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Monday, August 31, 2009

FBISD's and Dulles High School's Early Years

Hello Bloggers:

The next 22 posts are Fort Bend Mirror articles concerning the inaugural school year of Fort Bend ISD and Dulles High School--1959/60.

Please be aware that you will need to click on "older posts" at the bottom of the screen to view the entire collection as well as other recent posts.

I hope you enjoy them,

[Chuck's baby brother]

P. S. I have also put together a history of the Dulles Band from 1959-68 for the band's 50th reunion on October 23 and 24. If you would like to read it, go to:

http://sites.google.com/site/dulleshighbandreunion/; click on Photos and Memorabilia; then on History of the Dulles High School Marching Band.

The Fort Bend Mirror, Nov 5, 1959

Fort Bend ISD's very first six-weeks enrollment report.
Dulles High School started with just 384 students.

The Fort Bend Mirror, Nov 12, 1959

An early report on the development of the new [Dulles] Senior High School in FBISD.

The school board initially took about 8 1/2 hours to look over the new plans. Unfortunately, the continuation of the article on page 7 is missing.

The Fort Bend Mirror, Nov 12, 1959

Can't you still feel the sting?

The Fort Bend Mirror, Nov 19, 1959

The Fort Bend Mirror, April 07, 1960

Imperial Sugar [I. H. Kempner] continues to support the area's education by donating land, enabling FBISD to expand M. R. Wood.

The Fort Bend Mirror, April 07, 1960

School board candidates offer their appreciation to the voters.

The Fort Bend Mirror, April 14, 1960

Fort Bend ISD grew by 110 students its first year.

The Fort Bend Mirror, April 14, 1960

Remember these names?--Acord, Landin, Vaccaro, Wheeler, Edwards, Renfrow, and Brinkman?

Thanks for being stand up men!

The Fort Bend Mirror, May 26, 1960

It appears the names on the bottom row are reversed.
Can anyone report what the M. R. Wood mascot was?

The Fort Bend Mirror, May 26, 1960

Dulles High School did not desegregate until 1965, so M. R. Wood continued to hold separate baccalaureate exercises until then.

The Fort Bend Mirror, May 26, 1960

Sixty-five seniors in the first graduating class say, "Good-bye," to dear old Dulles.

The Fort Bend Mirror, May 26, 1960

Go, Seniors '60!

Unfortunately, this news clip has been cropped about a third way down the alphabet.

The Fort Bend Mirror, May 26, 1960

The entire eastern half of Fort Bend County was proud of its new school!

The Fort Bend Mirror, May 26, 1960

Expanded curriculum was a main goal of the infant Fort Bend Independent School District

The Fort Bend Mirror, May 26, 1960

Local Merchants Congratulate Dulles High School's First Graduating Class

The Fort Bend Mirror, May 26, 1960

The Fort Bend Mirror, May 26, 1960

The Fort Bend Mirror, June 23, 1960

Thank you, Teachers, from long ago, for your sacrifice and service!

Mrs. Mittie Mae Webb, Miss Veronica Mary Summerville, Miss Eva Jane Barlow, Mrs. Nellie Inez Phillips, and Mrs. Addie Roach Jones.

The Fort Bend Mirror, July 7, 1960

I wonder just how many calls Mr. Gary got at the band hall and at home.

The Fort Bend Mirror, July 7, 1960

Mrs. Varnau, the home-economics teacher, held a Future Homemakers Executive Council meeting at her home. . . Sounds serious!

The Fort Bend Mirror, July 7, 1960

The proposed bid for the new Dulles High School exceeded the $1,300,000 budget by $123,500, so the FBISD school board rejected the bid.

The Fort Bend Mirror, July 21, 1960

Note: The school board was able to bring the Dulles High School construction within budget constraints by sacrificing the Music Building. The band hall was not built until 1964.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sugar Land Telephone Directory, 1929

The 8 pages below constitute the 1929 telephone directory for Sugar Land. Margaret Albritton Hill let me scan her copy before she moved to Washington several years ago.

William T. Eldridge had the first telephone in Sugar Land, or more accurately the first two. He had a phone installed at his home at the front entrance to the refinery. (Up to the late 20s his home was the Ellis House that sat at the front entrance to the refinery. Most of us remember this house which sat between the Char House and Volunteer Fire Department Building.) The other phone was installed in the refinery. Eldridge wanted the ability to contact the plant manager's office at any time. I'm not exactly sure when he had these first telephones installed. It was probably well before the 20s. (Now that I've thought about it for a couple of days, the phones may have been installed in the early 20s - when Imperial began running a second shift.)

I noticed my grandparents didn't have a phone, but I didn't really think they did. An ancient family story recounts how my grandfather had to run from Rat Row (Imperial Boulevard) to The Hill to get the doctor when my father was born in the early hours of April 16, 1925.

[You can click on a page to see an enlarged version - you can do this with most pictures on this blog.]

Imperial & Sugarland Industries Promotional Item, 1920s

This is a leaflet that Kempner and Eldridge produced to promote Sugar Land. My guess is that it was printed in the early 20s. You'll notice the center picture shows the old char house, not the red-brick one built in 1925 which stands today. They wanted to attract new businesses and new employees. The early 20s was the period when Gus Ulrich began building new houses, pouring sidewalks, planting trees and shrubs (crepe myrtles in particular), and dredging Oyster Creek. Kempner and Eldridge were fully committed to building up Sugar Land. They were aggressive in pursuing new business opportunities and attracting new, reliable, and permanent employees.

