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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Imperial Sugar Company Refinery Implosion

Johnson Development imploded two buildings on the Imperial Refinery site in Sugar Land today (12/19/2010). This is a 10-minute video of the event. We will have a longer, more polished video soon.

This one shows the demolition from 3 perspectives. I've put in some descriptive info, so you'll know what happened. Bruce captured some very good footage of the sudden (unplanned) collapse of the Furnace Building. I haven't seen any that's nearly as close to the building. (Most photographers & videographers were caught off guard). If you look closely, you'll see a worker scurrying away from the building as it collapses. Watch for him in the lower right of the frame as he appears out of the dust cloud.

My thanks to Kevin Lampson for letting me use one of his clips. (I don't have access to all the footage we shot, so I needed to borrow from him.)

Imperial Refinery Implosion 12/19/2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fort Bend Mirror Post-Carla Edition, 1961

My thanks to Shirley Laird for lending me this issue of The Fort Bend Mirror. It's devoted to the aftermath of Hurricane Carla. Notice the edition of The Viking Shield. I didn't know Ed Scanlin suffered a broken ankle in the '61 football season. I never would have guessed that Mary Louise Court's nickname was 'Toots.' My grandmother appears in the Lost & Found column.

(Update) I received the following note from David Wickersham (Davenport). I thought it was a hoot. "
Thanks for the post. Ed did break his leg in 61. I lived down the street from the Eldridge Hospital and visited him several times. He was getting cabin fever after a few days, so some of the kids, I think Carolin Triola was one of them, snuck him out the window and I got in his bed and covered up like I was him sleeping. They took him to the Dairy Queen for a treat. While he was gone I got busted by the nurse, I think her name was Ms. Neema. We had a good laugh but she did not think it funny. Big lecture. Ed, being the artist he was, drew a city scape on his cast. When the itching got to be more than he could stand, he cut the door to one of the buildings and made some hinges so he could open the door and stick a coat hanger inside to scratch. It stunk real bad when he opened that door. Best Regards, and Merry Christmas."

M. R. Wood Letterman's Jackets

My thanks to Raymond Freeman who sent me these pictures of two M. R. Wood letterman's jackets. The first two show his 1962 District Champion jacket.

The next two show his 1963 Semi-Finals jacket.

I think I'm correct in saying Coach Hollis Felder and assistant Leon Mooring led the Panthers to 8 consecutive district championships in the late '50s and early '60s.

SLHS Campus Chatter from December 14, 1928

I managed to post this exactly 82-years after it was issued. My thanks to the Rozelle family for this item. Note the following:

  • The football team had their end-of-season banquet at The Imperial Inn. I. H. Kempner, Jr. gave a miniature gold football to the MVP. Unfortunately, we don't know who got it because that paragraph was clipped from the paper.
  • The basketball team began practicing in the old railroad depot as they prepared for the forthcoming season. (There's much more about them in future issues.)
  • Several former SLHS students were attending college. A surprising number were pursuing advanced education and reported to be progressing well.
  • Imperial had a 'Sugar Day' the previous week. The public was invited to tour the refinery and take home a jug of liquid sugar.
  • "Corney Turns The Trick" was postponed, and there were just 8 more shopping days till Christmas.

Schwalbe Concert Program, 1965

I'm sorry I missed this concert. I know some of the prodigies listed on the program. I'm sure the music was sublime.

My thanks to the Helmcamp Family for this item.

M. R. Wood & Arcola School Pictures, 1962

T.C. Rozelle had a copy of a prospectus promoting a Fort Bend ISD bond issue for refurbishing and expanding several schools 1962. The brochure included these pictures of M. R. Wood. I have very few pictures of the school, so I thought I'd post them.

The brochure included these photos of the Arcola School.

Imperial Sugar Company Refinery

I found a couple of items relating to the Imperial Refinery site. I thought they were relevant since Johnson Development will raze two large buildings this Sunday (December 19th).

