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Thursday, May 31, 2018

News & Updates

Ronald (age about 3 or 4) at lower left in the old Sugar Land dairy and as a high school senior in 1951.

I'm very sorry to report the recent death of Ronald Miller (SLHS '51). Click here to read an obituary. My sincerest condolences to Trinka and his children. I'll repost something Ronald sent me in my next updates.


Although I'm late with this, I wanted to tell everyone that Dr. Raymond Chong is giving an encore performance of his presentation on Chinese laborers, working on the Transcontinental Railroad. Click the image above to read details. His presentation begins at 11:00 on Saturday, June 2nd at the Sugar Land Heritage Museum & Visitor Center. Admission is free.

Dr. Chong's presentation is part of a traveling exhibit sponsored by the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Houston-Austin Chapter. The exhibit is on display through next week.

John Pirtle's Oral History

John Pirtle was born in 1931 and graduated from Sugar Land High School in 1949. His family lived on "Rat Row" (old Imperial Blvd.), which is now covered by the expanded Nalco plant. Time has made sweeping changes to the town John grew up in, but his memories are still vivid and cherished. Read his interview to get a taste of Sugar Land back then.

Click the image below to read John Pirtle's account of his life in Sugar Land.

More People of Old Sugar Land

Click the image to view the album of photos.
T. C. Rozelle, Jr. in 1916 at home on Sartartia Plantation.

Fort Bend Star Articles About Sugar Land History.

The Fort Bend Star ran two articles about Sugar Land history in its recent issue. The first recounts Sugar Land's successful transition from a company town to a municipality.

The second article is about re-installation of a 1937 plaque on the renovated Central Unit building, which now is home to the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land.

Click the images below to view the articles.

Elected city officials at inauguration in 1959.

Plaque restored to former prison building. (Image courtesy of HMNS at SL.)

Expansion of the City Park in Mayfield Park

On Saturday, May 12th, the City of Sugar Land hosted an opening ceremony for the newly expanded city park in Mayfield Park.  I took a video camera with me and shot the following short video. It's a very pleasant setting. Click the image to view the 3-minute video.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

News & Updates

Thank you, Mary Lee Brodecky Sebesta, for sending me a link to Mrs. Patsy Guerrero's obituary. (I mentioned her death in an earlier post, but didn't have a link to her funeral notice.) Click here to view the obituary. My sincerest condolences to the extended Guerrero family for the loss of their loved one.

Many of you know Lakeview Elementary celebrated the centennial of its campus (former site of Sugar Land School) last week. Click this link to view photos from the event, which was a big success.

Others of you may have heard that FBISD's current facilities plan includes an option of closing LVE and merging its student body with Meadows Sugar Mill Elementary. Click here to view the schedule of public meetings for community feedback on the facilities plan. Click here and go to page 11 of the plan and view the details regarding merging Meadows Sugar Mill and Lakeview Elementary Schools.

More Selections from the 1959 M. R. Wood Panther annual

Here is another selection from the 1959 Panther yearbook for M. R. Wood School in present-day Mayfield Park. This was the first annual the school produced.

Click the image below to view pages showing the school principal, Charles L. Jingles, and faculty.
1959 M. R. Wood School annual.

More People of Old Sugar Land: Sugar Land Elementary School in 1960

My thanks go to Tommy Laird (DHS '67) for sending me this scan of the 1960 Sugar Land Elementary School annual.

Click the image to view it.
SL Elementary School annual.

Aerial Images of Sugar Land

Click the image below to view a selection of aerial photos included in Images of America: Sugar Land, Texas. from Arcadia publishing company.
Industrial Park looking northwest from above Hwy. 90A.

More Historical Photos of Houston, the US, and the World

Click this link to view color photos of Houston in the 1950s and '60s

These next photos come from a Rice history blog that I follow. Look at the 2nd aerial, which gives a good view of the empty space between Houston and Stafford.

My thanks to the readers who sent me the following photo album. There are a few repeaters, but most are new (to me).

Click the image to view it.
 Construction of the Empire State Building, 1931.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

News & Updates

I'm very sorry to report the death of 4 old Sugar Landers. 

Donald Brooks in 1947.

The first is Donald Brooks, who passed away on February 28th. Here is an obituary. Donald was a long-time employee at Imperial Sugar Company.

 Charlie Tise in 1947.

