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Monday, March 28, 2011

Sugar Land High's Gator Banner

I went to the old Auditorium today to take a picture of old Sugar Land High School's Gator banner. Ron Miller wanted a picture for his memoir of Sugar Land High football in the early 1950s. Here's what it looks like today:

Here's what it looked like in times past:

Earliest Known Picture of Banner (1940)

Picture from 1946/7 School Year

Picture from 1947 Houston Fat Stock Show & Rodeo Parade

Picture from Fall of 1946 at Kempner Field
(Oops, I made a mistake. I got a note from Marjorie Hauerland Polasek saying she is holding the Texas Flag. Esther Vavrecka Seely is holding the banner.)

An Aerial of Mayfield Park in the 1920s

This aerial view shows the north side of Sugar Land in the 1920s. You see The Hill to the left and Mayfield Park in the middle & right. It was known as the Quarters in those days.

I think that's M. R. Wood campus standing in the middle of the horse shoe created by Oyster Creek.

Imperial Boulevard is visible in the upper right-hand corner.

By the way, I think Bob Laperouse took this picture. A pilot took him up in an open-cockpit plane to take the picture - & several others. (Maybe a member of the Laperouse family can set me straight on this.)

Brookside In Its Infancy

I wish I had the original aerial photo. This one comes from a Belknap Realty brochure that Jackie James let me scan. (Many thanks to her.) Although it lacks the quality of an original, this reproduction gives you a good picture of Sugar Land's development in the early 1960s. (I don't have an exact date for this photo.)

You can see at the top that the Southwest Freeway doesn't extend past Sugar Creek Boulevard. In fact, Sugar Creek doesn't exist. There is nothing but pasture land east of Eldridge Road. (You can see the 2nd Laura Eldridge Hospital & the Methodist Church, but nothing else sits on Eldridge Road, or KPRC Road as it was known then.)

The back of Venetian Estates is undeveloped - in fact, Savoy doesn't exist yet.

Brookside is open land except for development starting on Azalea, Bluebonnet, & Borden.

I threw in the 2nd picture to prove that cotton fields covered Brookside long ago. It shows a crop growing in the field between the drainage canal & the end of Venice St. (I don't have a date for this photo either, but it's probably several years earlier than the aerial photo.)

2nd Circle of Sugar Land School, Late 1940s

I don't know who took this picture, but I like its esthetic qualities. I like the dramatic clouds with the dark contrast of the tree on the left.

You see what we used to call the '2nd circle' of the old school. We weren't accurate in our terminology because the two circles were actually semi-circles. The 1st circle around the auditorium consisted of school cottages for the lower grades. A covered walkway linked the stand-alone buildings. The 2nd circle consisted of identical cottages & walkways for the upper grades. They looped around both sides of the gym.

In this photo you see the east side of the 2nd semi-circle, consisting of two schoolroom cottages & the larger home economics lab on the far right. The gym is in front of the smoke stack.

SLISD upgraded the 2nd circle in 1953. They built new classrooms in the vacant space in the foreground. They extended the gym southward into the semi-circle. They built a new high school complex behind the buildings in the background. (They also added a new cafeteria behind the first circle.) Of course, this is now the Lakeview Elementary campus & looks much, much different.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Items from The Fort Bend Mirror - May 11th, 1967

I want to thank Rick Kirkpatrick for providing these images from The Fort Bend Mirror. You'll see pictures from the opening day of the Fort Bend National Little League season, comprising teams from Sugar Land & Stafford. You get some good views of Fred Baker Field. It stands alone on what would become the City Park on 7th Street. There's just one field, no pool, no stands. (Spectators brought their own folding chairs.)

Another big news item was the Fort Bend ISD Rodeo. You'll see pictures of the parade through Sugar Land plus an article which appeared in The Viking Shield, Dulles High's student newspaper printed as a supplement in the Mirror. The Shield spotlighted 4 seniors that week (Diane Villareal, Martha Suhr, Mike Luna & Johnny Medina) & reported Dulles baseball results. Ray Valdez was on a hot streak.

The Sugar Land Girls Scouts had a camp out, which got coverage with a short article & a couple of pictures.

There was also a very short article saying the City was considering a zoning amendment for a medical clinic & center near the northwest corner of Lakeview & Eldridge Road. I guess it didn't pass - or the plan fell through if it did. And finally, notice the Sugar Land State Bank ad, showing the original configuration of the bank building (now Frost Bank).

Link to album of Mirror images

Imperial Dairy Messenger - March, 1940

For many years Sugarland Industries operated a printing company in the old Salvage Building on (what was then) Sugar Land Street east of Main. I've posted in the past several items they printed, including The Texas Industrial News & the Campus Chatter, SLHS's student newspaper.

I found this item in T. C. Rozelle's archive of documents. It's a promotional pamphlet published by the Imperial Dairy & Creamery, located on the west side of town off Ulrich Street. T. C. had 4 editions of the publication, so it may not have lasted very long. I presume WWII ended many of the non-essential items they published.

