement Program.

The following photo shows construction of the west-side stands in 1958.

Construction at Kempner Stadium in 1958.

W. H. Louviere, Sr. (President of Imperial Sugar Company) and Dr. Leslie Wheeler, Jr. (school board member) on the night of October 3, 1958 when the new stadium was dedicated and renamed in honor of I. H. Kempner, Jr.

Mr. Louviere (left) and Dr. Wheeler at Kempner Stadium on
October 3, 1958.

Rosenberg etc

I've found a terrific site on Facebook called Rosenberg etc.  The old photos are superb. Click here to view the site.  I've taken the liberty of selecting a few that may pique your interest.  Click on the image below to view them.

Rosenberg etc images.

1919 African-American Flour Mill in Houston Texas

While reading issues of the Texas Commercial News (Sugar Land's local newspaper) published in 1919, I ran across this item in a June issue.  It mentioned a flour mill owned by African-Americans, which  opened in Independence Heights, Texas.

I had never heard of Independence Heights, much less "Flavo" and the American Milling Company.  I searched for more information, but found very little. Independence Heights was an incorporated community inhabited by minority citizens.  It was located an area north of today's 610 loop and west of I-45. The community chose to dissolve and be incorporated into Houston in the late 1920s. I guess the mill didn't have a long life because there is no record of it that I can find.

I've posted an image of the article, but I've included a transcript below if you don't want to strain your eyes.

Houston's First Flour Mill Began Operation Monday

The only flour mill in the vicinity of Houston, owned and operated by negro citizens of Independence Heights, started production Monday afternoon, following formal opening exercises. The mill is owned by the American Milling Company, of which H. J. Ford is president.
A large crowd of negro citizens gathered for the exercises and were given samples of the "Flavo" flour that the mill will put on the market.  O. L. Hubbard, mayor of Independence Heights, made an address of welcome, expressing the pleasure of the community at having the mill opened in the vicinity.  Its opening is evidence of the industrial progress of the colored race, he said. 
H. J. Ford responded on the part of the milling company, and other Negroes made short talks.
The Flour produced at the mill will be sold direct to the consumer for the present.  It will be of the very highest grade, but will retail at prices usually charged for the medium grade flour in Houston, it was announced.  It will be put up in 12, 24, and 1 pound bags, but also will be sold in four, six, and ten pound packages.  As soon as possible, every negro grocery store will be supplied with the flour.
At the present time the mill has a capacity of 15 barrels of flour a day and 10 barrels of meal.
A number of white citizens visited the mill Monday, including several millers from neighboring towns.

Toubin Park, Brenham, Texas

I want to thank Brenda Albers Miles (DHS '66) for telling me about this park and a network of historic cisterns in Brenham, Texas.  I told her about an archeological project the Fort Bend County Historical Commission is doing in Richmond.  We're excavating an 1850s cistern in Lamar Homestead Park.  We're hoping to find artifacts from Lamar's residence.

Anyway, Brenda told me about this network of cisterns in Brenham, which was completely new to me.  I want to take a look one of these days.  Click here to read a short article on Toubin Park and the story of the cisterns.  Click here to read another article on the history of the cisterns.  Note that the 1879 pumper was designed to pump water from these underground tanks when putting out fires.


Here are some odds & ends I found since my last posting.  The first is a video clip from a 1956 episode of the old I've Got A Secret game show.  I think it's amazing.  I've read that the man died just a couple of months after appearing on the show.

A fellow named Jim Lange posted this photo of Foley's department store his father took in 1938.  This store preceded the one most of us remember, which was built in 1947 on the corner of Main and Lamar.  This store was 400 Main Street several blocks north of Main and Lamar.

Foley's at 400 Main in 1938.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

News & Updates

I'll catch up on more updates in the next round.  For now, I'll mention the recent death of Evelyn Stock. Those of you who attended Sugar Land Elementary School may remember Mrs. Stock and her husband Willie. You could say they were fixtures at the old school. Click here to view her obituary

Thank you to Mark Schumann for notifying me, and all the best to the Stock family for the loss of their mother and grandmother.

