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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sugar Land Street & School Names

I thought I'd post pictures of people after whom well-known streets & schools are named. The City of Sugar Land Web site has a page on street names. Click here.

Eldridge Road

William T. Eldridge, Sr., General Manager of Imperial Sugar Company from 1908 -1932 (photo taken c. 1925)

Jess Pirtle Boulevard

Jess Pirtle, engineer & surveyor for Sugarland Industries & founding alderman of the City of Sugar Land in 1959 (photo taken with son Rennie c. 1924)

Ulrich Street

Gus Ulrich, General Manager of Sugarland Industries 1919-1947 (photo taken in mid-1940s )

Marcario Garcia Middle School

Marcario Garcia, Medal of Honor Winner WWII (photo taken with President Truman in 1945)

M. R. Wood Alternative Education Center School

M. R. Wood, Plant Superintendent of Imperial Sugar Refinery (photo date unknown)

Brooks Street

Captain William McCan Brooks, chief of tennant farming, Sugarland Industries 1914-1932 (photo date unknown)

M. R. Wood's Brochure, "How Sugar Is Made"

I found this brochure in T. C. Rozelle's archive. It's not dated, but Imperial must have produced it in the 1920s. It's not short, but if you're interested in the basic steps in sugar refining, you'll want to skim it. I don't think the general scheme changed all that much over the years, even though technical improvements were incorporated in the refinery.

Leon Anhaiser identified the granulators in a picture I posted a few weeks ago. Wood mentions them in the brochure. I wouldn't doubt they are the same ones operating at the time he wrote it.

An interesting point about Mr. Wood - I've seen him mentioned as the chief engineer at Imperial, but he must have been head of the lab/chemistry department. too. He seems to have been a jack-of-all-trades. Kempner and Eldridge appear to have relied on him quite a bit.

Dulles Class of 1961 - 50th Reunion

My thanks to BJ Binford Pitts for sending me this video album of her class's 50th Anniversary Reunion out at her brother Red's place in Fairchilds. I had a great time, but I'm sorry I missed the Code Blue, Miss Hanging Baskets & Mr. Stud Muffin contests! Next time I won't be late for the party.

Link to video album.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dulles High School in the 1960s

I got a note from Mark Schumann (DHS '76) saying the Class of '76 is having a reunion on August 6th from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM at Regal Ranch in Stafford. They've invited the classes of '75 & '77 to attend. If you want to RSVP, send me an email message or post a comment to this blog entry, and I'll get your message to Mark.

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos or memorabilia for '76, so I'll post some ancient history from the school's first decade. (My thanks to Linda Hagler Mosk for these scans.) This first clipping comes from The Fort Bend Mirror, published in May of 1962. The Dulles Band was doing good things even then.

Here are some of my classmates ('68) who were elected home room officers in our freshman year (1964/65).

Here's a program from the Powder Puff football game played in the spring of '67. You can identify the hosses -- they have asterisks by their names.

Here are some of my classmates who were in the Senior Spotlight of The Viking Shield in 1968.

Old Time Sugar Landers

These two clippings come from the quarterly bulletin of the Belknap Brookside Civic Association. (My thanks go to the Laird family for letting me scan them.) They are short interviews with old-timers living in the Brookside area of Sugar Land.

This first is a short, 2002 interview with Tillman Lewis, Sugar Land's long-time dog catcher. (He picked up our family dog once.)

This second is a short interview with the Alaminskys from 2006.

Sugar Land State Bank Burglary, 1967

I don't remember this at all. Thanks to the Laird family for providing the clipping, which comes from The Houston Post.

Assembled Panoramic Pictures

Tommy Laird stitched together the photos I posted last week. Now you can see them as a complete panorama. (I wish Google would allow better magnification, but you can go back to last week's entry to see better detail.)

I don't have an exact date, but this photo must show Sugar Land just a little after 1908, when the Kempners and Eldridge took over the sugar company from Col. Cunningham. I noticed in the last week's photos that the railroad tracks are very close to the road (which would eventually become Highway-90A). In fact you can't really see the tracks, so look closely at the bridges over Oyster Creek.

Here's a passage from Harold Hymen's, "Oleander Odessey," his book on the Kempner family. I.H. Kempner's son Harris had this to say about visiting Sugar Land around the time this photo was taken:

"Harris remembered how he and his father would board the big interurban trolley from Galveston to Houston, then 'we took a taxi cab across town to the Southern Pacific Station, and then we got on the train to Los Angeles -- the Sunset Limited. There was a railroad at Sugar Land and [it] had a gate there. When they knew we were coming, they shut the gate, the train stopped, my father and I got off, they shut the Pullman car door, raised the gate, and off they went. Mr. Eldridge was there to meet us and took us to his big country-style house right in the middle of the sugar company property.'

He also recalled being terror-stricken one night by a 'huge monster getting into the room making an awful noise' -- a passing freight train that sounded close enough to be right in the bedroom with him."

[They stayed with Eldridge in the Ellis Plantation home in front of the refinery, which you can see it in the panorama.]