Link to album of images

Sugar Land Grocery, 1950s & Early '60s

My thanks to Buddy & Billie Blair for letting me scan the first photo, which shows Buddy's mother during a 'dull moment' at a checkout counter in the grocery store. Three items caught my eye: 1) the wooden frame device to pull items down the check-out counter - no electric conveyer belt; 2) the old hand-operated, charge-account box - ancient predecessor to a credit-card swiper; and, 3) the old cash register.

My thanks to Rick Kirkpatrick for the second photo from The Fort Bend Mirror. It shows the new frozen food case installed at the store in 1960. I think this may have stood on the east wall (adjoining the Western Auto), or it may have stood against the front (north) wall past the plate glass windows. It looks to me as though the new dairy case stood against the wall space west of the meat counter (on the south side of the store).

Article & Photo from The Houston Post - October, 1953

My thanks to the Chuzzy Jenkins family for this scan of an article & photo published in The Houston Post in October, 1953. The article & photo aren't topically connected. The article announced W. H. Louviere's appointment to the Presidency of Imperial Sugar after I. H. Kempner, Jr.'s death earlier in the month.

The photo shows Charlie ('Cholly') White & Tom James presenting Evelyn Garnoski with a bon-voyage gift. She was that year's Fort Bend County Fair Queen & was soon leaving on a trip to the State Fair in Dallas.

Mrs. Moye

Dot Hightower's archive included this photo of Mrs. Moye (I never knew her first name) with Sweet Pea Gandy. I'll bet this was taken at a Quarterback Club event.

I don't know what her title was, but Mrs. Moye ran the Sugar Land cafeteria, which stands today on the campus of Lakeview Elementary. I'm uncertain about when she started & when she retired, but she was a lifer. I'm reasonably certain she continued working several years after the consolidation in 1959. She lived in a white, wood-frame house off Highway 6 - just west of where Hightower High School now stands.

Newspaper Article on 1957 Gator Band

My thanks to Dot Hightower & her daughter Scotty for this clip. Judging by the type face, it comes from the Texas Coaster published sometime in the spring of 1957. Read the article to the end, & you'll find out how Jim & Maxene Gary met.

Gas Explosion In Stafford - February, 1964

My thanks to Rick Kirkpatrick for this clip from The Fort Bend Mirror published on February 27, 1964. Several of my friends remember this event; we've compared recollections. I was in Sugar Land that night & remember hearing it and seeing a very bright glow in the east. I figured the world was coming to an end.

On the other hand we heard the roar from Meyer Speedway if the wind was blowing right.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sugar Land Telephone Book (June, 1960)

The Helmcamp family had this copy of the 1960 phone book, which they let me scan. I'm grateful to them because the phone book is a good resource to determine where people lived.

I'd like to find a phone book from the early-to-mid 1950s, which shows the operator-assisted numbers - the "number please" era. I know I've seen one in the last few years.

Link to 1960 Sugar Land Telephone Book

In case you missed it, here's a copy of the first Sugar Land telephone directory from 1929.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dulles High Band Videos

I thought some of you may have missed these band videos made for last year's 50th anniversary of the Dulles High Marching Band. I think my brother Bruce made all of them, or nearly all of them. They are all short - just a couple of minutes long.

In this first one he narrates a short history of the Band.

Link to video of Viking Band History

This next clip shows a performance during the Edna game at Kempner Stadium in the fall of 1960. (It has no sound track.)

Link to video of 1960 band performance (Jim Gary, director)

This one shows a band contest in 1963 or '62 at Katy. I think it's probably 1963. I was a freshman in the band in 1964, and the music isn't familiar to me. (It's very faint, so you may want to turn up your volume to hear it.) Maybe another old-timer can settle the date question.

Link to video of 1963 or '64 band contest performance (Jim Gary, director)

Here's an undated clip from the very early '70s showing a band lead by Dulles High's second band director, James Larson. Note the change in marching style. (Sound track added.)

Link to video of 1970 or '71 band performance (James Larson, director)

This clip shows a band led by the third director at Dulles, David Lambert, who was Jim Gary's son-in-law.

Link to video of undated band contest performance (David Lambert, director)

The next video shows the band led by Bill Duggan, Dulles High's third director.

Link to video of 1985 band contest performance in Alief's Crump Stadium (Bill Duggan, director)

This final clip shows a more current clip of the band led by Joe Pruitt, the current (4th) director.

Link to video of 2007 band contest performance at Mercer Stadium (Joe Pruitt, director)

Gator Boys Basketball Game, 1958

Fred Melton, Jr. lent me a box of old Dulles & Sugar Land game films a couple of months ago. All but two of the 25 reels were Dulles football & basketball games from the 1960s. (I'll post a complete list in a couple of weeks.) One of the other reels is film of the '52 Sugar Land vs Hempstead Regional Championship football game. I'm having it digitized now. More on it later.

The other reel shows a Sugar Land High School boys basketball game played in 1958. I can't identify the opposing team, but it was a home game (i.e., played in the gym located on the Lakeview Elementary School campus).

