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Monday, November 30, 2009

Images from the Sugar Land Junior High's 1960 Yearbook

Many thanks to Annette Williamson Wise for letting me scan these images from The Log, Sugar Land Junior High's yearbook. This issue was published in the 1959/60 school year.

Venetian Estates & Alkire Lake in 1940s & Early 1950s

Many thanks to B.I. Webb for sending me these items. He drew from memory the layout of Venetian Estates and Alkire Lake in the 1940s & '50s. He spent a lot of time hunting and fishing in 'The Marsh,' so he knew it pretty well. He also sent me hunting & fishing pictures from his scrapbook. I've included two showing prime fishing spots in what is now Venetian Estates. The third picture shows Pete Coburn with ducks he and B.I. shot (probably in The Marsh although I'm not certain).

I'm just old enough to remember hunting in that area. By the mid-to-late '50s much of the area had been drained, I think. I recall it was mostly dry land with a few ponds, but maybe it was dry due to lack of rain. I also remember hunting near what was then called, 'KPRC Road.' Of course, it's Eldridge Boulevard now.

The first picture below shows area #18 in the diagram during winter time. The second shows B.I. boating in the same spot during the summer. The third picture shows Pete in the Webb's backyard on 4th Street. I wonder if they shot more than the legal limit?

SLHS Band Concert Program, May 15, 1953

I wish this scan were better, but if you look closely at the magnified images, you can read them. One flute! Cornet trio! Notre Dame March!
Sugarland Overture by Olivadoti!

SLHS FFA Chartered in November, 1951

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Paul Martin, Kempner Stadium & A Lost Glove

I've spent a lot of time recently collecting info on Gator football. B. I. Webb has sent me several good pictures of a practice session held in November, 1950 on the Sugar Land HS football field (later Kempner Stadium). The pictures are fascinating for several reasons - not the least because they show the football field in a configuration I'd never seen before. There's no track, and a wooden fence surrounds the field.

I've chosen a picture that shows Paul Martin, a tackle on the '50 team, with the east-side stands in the background. I remember those stands very well because they remained in place into the late '50s.

My brother reminded me of an incident that happened when we were little. We went to a game with my father in either the '56 or '57 season, I can't remember which. Bruce was 4 or 5, and I was 6 or 7. At some point during the game we told him we had to go to the toilet. Some of you may remember that the whizzers were on the north side of the stands - off to the left of this picture. My dad didn't want to take us all the way to the toilet - either because it was too much trouble or he didn't want to miss a lot of the game - so, he took us under the stands where the green 'X' appears over Paul's right shoulder.

It was cold that night so we were wearing jackets, caps and gloves. We crept into the dark under the stands while our dad watched - one eye on us and the other on what he could see of the game through the stands. It seems like there were dewberry vines under there because it was a struggle to take care of our business.

When we finished, we walked back out of the dark toward our dad. He started helping Bruce put on his gloves and said, "Where's your other glove?" Well, he lost it in the vines under the stands. My dad saw right away he couldn't find that glove - too dark, too many vines, too much effort. He said something like, "Oh, forget it. Let's go watch the game."

I didn't care for his casual approach to personal possessions. Many 5-year-old children have a strong sense of integrity about things, and I was one of them. I told my father that we needed to look for that missing glove. He said no, and I could tell he meant it, so the best I could do was make him give me a solemn promise to look for the glove the next morning when it was daylight. I don't think anybody knew about this little drama - nobody sitting in the stands above us or walking behind the stands paid us any attention.

The next day we drove up to the stadium, walked right to the spot and found the glove. I felt vindicated. That's probably why I remember the incident.

Needville Game Program, 1949 Season

I found this program in J. B. Kachinski's scrapbook, which he lent me so I could scan it. I took a quick glance at this program and was overjoyed because it came from the '49 football season. It's the earliest example of a Gator program that I've come across. I did notice that W. H. Bailey was listed as the coach, but I thought it must be a mistake. I had lots of other things to scan, so I moved on.

A little later I looked at it more closely. I noticed some of the boys on the Sugar Land roster weighed less than 100 lbs. Some didn't have numbers, and Kenneth Hall is listed as a reserve. Then I noticed the opponents were the Little Jay Birds! The home team is listed as the Little Gators! The penny finally dropped, and I realized it was a Junior Varsity/Junior High game.

Many, many thanks to J. B. for letting me scan the contents of his scrapbook. There is lots of good stuff in it.

Sugar Land vs Orchard Game Program, 1950

This isn't the earliest varsity game program I have. I have images of the program for the first game of the '50 season, which Magnolia hosted and won 30 - 0. It doesn't have color graphics, so I chose this one because it does have color graphics and the Orchard game was played in Sugar Land. The Gators had launched themselves on a winning streak by the time they won this game 26 - 0 late in the '50 season.

Notice the Orchard roster. All the players have Czech surnames, unless Chalupa is an Hispanic name. I wonder if the Sugar Land Hruzeks were related to the Orchard Hruzeks.

I found this program in J. B. Kachinski's scrapbook, which he let me scan.

Conga Line At The Football Dance After The 1953 Season

This photo comes from the '54 Gator yearbook. Somebody should have called the police - it looks like they were having too much fun.

Reyes Children in front of the Sugar Land Meat Market, 1951

This photo is in the Fort Bend Museum Collection. The caption says, "(p)hotograph of three children standing on the northeast corner of a Meat Market building taken in Sugar Land in 1951. The three children are identified as Manuel Reyes III, Raymond Reyes, and Mary Jane Reyes. I should probably know them since they are just a few years older than I am, but I don't recall them.

