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Sunday, August 23, 2009

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.)


  1. Chuck, does anyone know where the Sealy Mattress Co. was located? Would like to know if they do. I don't remember it.

    This just great, and brings back so many fond memories of my growing up years.
    Mayme Rachuig Bass Hause

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  3. Aunt Mayme: The Sealy Mattress Company was located at the Corner of Main Street and Kempner Street. In your day it was the location of the Marshall Canning Company, the three-story building by the creek across from the refinery. (Of course, Marshall Canning later moved a few yards across Main and 'under the water tower.' I will publish some aerial views of Sugar Land which will help everyone get things oriented