The second is Charlie Tise, who died last Friday (March 16th). He and his wife Frances retired to Wimberley, but their connections to Sugar Land were always close. Here is an obituary for Charlie

 Frankie McFadden in 1947.
The third is Frankie McFadden, who died on March 17th. I think  he lived in Spicewood near his daughter Kelly, who cared for him the past few years. His father was the third mayor of Sugar Land (1968-1972). Unfortunately, I don't have an obituary.

I don't have much on the fourth person, but she was Vickie and Patsy Guerrero's mother. Mrs. Guerrero was 97-years old/young and a long-time resident of Sugar Land. I will try to find more information and include it in a future post.

I want to make one final reminder of the centennial celebration at Lakeview Elementary on Saturday, March 24th. 

(Click to enlarge the image.)

Here is a map to show parking & shuttle locations. (There will be no public parking at the school.)

(Click to enlarge the image.)

More People of Old Sugar Land: SLHS Class of '48

My aunt (Mayme Rachiug Hause) sent me four snapshots from her high school days, which include two of her classmates who died recently: Frankie McFadden, and Charlie Tise. I added a later photo of another classmate who died earlier this month, Donald Brooks. There were 17 students in the Class of '48.
Frances Koon & Charlie Tise in the mid 1940s.

Mayfield Park History

I want to thank Fred LaMaster for sending me a link to this Facebook post made by his niece, Vickie Lynell Evans, who lives in Mayfield Park. Note that she mentions Aline McClemore, who in 1961 was the first resident to buy a home in Mayfield Park. I have the  photo below which appeared in The Fort Bend Mirror.

Aline McClemore is shaking hands with Bill Little (Sugarland Insdustries). Beside  her is Ted Kosse, the contractor who built her home. On the far right is Bob Womack, manager of Imperial Insurance Agency.

Joe Falsone Family Photos of Stafford in the 1940s

I received these photos from the Fort Bend County Historical Commission's Oral Histories Committee (Jane Goodsill), who obtained them from the Joe Falsone family. There are more good photos, which I'll put in future posts. I'll also include a link to the accompanying interview when it is available.

Click the image to view the album.
Highway 90A in Stafford, looking westward.

More Historic Photos from Around the Wold

I can't recall who sent me these photos, but I always appreciate contributions. Thank you, whoever sent them. Click the image below to view the album.
 The lake side (reverse side) of Hover Dam before Lake Mead was filled with water.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

News & Updates

I have had no time over the past few months to update this blog, therefore I have several items of sad news to report. I hope I haven't missed anything, but if I have, I'll catch up in future posts. 

I learned recently that Ellie Nichols passed away. Louise Gau and Charlie Nichols are her living children. Click here to see an obituary for Mrs. Nichols.

Mary Louise Johnston, mother of Marilyn Bates Moore, Terry Bates, and Debbie Johnston passed away in October. (I didn't hear about her death until a few weeks ago.) She was a long-time employee at Imperial Sugar Company. Her husband Reagan worked at Nalco for many years. Here is an obituary for Mrs. Johnston.

I also learned that Jane Broughton Schiller (MCHS '56) passed away in December. Diane Broughton Lundell, Joan Broughton Vaccaro, and Bill Broughton are her siblings. Here is an obituary for Jane. (If you view the full version, note the accompanying photo gallery.)

My classmate and friend, James 'Happy' Barker (DHS '68) died in December. Here is an obituary for him. (If you view the full version, note the accompanying photo gallery.)

Ronnie 'Rusty' Moffett (DHS '62) passed away late last year. (Note there will be a memorial services on February 3rd.) I don't have an online obituary, but Rusty's classmate, John Martin, sent me this information:

Ronnie "Rusty" Moffett lost his two  year battle with brain cancer on December 4, 2017. He was a long time resident of Alvin and Sargent. He was born on September 20, 1943 in Jennings, Louisiana to Joe and D'eva Moffett. His family moved back to Texas when he was an infant.

Rusty was married to Catherine Shinsky Moffett for 42 years. His blended family consisted of Sunday Moffett Doebbler and husband Tom, Craig Warley and wife Trish, Carol Warley Ray and husband John. Grandchildren Trey Doebbler, Summer Doebbler, Marissa Warley Cardin and husband Louis, and Nicholas Warley, Janie and Jackson Ray. Great-grandchildren Cadence and Kenneth Cardin.

