Drop Down MenusCSS Drop Down MenuPure CSS Dropdown Menu

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sugar Land Telephone Company

My grandmother Kelly worked as a telephone operator for the Sugar Land Telephone Company from 1942 till 1969. Naturally, I've wanted to post some old photos of the Telephone Company.

All the photos I've posted here came from Margret Albritton Hill, wife of Robert Hill, President of the Sugar Land Telephone Company.

The first telephone office was in the Imperial Office Building located at the main gate into the refinery. It was torn down in 1952. A couple of years later (I'm not exactly sure of the date), Imperial built the red-brick building (which I remember) on the same site. It housed the Imperial Personnel Office, Main Gate Watchman's Office, Engineering Offices, and Laboratory. There may have been more, but that's what I remember. The building also housed the telephone company until they moved to the location on Highway 90A (where Windstream's offices now sit).

The next two photos were taken sometime in the 1950s at the office in the red-brick building by the Main Gate into the refinery. I can identify all but one woman in the first photo. (Maybe someone can refresh my memory.) The woman standing at the back is Mildred Rozelle. The woman in front of her is Etna Schindler. I can't remember the woman to Etna's left, but the woman in front is my grandmother, Vic Kelly. (My grandmother's name was Mary Victoria Salter Kelly, but she never wanted to be called Mary. My grandfather and her siblings always called her Vic.)

(Update) B.I. Webb sent me a note saying the unidentified woman is his aunt, Nola Hughes. She was the twin sister of Buddy Blair's mother. I could tell she had some connection with the Blairs. She could have been Buddy's mother, based on facial features.

This second picture highlights the switchboard. I can remember visiting this telephone office when I was very young.

I really need help identifying the women in these next pictures. I can tell this is a (retirement?) party held in the back dining room at the restaurant next to The Palms Theater. I'm assuming it was called McGinnes's Cafe by this time. (I don't know the exact date of these pictures.) I assume the woman in the first picture is the honoree, but I can't identify her.

(Update) Karen Laird Boone helped identify the honoree in the next picture. She said it was Esther Gross, and I'm pretty sure she's correct. Mrs. Gross was the mother of Cynthia Gross (DHS '69) and a younger son whose name I can't recall.

I know the woman on the right in the next picture is Etna Schindler.

That's Ruby Nichols on the left. My grandmother is the second from the right. Maybe that's Helen Friend on the far right?

(Update) I got a note from Beverly Friend Wappler confirming that is her mother in the picture below. (She also made a comment about the old telephone office which I've posted in the entry above.)

Mildred Rozelle is on the left. Is that Charlene Lancaster in the middle? That's Deana, Gayla, and Carla Daniels's mother on the right. I'm not sure of the spelling of her name, but it was Veala Reister, I think.

(Update) I received a note from Annette Kay Lancaster Bramlett. She confirmed that is her mother Charlene in the picture. She said her mother passed away on July 14, 2008. She was 90 years old.

(Update) I received a message from Carla Daniels Meuth confirming that's her mother, Velah Rister Daniels, in the picture below. She went on to say, "She worked the 11:00 pm - 7:00 am shift most of our childhood. We grew up sleeping many naps on the little couch bed they had in the snack room. I remember playing operator on that switchboard. We used to pick pecans till our fingers hurt out the side door of that place. Memories ..."

This last picture shows the office on Highway 90A. It's had many additions and renovations over the years and is now the Windstream office. I know that's Etna Schindler's Chevrolet on the left, and I'm ABSOLUTELY sure that's Mildred Rozelle's mid-50s Chevrolet beside it. That's my grandparents' black and white Pontiac on the far-right.