Thursday, July 21, 2011

DHS Class of '71 - 40th Anniversary Reunion

I got a note last night from Carl Sanders, a '71 graduate of John Foster Dulles High School. He wanted to let everyone know they are having a reunion on August 6th. Here are the details:

Date & Time: August 6, 2011 6-9PM

Location: SWINGIN DOOR in Richmond Texas

Admission: $25 per person - BBQ MUSIC BYOB

I have Carl's email address for RSVPs, but I don't want to put it on this blog & chance he'll get spammed. If you have my email address, contact me & I'll give you his email address. If not, post a comment to this blog & I'll make sure he sees your response.

To pique your interest, I've posted a few photos from the satirical edition of the Dulles student newspaper published on 4/1/1971. (Here's the complete paper - it's pretty funny.)

Viking Relay Court Candidates

Selected photos of '71's Who's Who Graduates

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

People of Sugar Land Over The Years

Dr. & Mrs. Leslie Wheeler with Jonellen & Buddy.

Mr. & Mrs. George Morales, Sr.

M. R. Wood.

I recognize a few people: Nan Miller, Jimmy Miller, Mrs. McFadden, Lillian Grohman, Albert Grohman, Eunice Thomas (?), & Mrs. Archie Milam. (Update) Jackie James confirmed that the woman on the far left is Nan Miller - not Mrs. Pirtle. I wondered if I'd made a mistake, but I didn't recall Mrs. Miller's hair as being that gray.

Haywood & Bertha Davis.

John Nugent, Everett Schrum, Wayne Landin, Matthew Hall, Sam McJunkin. Bottom row: Mitchell Hall & Tom Hamlin. (1961, or '62?)

Jackie James & Leon Anhaiser. (Update) Jackie said the picture was taken at her family's home in 1956.

A Multi-Photo Panorama of Early Sugar Land

I think these photos are segments of a continuous panoramic photo. (Notice the damaged area in the tree on the left-hand side of the 1st photo & the right-hand side of the 2nd.) The Ellis Plantation Home is in front of the refinery, so these pictures date no earlier than 1908.

The camera is located roughly where Bayview Street is now located -- the eastern bank of Oyster Creek south of Highway 90A. (The latter is an unpaved road.)

Notice the Sealy Mattress factory in the 2nd picture. Also notice the water towers located on the refinery site in the 3rd photo. The last photo shows the west bank of Oyster Creek where the beginning of Venice Street is located. (Between Highway 90A & Guenther Street it's just a side walk; the street begins south of Guenther along the creek bank.)

I understand that Colonel Cunningham's plantation home stood somewhere in that area -- out of view on the left of the last photo. Maybe the white shed & fence along Brooks Street were part of his home site?

Interior of The Char House

I found these photos in the Seitz-Plokuda archive. (My thanks to that family.) I think the first photo shows Frank Seitz on an upper floor of the Char House feeding melted sugar into the filter column, which will remove the impurities in the liquid raw sugar. I've visited the Char House several times recently, and I'm pretty sure that's what he's doing.

In the old days, the column would contain bone char. (I don't have a date for these photos.) In later years the column contained diatomaceous earth. Regardless, the liquid sugar would flow down the tall column and the char/earth would remove the impurites.

The filter process relied on gravity drawing the liquid sugar through the filter. I've read somewhere that gravity-flow filtering was obsolete when the Char House was competed in 1925. Refining technology had incorporated infusion techniques by then, which forced the liquid down the column and (I assume) sped up the process. Maybe Leon Anhaiser, or someone else can help me out here.

I think the second photo was taken on the 1st (or a lower) floor of the Char House. Those look like pumps, so maybe they forced the liquid sugar to the upper floors where Mr. Seitz was shown feeding it into the top of the filter column?

(Update) I got this note from Leon Anhaiser explaining the 1st photo: "The picture on the top of the Char filter is a mixer filling device used to wet the bone char with sugar liquor as the filter is being filled with bone char. The char had to be wet before it entered the char filter to avoid dry spots and allow even proper flow. Filter aid was never put in a char filter since it would stop the flow of sugar liquor. Leon"

(Update) I got this note from Leon Anhaiser explaining the 2nd photo: "The second picture is of the granulators. This is where the sugar is tumbled dried as wet sugar entered one end and came out the other end dried. Steam heated air was forced through the drier and evaporated the water from the tumbling sugar crystals. The picture you see is of the sugar feed end. Notice the steam gauge which controlled the heating of the air. Leon"

Sugar Land Volunteer Fire Department

I found these photos of the Sugar Land Volunteer Fire Department in the Anhaiser archive. The first picture was taken in 1948, as indicated by the label. I recognize several faces, but not all of them. I never went in the old fire house, which stood just east of the first Eldridge home by the Char House. The second photo may date from the '50s or '60s. Again, more faces I recognize, but not all of them.

These next photos show the old fire truck ridden by EVERY child in Sugar Land at Christmas time. You see Soapy Borowski and Johnny Plokuda in the first picture. I assume the rides started in 1952, when the 'new' shopping center opened. Maybe the last photo dates from '51 or '52 when they started the tradition.