Rusty graduated from Dulles High School and attended Wharton Junior College. He worked for over thirty years at Tuboscope  and retired in 2009.  He then worked part time at Tractor Supply and O'Reillys in Alvin. He loved to fish, collect antiques, and working on his historic home.

Join family and friends in a celebration of Rusty's life February 3, 2018 at Elks Lodge, W. Airport , Stafford, Texas, 77477 from 1-4 PM. Please bring your favorite dish for a pot luck meal.

Mary Morales Camacho, aged 95, passed away on Thanksgiving Day. She was a real old-time Sugar Lander. I haven't found an obituary for Mrs. Camacho, but click here to read an oral interview she did with the Fort Bend County Historical Commission.

Another long-time Sugar Land resident, Darrell Pamplin, died on November 29th. Mr. Pamplin was an old Sugar Land enthusiast and long-time resident of The Hill. Click here to view his obituary.

Louis Mutina (DHS '67) died very suddenly on January 20th. Click here to view an obituary for him.

Charles 'Pete' Coburn passed away just a few days ago.

Pete Coburn

I received this obituary from Pete's daughter:

Charles A. “Pete” Coburn, age 84, of Alvin, Texas passed away Wednesday, January 24, 2018. Pete was born on February 12, 1933 in Sugarland, Texas. He worked in the Fire Protection and Safety Industry for his entire career, also serving in the United States Army during the Korean War. Pete was a member of the National Fire Protection Association, the American Society of Engineers, and served as a training specialist for Texas A&M. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Alvin. Pete retired from both Monsanto Chemical and Sterling Chemical. He was an avid gardener and deer hunter. Pete was preceded in death by his parents Charles Arthur Sr. and Mary, as well as 3 older siblings.
Pete is survived by Marilynn, his wife of 63 years, his daughter, Vivi Skeen and husband Jack, son Chad Coburn and wife Janet sister, Weesie Lubojasky, 5 grandchildren, Brooke, Nick, Kelsey, Keeley, and Korey, and his great grand-daughter, Sadie Lynn, as well as numerous other relatives and friends.
Visitation will be from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. Monday, January 29, 2018 at Scott Funeral Home. Funeral services will be at 10:00 A.M. Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at Scott Funeral Home. Graveside services will be at 2:30 P.M. Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at Davis Greenlawn cemetery in Richmond, Texas.
Arrangements under the direction of the Scott Family, 1421 East Hwy 6, Alvin, Texas 77511. (281) 585-1000 www.scottfuneral home.net.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Alzheimer’s Association at 2242 W. Holcombe, Houston, T, 77030-2008 www.alz.org.

My sincerest condolences to all these families who have lost love ones.

I have some happy news to report, too.  T. V. Abercrombie, Jr. (DHS '64) and Robbie Womack (DHS '67) celebrated 50 years of matrimony with a cruise to Alaska. They have 4 children and 5 grandchildren. They are enjoying life in Navasota. Congratulations -- they seem much too young to be married for 50 years.

A final item, which I really enjoyed. I got a note from Art Montemayor, who must have stumbled across this post while surfing the Internet, because he sent me this message:
Being a BOI raised in Galveston, I enjoyed reading your comments on Manuel’s Cafe because it brought back sweet memories. I worked for Manuel and his brother at the cafe on 61st and Seawall boulevard during summer month’s in the 1950s when I was in High School. Manuel trained and had me clean the large, hand-selected, fresh flounders he received almost daily and taught me how to make a surgical cut down the top of the fish and extract all the back bone and ribs in one quick and efficient procedure. The result would be passed on to Manuel’s assistant who would inspect the fish and pass it on to Manuel who would prepare it and stuff it with his secret, delicious stuffing. The finished, spicy, deliciously cooked product was out of this world. I have looked and tasted so-called stuffed flounder in almost every seafood restaurant in the Houston and Galveston area and have never again tasted a stuffed flounder that could come close to what Manuel produced.

After graduating from Texas A&M in 1960, I went overseas and worked in a lot of countries, coming back in mid-1970s to discover that Manuel had sold the restaurant. Whatever happened to his secret recipe is something I would dearly love to find out about. I remember Manuel’s menu well. I identify it as the one we worked with in the summer of 1954. Yes, a large stuffed flounder the size of a large frying pan cost $1.75! Incredible ... I dearly hope Manuel didn’t take his recipe with him to the big kitchen in the sky.
This near-random connection with the past made my day.  Thanks for responding, Art.