The Meat Market stood in front of the refinery, just a few yards down the street (westward) from the Post Office and Bank, shown in the picture below.

Exterior Picture of Old Post Office

After last week's postings I realized I should have included an exterior shot of the old Post Office north of Highway 90A. This picture comes from the Laperouse-Krehmeier family. It was taken in 1952, just before the old Imperial Sugar and Sugarland Industries Offices were torn down. (They had already moved to the upper floor of the shopping center south of Highway 90A.)

The front of the building housed the bank and the Post Office. The bank was on the left. The Post office on the right. They were hardly bigger than a good-sized room, as you can tell from the interior shots of the Post Office below. Each had an entrance from the raised wooden walkway - note the separate doors. The principal area of the building was occupied by Imperial Sugar and Sugarland Industries. Their offices had separate entrances off the street.

The sign on the front of the building is in Spanish. It says in part, "No Se Puede Sentarse En Este Corredor." ("Don't sit here!") There is another prohibition in Spanish, but most of it is hidden by the handrail. The car in the middle has a license plate holder with lettering that says, "
Alligators - Sugar Land, Texas" on it. The car on the right has a football shaped decal in the back window saying, "Sugar Land Gators." No doubt it was green.

(Update) I almost forgot to mention something Pam Helmcamp Clark sent me: "
On the subject of the Post Office. My father Boots Helmcamp came to Sugar Land when he was around 14 yrs of age and went to work in the Bank there. He went to the post office to obtain a box to receive his mail and Mrs Iiams gave him Box 1---which was designated for the post master/mistress at that time. I still have that Box in my name---which I believe is now about 85+ years."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

General Mercantile Staff, 1930s

I'm not precisely sure where I got this scan, or the date of the photograph, but this picture shows the staff of the General Mercantile Store sometime in the early 1930s. (That's my best guess based on the staff's clothes.) I recognize Ted Harman, W. T. Matlage, L. J. Formigue and Myrtle Dunkerly Stabler. Maybe someone else can help with the others.

(Update) Jackie James has identified E. O. Guenther. He's the fifth person from the left in the second row. (He's wearing a very light colored suit.) The man on his right is Ted Harman. I recognized him when I first saw this picture. I've checked another picture, and I think the man kneeling in the first row on the far-left is Paul Schumann.

The location is the first floor of the store. It looks like the grocery counter is on the right and the dry goods department is on the left. As someone has pointed out, the grocery counter was NOT self-service. Customers asked a clerk behind the counter for an item and he/she would get it off the self, or pour it out of a container, or dip it out of a barrel, etc. If the item was on a high shelf, the clerk used a 'grabber-on-a-stick' to get it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sugar Land Post Office

The Laperouse-Krehmeier family photo collection includes these pictures of the old Sugar Land Post Office - the one located in the Imperial Offices that once stood north of Highway 90A in front of the refinery. Mrs. Laperouse worked in the Post Office for years. I'm not sure of the date, but I think these were taken in the late '40s or early '50s.

The first two show the interior of the small room behind the customer window. Carrolle Smith Rome is the woman on the left in the first picture. Mrs. Iiams appears in the second photo. The third shows customers in front of the window. I should be able to identify most of these people, but I can't. The only person I can name with certainty is Lillian Grohman, who is standing in the left-hand corner.

This last picture comes from The Mirror and was published in 1960. (It's not very clear, but it's the best I've got.) It shows Mrs. Iiams at the end of her career as Post Mistress. She is standing in the Post Office located in the shopping center on the south side of Highway 90A. I assume it was shot through the customer window. The mail boxes are on the right. There was also a door into the mail room on the right just by the boxes. My grandmother Rachuig worked in the Post Office for a while in the 1950s.

Mrs. Iiams was quite a character. My brother has a good story about her imperious way of dealing with customers. I remember that she scandalized the town by wearing short-shorts in public when she was in her 70s. My how times have changed.

1st & 2nd Grade Pictures of Dulles Class of '60

The Rozelle family photo collection contains photographs of the first graduating class of Dulles High School, i.e. the Class of 1960. Of course they show only the Sugar Land contingent of that class, but I wanted to post these photos because the Class of '60 is a significant link between SLHS and DHS.

The photos show them in the 1st & 2nd grades. I assume there were other 1st & 2nd grade classes for which T. C. did not have photos, because some key people are missing. I could be wrong. Maybe some children were sick the day the photos were taken. Maybe their families moved into town later.

First Grade Photo (1948/9 School Year)

Second Grade Photo (1949/50 School Year) with Annotations on Back

Young Pups in 1954

Jerry & Jonelle Cooper lent me their '54 Gator yearbook, so I could scan some football information. I noticed some other interesting photos and decided to scan them. Here are four showing some old-timers when they were just young pups. Pretty amusing.

Chuzzy looks spiffy in his bow tie. Mr. Ernest is all business with the pencil behind his ear. Jim Gary's tie is snazzy, and notice the FFA patch on Jack Neal's coat. (Hmm - maybe that isn't an FFA patch. It has something to do with ag because Jack was SLHS's ag teacher that year.)

Miss Nema

The Houston Post article on Sugar Land published in March, 1952 included a photo of Miss Nema Shepherd. (Recall the earlier entry showing Drs. Jenkins, Slaughter & Wheeler on the steps of the clinic.) Anyone who knew Miss Nema knows The Post had to include her picture in the article. She ran the hospital with a very firm hand - so I'm told. (I wonder why she was called Miss Nema although she was married to Bob Shepherd.)

People always remember men, like Gus Ulrich, W. E. White & Jim Guyer, who were masters of their domains, but Sugar Land also had women, like Mrs. Iiams & Miss Nema, who were mistresses of theirs.