Leon Anhaiser confirmed this is Hal Rucker in the Lions Club photo I posted last week. Thanks, Leon. Congratulations to the Lions Club for their years of service to Sugar Land.

Hal Rucker at the 1953 Lions Club Carnival.

Wayne Boehm Interview from 2011

Pat Pollicoff interviewed several old timers in June 2011 to talk about playing football with Ken Hall. Wayne Boehm was one among several men who talked as they stood on Kempner Field.  I thought Wayne's interview was very good.

Click on the image to view the 7-minute video.

More People of Old Sugar Land

SLHS Class of '56 as 3rd graders in 1947.

SL contingent of DHS Class of '66 as 1st graders in 1955.

DHS Class of '74 as freshmen in 1971.

More of the Sugar Land Lions Club

I've reposted more old items highlighting the Sugar Land Lions Club since they are celebrating their 75th anniversary this month.

The first photo is from a pancake supper held on March 29, 1956 at the Salvage Hall. My thanks to to Linda Hagler Mosk (DHS '68) whose father is in the group.

1956 Fundraiser
Here is a letter the club sent to graduating boys back in the 1940s.  In this case, the graduate was my father, Charles E. Kelly, Jr. Note the men listed in the letterhead.

I'm not certain of the date for this next photo, but it shows Bill Chadwick, Director of Laura Eldridge Hospital, Esther Kirkpatrick, and Leon Anhaiser.  The Lions Club had just donated money to buy wheelchairs for the hospital.  (The date must be 1966 or '67.)

I don't have a date for the next photo either, but it must come from the mid 1960s.  It shows James Kee presenting a Lions Club donation to the Freeman Post of the American Legion.  Sterling Thomas and Heywood Davis were then leaders of the post.

These clippings from the Fort Bend Mirror come from the June 28, 1968 issue.

The Lions hosted a Christmas party for children in Sugar Land's Head Start Program. This photo and article appeared in the January 1968 issue of The Imperial Crown.

We end with a photo from the April 30, 1975 issue of the Fort Bend Mirror.  It shows Leon Anhaiser and Fred Baker at the unveiling of a plaque at Fred Baker Little League Field.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Flooding & Water Control - Part 1

Most of you have probably seen newscasts covering the recent flooding.  I've collected a few photos for the blog.  

I will post an item about the history of water management and flood control in the next update. It's something we take for granted, but appreciate in times like these.  

Click on the images to view the albums of flood photos.
Aerials of 2016 Flood.

Images of Richmond during 2016 Flood.

Images of Morton Cemetery during 2016 Flood.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Sugar Land Lions Club

The Sugar Land Lions Club is celebrating its 75th anniversary on June 18th. Congratulations to them! I've posted items about the Lions Club in the past, but in honor of their anniversary, I'll repost some of them.

The first item is an article that appears on the City of Sugar Land Web page.  It gives you a quick history of the club.  Click here to view the article.

These photos show the club celebrating their 25th anniversary in 1956.  You see some of the charter members.

Founding members at 25th anniversary. (Curtis Hall, 2nd from left & Mac Parker, 2nd from right.)

Founding members at 25th anniversary. (Fred Baker giving award to Don Williams.)

Founding members at 25th anniversary. (L-to-R: Don Williams, Leslie Wheeler, Carlos Slaughter, Vern Blair (?), C. E. McFadden, & Tom James in back.)

Club meeting in Salvage Hall sometime in the early '60s.

Club meeting in Salvage Hall sometime in the early '60s.

The next series of photos show the 1953 Lions Club Carnival.

Fred Baker on the left.

Cliff Nygren (?)

Bingo (?)

Bingo (?)

Bingo (?)

Bingo (?)

Hal Rucker.

I'll repost a few more items next time.