The Sugar Land Heritage Museum & Visitor Center Is Now Open

It's taken considerable time and effort over the past few months, but Sugar Land's Heritage Museum & Visitor Center was officially opened last Saturday, January 27, 2018.  There will be more about our new facility in the future, but for now here are the relevant details:

Location: It's on the 2nd floor of the old Container Warehouse in Imperial Market, the old Imperial refinery site. (The street address is 198 Kempner St.) The building is behind the tall, cream-colored silos. The Children's Discovery Center is on the 1st floor.
Hours: Monday from noon to 5:00 and Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 to 6:00. Closed Sundays.
 Admission: Free.

Here are a few videos of the opening:
Link to promotional video for the opening
Link to short video of the visitor center & front gallery in the museum.

Lakeview Elementary School Will Celebrate Its 100th Anniversary in March


This is a save-the-date message announcing Lakeview Elementary School's celebration of its 100th anniversary on Saturday, March 24, 2018. More about this as we get nearer the date.

More People of Old Sugar Land

More People of Old Sugar Land. Click the image to view the album.
Gilbert Uresti (DHS '62)

Video of Snow Storm on February 12, 1960

We had a surprise snow fall here in Sugar Land on December 8, 2017. Donna Christopher Baker (DHS '63) sent me this link to KTRK archival footage of the snow fall we had on Friday, February 12, 1960. I remember it well. I have posted items about this snow fall, and others, in earlier blog entries.

I'm happy to report that we've recently received digitized home movies of Sugar Land after the 1949 snow storm. We've also received digitized movies of the 1951 ice storm. Once we have edited these clips, I'll post them on the blog. They offer superb scenes of the town nearly 70 years ago.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Harvey News & Updates

I haven't left the house since Saturday, and even then it was a half-mile trip to the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation to make certain everything was okay. 

My best guess is that old Sugar Land is almost back to normal. 

Emergency Contact Info

Here is some useful information from Mary Lee Sebesta and Wanda Benge. (Thanks!) 

Thank you Kathy Stewart Ezell who works for FEMA for all this valuable information!!

Homeowners.... You must go through your insurance company first.....FEMA comes in behind your insurance for further possible assistance... You must register 1800-621-3362.

If you lost income because you can't go to work... Call FEMA 1800-621-3362 and register for disaster

If your vehicle flooded out in the storm.... You'll need to have liability coverage on your vehicle at the time of the disaster, your title & registration for FEMA (1800-621-3362)to pay. 

If you have full coverage you must file with your insurance company first.

If you're under mandatory evacuation... Call FEMA and register... You will get up to 2 months of rental assistance at the fair market value of your area.

If you have bills you are behind in or if you have some coming due you can call them EVERY COMPANY is pushing back due dates & some are even credited full months of service if youre in Houston or surrounding areas. My friend just got 3 months no car note w/toyota due to weather & another friend who has chevy got car note credited for 2 months! Call your light companies , phone companies ,cable companies whoever and get the extra months to give yourself time to come back from this disaster!! If you don't need this info then disregard but share. Never know who this can help.. All you have to tell them is you are located in Houston or surrounding counties and was affected by the hurricane... A lot of them are already aware of whats going on here and have policies in effect to help us.
There is a free app to help neighborhoods coordinate their recovery. It's called Next Door. Click here to find it on iTunes. Click here to find it at Google Play.

Sugar Land

Here is a link to the City of Sugar Land's page on storm info. Click this link to access the page

Here is a short clip of drone video Tommy Laird sent me. (Thanks, Tommy.) It shows Sugar Mill on August 27th, which now seems like a long time ago. I was a little confused when I first saw this, but I can tell it was shot on the western side of Sugar Mill. At one point you can see the pool near Burney and Ragus Lake Dr. 

Click this link to view the video. The map below will help you identify the area.

Fort Bend County & Brazos River

The major issue now is the Brazos River.  Here's a link to a the National Weather Service station at Richmond, which reports on the river's height. Click here to view the link.  As you can see the river should crest tomorrow.

Here is a link to drone footage shot by the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management.  Unfortunately, a lot of it looks exactly like last year's flood.  Click here to view the list of videos.

Fire Ants

And last but not least, an interesting video on Fire Ants. Click here to view the short video.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

News & Updates

I have one item of regrettable news to pass along. Judy Bunting Goodson (DHS '77) passed away on August 3rd. She was the younger sister of Nan Bunting Middlebrooks (DHS '63), Mike Bunting (DHS '66), and Richard Bunting (DHS '67). I never knew Judy, but offer my sincere condolences to her family. Click here to view an obituary.