Here's a short clip. The entire film is 18-minutes long. Some of you have already contacted me about a DVD of the entire film. If anyone else is interested, email me or post a comment on this blog, and I'll send you more info.

Link to video

Bob Armstrong

I want to thank Jackie James for sending me this information on Robert M. Armstrong. I won't say a lot about his life because I've included a good obituary in this entry. Those of you who knew him will remember him as an exceptional man. If you didn't know him, you'll get an idea of his character from the obituary & statement of faith.

If you haven't read his history of Sugar Land, I recommend it highly. I think it's out of print, but you may find copies on eBay or at your local branch of the Fort Bend County Library.

I've included two pictures of Bob. The first comes from 1959 and shows a publicity photo for local newspapers. Imperial was celebrating a record number of days without an industrial accident. Bob is on the left. Robert Laperouse (left) & T. C. Rozelle (right) pose with him.

I don't have the date for the second picture, but it must come from Bob's retirement years. He was still involved with Imperial after he retired as company President.

Link to Bob Armstrong Obituary

Link to Bob Armstrong Profession of Faith

Sugar Land Motor Company

An earlier post provoked some questions about the Sugar Land Motor Company. The principal question was its various locations over the years. Bruce had an article that appeared in an edition of The Fort Bend Mirror printed in 1956. The newspaper was celebrating the 4th anniversary of Sugar Land's 'new' shopping center. They included stories about various enterprises, including the Motor Company.

Bruce also had a couple of Sanborn maps showing the town's layout in 1913 & 1926. The Sugar Land Heritage Society has several maps covering the town's development over many decades. They were made for insurance purposes, so they show good detail about various buildings. I think they are fascinating.

The 1913 map doesn't show the south side of the Highway, but it does show a building labeled 'Auto HQ' at the front of the refinery adjacent to Oyster Creek. This may have been the Imperial/Industries motor pool. (No commercial enterprise existed at that time.)

The 1926 map shows the Motor Company on the south side of Highway 90A roughly where The Palms Theater stood. (Gus describes the building as a corral.) Note the structure labeled 'Filling Station.'

As the article says, the Motor Company (including the filling station) moved to the southwest corner of Brooks Street & Highway 90A in 1941. You'll get a good view of this location in the photo on the cover of the Texas Food Merchant. (Click here.)

Link to an image of Gus Stabler's article in The Fort Bend Mirror

Link to a text version of the Stabler article

Link to 1913 Sandborn Map

Link to 1926 Sandborn Map

Bill Sterns Sports Newsreel

I listen to a lot of old radio programs and came across Bill Sterns. I don't know if he was ever on television; if he was, I don't remember him. You don't have to be a sports fan to find amusement in his hyper-animated delivery. I wish I could find the program in which he profiles the American miler, Glenn Cunningham. You wouldn't believe how worked up he gets telling that story.

I think this program aired in either 1945 or '46.

Link to audio of Bill Sterns program (15 minutes)

Volunteering & Priscilla Coleman Harden Article

One of my classmates, Priscilla Coleman Harden (DHS '68), is very involved in local volunteer & charity work. I wanted to give her (& volunteering) a boost by posting the article below. You'll see several worthy charities with which she's involved.

I know of several civic & historical groups who'd also appreciate volunteer help. If you have some spare time and want to do something useful, send me a note or post comment on this blog, and I'll give what info I have.

Link to newspaper article

Construction of Sugar Land Gym in 1932

I borrowed these pictures from Mark Schumann. They show construction of the school gym, now part of Lakeview Elementary. They start with the ground-breaking ceremony performed in 1932 (I think). The two men in white suits are W. T. Eldridge (with hat & sun glasses) and M. R. Wood. Mark has labeled Mr. A. H. Weth on the far right. I recognize Gus Ulrich who is standing in front of the women in the picture. He's wearing dark trousers, white shirt & tie, but no coat. I can't recognize any of the women.

The photos show construction of the gym in its first configuration. The basketball court ran east-west parallel with the swimming pool & was half the size it is now. There was a small set of stands in a gallery along the south wall of the building. You'll see it in the last photo, which comes from the '53 yearbook. When the high school was expanded in 1953, the gym was extended southward to create its current configuration. (The basketball court was rotated 90 degrees so it ran north-south, as it does now.)

Link to slide show

Texas Food Merchant (April, 1951)

My thanks to Shirley Laird for lending me this copy of the Texas Food Merchant magazine, which features Imperial Sugar Company. It describes Imperial in the early '50s & includes several good pictures, showing refinery operations, the Imperial Quartet, the sales department & company management.

The link below will take you to scans of the magazine pages. You can enlarge them if you want to get a closer look at the pictures or read the text. When you get to a page you want to enlarge, click the magnifying glass icon near the upper-right corner of the image. Pan & scroll the image by holding your mouse button down and dragging the image. Close the magnified image to move to the next page.

Texas Food Merchant (April, 1951)