I thought at first that one of the buildings being demolished was the Melt House, but now I know I'm wrong. Regardless, I thought I'd post the following brochure, touting the New Melt House built sometime in the early 1970s. T. C. Rozelle had a copy of this brochure in his personal archive.

He also had this newspaper article announcing significant development plans in 1948. I don't know which paper this came from or exactly when it came out, but Imperial was undertaking a major expansion for the post-war boom.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Two Promotional Items

"Images of America: Sugar Land" was released last week. I've posted promotional info on this blog in the past.
Here's a link to the information. You can buy it at the Barnes & Noble here in Sugar Land - in fact, the authors Bruce Kelly & Jane Goodsill, will sign books from 1 -3 on December 18th (Saturday) at the book store.

You can help out the Sugar Land Heritage Society by buying the book directly from them. (Cost is $21.95 per copy.) They receive a full royalty from direct purchases. Call 281 494-0261 or email Eleanor Barton at ebarton@slheritage.org.


Kristin Lytle is preparing a commemorative cookbook for The Friends of Old Sugar Land. She's collecting recipes, photos and any other relevant documents anyone wants to contribute. Info appears below. Please forward these details to any old Sugar Landers you think may be interested.

Friends of Old Sugar Land
20th Anniversary
Recipes and Recollections

Friends of Old Sugar Land will celebrate 20 years in 2011!

There will be a 20th Anniversary Recipes and Recollections Book for this special occasion. All content of the first Friends of Old Sugar Land Recipes and Recollections cookbook (1997) will be included. That was a fun little book but this book will be a hard bound keepsake, and a great resource for the best home cooking! I am really excited that local Historian, Chuck Kelly, and I will be partnering together to produce this book. Please submit your favorite family recipes, copies of old photos and family stories. This is open to all generations of Old Sugar Landers.

Submit your recipes, copies of photos, stories by email, fax or mail to:


FAX 281 232-8301

Kristin Lytle, Hometown America, Inc.
4665 Sweetwater Blvd. #105
Sugar Land, Tx. 77479

January 31, 2011 DEADLINE DATE

Join Friends of Old Sugar Land on Facebook!

An Amusing Dog Story from The Fort Bend Mirror, October 21, 1970

Julian C. "Buster" Court Veteran's Day Tribute

My neighbors (John & Louise Linscomb) attended a Veteran's Day Tribute hosted by the Sugar Land Rotary Club. Buster Court was an honoree. (Actually, the Club has created an award in his name.) I'd always known he was a survivor of the Bataan Death March, but I didn't know his full story. The link below will take you to a slide show of the event's program. (You can control the page-flip rate by moving your mouse button over the images and clicking the buttons that appear.)

Many thanks to the Linscombs for giving me this item.

Program from Veteran's Day Tribute in Sugar Land

Monday, November 22, 2010

SLHS Campus Chatter from November 2, 1928

I wanted to post this early last month so it would appear 82 years after its original issue, but I forgot. There's an article about the Boy Scout Troop plus another about a new harmonica club at school. Much of the newspaper is about the Gators' 2nd football season which was winding down.

They played the Sealy Tigers that coming Friday at Kempner Park. The article says last year's game was called due to a fight on the field. Another article recounts the Gators' record up to that point. They lost to Eagle Lake in the opener at Sugar Land (12-0). The Houston Cubs (described as a junior college team) beat them (12-0). They tied Pasadena (0-0) in Pasadena. They next traveled to Galveston where Kirwin trounced them (46-0). The previous Friday they motored 105 miles to Flatonia for a win (13-12).

Considering the state of roads and highways back then, they did a lot of traveling.

Link to Picassa Album of Campus Chatter, November 2, 1928

Rice vs A&M, November 15, 1958

One last A&M/football item. It's a short clip of the 1958 Rice - A&M game I found in our family's home movies. I remember my father taking his camera with him. I wish he'd taken more movies of college football games, but this is it. My dad and I rode to the game with my aunt, uncle and cousin.
We sat in the upper east stands at Rice Stadium just above the corps of cadets.