Notice three components of Sugarland Industries are shown on the leaflet: the Sealy Mattress Company, the Eldridge MXTRITE Stock Feed Company, and the Home Packing Company, which eventually morphed into Marshall Canning, which many of us old-timers remember. Kempner and Eldridge got the first franchise to make Sealy mattresses. The story of Sealy Mattress in Sugar Land is an interesting one. My brother Bruce knows the details.

Notice the Home Packing Company promo mentions Magnolia Figs. Kempner and Eldridge lost serious money on their fig venture. Figs gave them lots of heartburn.

One last note. Bettye Anhaiser explained the mystery of Sugar Land (the city) and Sugarland Industries (Kempner and Eldridge's enterprises other than Imperial Sugar). When Kempner and Eldridge had incorporation papers drawn up for the Industries by a New York lawyer, he misspelled Sugar Land. He made it one word. Well, there's another thing a Yankee pinhead screwed up! (Just kidding.)

Prikryl Hotel, Early 20th Century

(UPDATE) Daniel Stavinoha has told me this isn't the Prikryl Hotel. We're researching the issue and hope to resolve it soon.

I can't recall if this is the way the Prikryl Hotel looked in the 50s and 60s when I remember seeing it. I guess so. (Daniel Stavinoha can confirm it.) Notice the caption says it is Boarding House No. 2, implying there is a Boarding House No. 1. I wonder if No. 1 was the Atwood Hotel on The Hill? I guess it could have been The Imperial Inn, but I don't know when it was moved into town at what is now the corner of Highway 90A and Bayview. (It burned down in the late 40s.)

For those who may not know or remember, the Prikryl Hotel sat on the west side of the refinery complex. I'm not sure of this, but I assume it had an Ulrich Boulevard address.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sugar Land Night at Colt Stadium, 1962 (Continued)

Back on June 4th I posted an entry to this blog about Sugar Land Night at Colt Stadium on June 8, 1962. It was a set of pictures from The Fort Bend Mirror reporting on the event. As I said in the post, I'd written an article about our night and submitted it for publication. Well, it was just published. Click the link below to read it.

If anyone else remembers that night, let me know.

Newspaper Article

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Nibbs-Fields House West of Sugar Land

I found these photos at the Portals To Texas History Web Site. They exhibit selected photos from the Fort Bend Museum Collection. This is one of them.

This series of pictures shows the Nibbs-Fields House located on the Schumann family property off Clodine Road. I saw this place as a child whenever we drove down Clodine Road, and when I learned it was a pre-Civil War house, I was hooked. I wanted to know more about it and go out there, but I never got a chance.

The first two pictures are captioned with a date of 1962, but I always remember the place being more over-grown with vegetation and more dilapidated. Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me.

I'd always heard local slaves made the bricks used to construct the house, which brings up some curious points. Notice the inscription on the last picture, which is actually a photograph of an ink drawing. (See below.)

The bottom of the photo reads: The Nibbs home on Oyster Creek, near Sugar Land, Texas often visited by Sam Houston. He bought his horse from Mrs. Nibbs enroute to the San Jacinto battlefield. (Collection of Mrs. Lula B. Roberts of Houston.)

The first curious point is the claim is that Sam Houston visited this house before the Battle of San Jacinto. I would have thought a house in 1836 would have been much cruder - probably made of logs. I could be wrong - maybe the Nibbs family had the where-with-all to build a large wooden home.

The second point is that the house in the later photos is brick and not wood. Maybe two or three houses stood on that spot? The brick house was the last one?

If someone knows the answers, or can find them, let me know.

Playland Park Raceway

(UPDATE) I got a note recently from Jon Pitts (DHS '61) who is a racing fan and saw many races at Playland Park and Arrowhead Speedway. Here's what he said, "
As one who attended races at Playland Park and Arrowhead Speedway before that, the two men standing by their cars I think are the Tallata brothers. In the last picture, the sheet metal fence in the background is the reason the track was closed. On the other side of the fence is the entrance to the track, a car left the track, went thru that fence and landed on top of the track owner, his wife and their daughter, who had just come thru the entrance. They were all killed, the track closed and Meyer Speedway was built a few years later. I remember AJ Foyt racing at Playland, he was a very dirty driver and the biggest cheat at the track. There were several better drivers than he, but none with better connections than AJ's dad, who just happened to be the Pit Stewart for the track. AJ's dad did not mind using his position to aid his son's career."

I have found some information on the wreck/accident Jon has mentioned. I'll post it in the future. (The Houston Chronicle covered the story and has their articles available in their archives.) I've also found video of races at Playland Park and Meyer Speedway. Pretty good stuff.

I never made it to Playland Park, much less saw any races there. I can't recall where these pictures came from, but they show several things. The first one shows some midget race cars at the starting line before a race. A. J. Foyt began as a midget race car driver out at Playland. The next photo shows stock car racers with their cars. The last three photos show some fender benders. You'll notice in the 4th picture that a car jumped the fence.