Morales Family Donations to SLHF

In 2014, the Morales family, long-time residents of Sugar Land, donated two historic jerseys to the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation. A ceremony highlighting the donation occurred at a Turn Back The Clock Night at Constellation Field before the start of a Skeeters game.

The jerseys were worn by George Morales, Sr. who played for the Imperials, a Hispanic team sponsored by the Imperial Sugar Company for many years. These jerseys date to the mid-1950s. You can see examples in the two photos below.

Sugar Land Imperials, mid-1950s.

 Manager Joaquin Mora wearing the same uniform.

In early August, the Morales family made another visit to the SLHF to donate a jersey from another team sponsored by Imperial. This one is an Imperial Pirates jersey. Here's an old team photo from the 1970s, showing the jersey.

Imperial Pirates in the 1970s.
The next photos show the Morales family displaying the Imperials and Pirates jerseys during their recent visit. The SLHF is very pleased to have these jerseys, which commemorate the tradition of Hispanic baseball in old Sugar Land.
Joe Morales with Imperials jersey and George Morales, Jr. with Pirates jersey.

The Morales family, long-time Sugar Landers and generous donors to the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation.

The visit included a surprise. Notice the black-and-white photo of the young boys in the background.  Here's a clearer view of it.

Four young SL baseball fans in the mid-1950s. Clockwise from lower left: George Morales, Jr., Julian Astorga, Fred Mora, and Mike Mora.
George Morales, Jr. saw it as we gathered in the museum and said, "That's me!"

George Morales, Jr. then and now.
The old photo was part of Sugar Land's 2016 FotoFest exhibit. When we put it together, we liked the photo and decided to use it, but had no idea who the boys were. There was no annotation on the back to give us a clue.

George said, "I heard all over town that people had seen my picture, but I never saw it. I'm glad to see it now!" 

The photo was taken for an article that appeared in The Imperial Crown, the monthly bulletin for employees, but it wasn't used. George supplied the identities for us. He's kneeling on the left. Behind him is Julian Astorga. Standing on the right is Fred Mora. Kneeling on the right is Mike Mora.

One last item to mention. We learned recently of an Arcadia book on Hispanic baseball.  It's Mexican American Baseball in Houston and Southeast Texas. There's a chapter devoted to Sugar Land, which is very good. I enjoyed it.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

People of Old Sugar Land

Thank you, Mark Schumann, for posting on Facebook many of your family photos. They are terrific. I'd also like to thank Elaine Cantu Bauer for posting some of her family photos, which I've included here. Click the image below to see their photos.
St. Theresa Catholic Church in the February 1960 Snowfall.
The next items are clips from my family's home movies. The first is a repeat, showing the summer, or spring pre-school camp at Sugar Land High School in 1953. The location is the Lakeview campus, which is now Lakeview Elementary. We're under the trees just a few yards southeast of the gym. Lakeview Drive is behind the camera.

SL Pre-schoolers in 1953.
The next clip is also from 1953. It shows a Kelly-Salter family gathering at 214 Brooks St., which was my grandparents' home. 
C. E. Kelly, Sr. clowning in front of the movie camera in 1953.

Dulles High School

I've looked at several things related to Dulles High School recently.  The first was an eye-opener for me.  Of course, I knew the Dulles football team's MVP award is named after Johnnie Frankie, but I didn't really know his story. Click the image below to read an article, entitled "Toughness Tempered by a Warm Heart and Pervasive Good Will." It appeared in a blog devoted to Rice University history. 

I'm not sure if the Frankies lived in Stafford or Missouri City, but their son Tony is a DHS alum in the Class of '65. (I'm amazed at how much Tony looks like his father.)

Captain Rice Football Team, 1936.

The Class of '77 celebrated their 40th anniversary a few weeks ago. They posted photos on Facebook. I've reposted a small selection of them here. (Thanks T. Champion and K. Walling Burnham.) Click the image to view the album.
Class of '77 Reunion Photos.

Janice Jenkins Girard (Class of '68) did some serious house cleaning a few weeks ago and sent me some vintage items, including the pennant shown above.  Here is another blast from the past.
Calvin Lee, Coach Bill Martin, and Happy Barker in the '67/8 school year. (Calvin and Happy are member of the Class of '68.)