The first college game I can remember is the 1956 A&M - Arkansas game in College Station. I was bowled over by the whole thing: the immaculate green grass on the field, bright lights (it was a night game), vivid colors of the uniforms and the large crowd.

Link to video of Rice vs A&M, 1958

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sugar Refinery Historical Plaque, Dedicated on February 13th, 1952

I found this collection of information in the Helmcamp, Rozelle and Jenkins archives. It's reasonably self-explanatory, so I won't add anything. My brother Bruce took the recent pictures of the plaque and surrounding area in front of the Char House.

The man speaking in the first picture & the picture in The Houston Post newspaper article is I. H. Kempner, Sr. Sorry about the magnification of the newspaper article, but that's as good as it goes on Google's blog site.

The Northmen's Script, April 1, 1963

Sugar Land Junior High School published a student newspaper in my days there. Rick Kirkpatrick, editor-in-chief when he was in the 8th grade in the 1962/3 school year, gave me this copy. I truly appreciate his donation.
I hope I don't spoil anything by pointing out this issue hit the news stands on April 1st.

The link below leads to a Picassa slide show of the newspaper. The page turn speed is set automatically to 3 seconds if you turn on the auto slide show option. I can't do anything about the default setting. However, you can move your mouse pointer over the window and invoke a task bar which has a pause button. Or, you can also slow down the page-turn speed with the + and - buttons. Or, you can use the manual-advance button (arrow).

Picassa Slide Show of The Northmen's Script, April 1, 1963

Texas AMC & The University of Texas

Since it's Thanksgiving week, I thought I'd post some items relating to A&M and UT. I come from an Aggie family, so I have some personal items relating to A&M. I was able to find a couple of interesting online items relating to UT.

My father began his first semester at A&M in the fall of 1942. (He graduated from SLHS in the spring of 1942.) Here are a couple of pictures I found in my grandmother's scrapbook. They were taken at my grandparents' home at 811 Rat Row in Sugar Land. (Rat Row was the town's affectionate name for Imperial Blvd.) My dad is in his cadet's uniform. The second picture shows him with Walter Wappler on the left and Bill Krehmeier on the right.

Mark Schumann has posted a picture taken on very nearly the same date. It's a group shot of his grandparents' family at their home on The Hill section of Sugar Land. (I think it was 4th Street, but I could be wrong.) The photo shows his father Herbert on the far left. His grandparents (Mr. & Mrs. Max Schumann) are standing on the steps. His uncle William is the youngest boy. Then comes Max, Jr. and Robert. Herbert is wearing a US Army uniform - he had been inducted by then. The other two boys are wearing their A&M cadet uniforms. I haven't made a close comparison, but they should be identical to the one my dad is wearing.

Of course, the big game occurs during the Thanksgiving holiday. Here are a few programs I found on a great Web site covering SWC football. I've shown these because of their relevance and the artwork which I really like.

The Web site I mentioned had a video clip of the 1956 Texas vs A&M game. (See the link below.) I remember that Thanksgiving. As usual, we were at my grandmother Rachuig's home. We kids played outside (it was a beautiful autumn day) rather than listen to the game. I remember going in the house to ask about the score, and my father and uncle said the Aggies were ahead. They mentioned Jack Pardee's long kick-off return. The final score was 37 - 21 in favor of the Aggies.

I really like the fact that Kern Tips narrates the clip. I have fond memories of listening to his voice on radio broadcasts of SWC football games, sponsored by Humble Oil & Refining.

Link to video clip of 1956 Turkey Day Game.

YouTube also has a video clip of the 1963 game in which the Horns avoided an upset to claim a National Championship. Once again, Kern Tips does the narration.

One last item I liked. It's a short video explaining how Bevo got his name. The story is a little different than the way I'd always heard it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sugar Land Boys Have Reunion at Pearl Harbor During WWII

I've heard several stories about Sugar Land boys finding each other on the other side of the world during WWII. I know Herbert Shelton ran into T. C. Rozelle somewhere in the New Guinea theater of the Pacific war. Wayburn Hall (SLHS '43) has a similar story. He was in a large training camp in New Caledonia (or somewhere in that area) and had a day pass. He and a buddy in his unit were walking through the camp to enjoy some R&R, when they ran into T.C. Rozelle! They had no idea they were anywhere near each other. T.C. (SLHS '34) asked Wayburn what he was going to do, and Wayburn said "Nothing much." T.C. said, "Well, it's Sunday. We're going to church." I know T. C. was put there for a reason because two Marines on liberty were bound to get into trouble.

I went to the 1999 Gator reunion and talked with Stanley Gideon (SLHS '40). He was very funny and told me a story I'd never heard before. Stanley said he was a USN pilot, who flew cargo planes. One day he landed at the big airbase on Okinawa. As he taxied to the hanger, he saw a guy walking on the taxi way. He saw him from the back, but he said to himself, "I know that guy!" He hopped out of the plane and found the fellow, and it was my dad! Stanley said, "Charles Kelly!! What brings you here?!" My dad told him that he was in the postal administration. Stanley said, "Hell man, you've got an important job! We all want our letters from home to get to us! Keep up the good work!"

I found the following clipping among my grandmother's things. I vaguely recall my father talking about this, but I'd forgotten it. It's a small world after all.

(Update) Many thanks to Jeff Krehmeier for asking his father, Bill Krehmeier about this reunion. (Bill is the man standing in the middle of the back row.) He said the reunion was planned. They had to coordinate with Tom McDade (standing on the right in the back row).

I remember a few things my father told me about Tom. He was a couple of years older than my dad and graduated from SLHS in 1940. He studied physics at Baylor, but enlisted in the Navy before graduating. Baylor (& other universities) had a program where service men could complete their degrees by correspondence courses while they served in the armed forces. Tom was on an LST or LSI in the Pacific and completed his degree while he sailed the seas. My father said that was a real accomplishment and something to admire. I agree - actually, it's incredible.

T.J. Williams, Sugar Land Resident Killed in WWII

T. J. Williams (SLHS '40) was killed in the Pacific in 1942. He is the boy on the right in the first picture. (The boy on the left is unknown.) He played on the '38 Gator football team and appears in the team picture on the far right (#29).

His family lived at the Humble Camp next to my mother. My aunt has said his nick name was 'Tikus.' My mother said he was very nice - she remembered him as being kind to the little kids next door.

I talked with B.I. Webb about him. We thought he may have died on the USS Houston, but I've determined that's not true. (I still don't know where he died.) There was some natural confusion because the Japanese didn't release information about captured sailors from the Houston for about 9 months. People may have confused casualties because they were announced at the same time but occurred under very different circumstances.

My mother told an interesting story that I'd never heard before. She said she was home by herself one day in 1942. The phone rang, so she answered it. The caller was a Western Union operator who had tried several times to reach the Williams family (next door) but couldn't. The operator said she had very important news for them - their son had been killed. I know this sounds cruel, but that's the way they did things back then. They would notify families immediately by telegram. I'm sure they would have sent a paper copy to follow, but they probably had restrictions on gas and tires, so they wouldn't drive out to the country to deliver just one telegram. They'd probably do that when they had several messages to deliver. Of course, the military would also send someone out to talk with them later.

Anyway, my mother was 10 or 11-years old, so she panicked. (The third picture shows her and my aunt around 1940. My mother is on the left.) She knew she couldn't deliver that message, so she asked the operator to hang on while she found an adult. She ran to the neighbors' house on the other side, and the mother of the neighbor family was there. She came over and handled the call and talked to the Williams family when they came home.