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Monday, July 4, 2011

The Imperial Inn

I spoke recently with Dorothy Topolanek Humphreys (SLHS '48), & she said she'd never seen good pictures of The Imperial Inn. I thought I had several pictures of it, but I found just one. It came from T. C. Rozelle, Jr.'s archive. He also had a photo of the same area after The Inn was destroyed by fire in 1947. (It shows the gravel road that would become Oyster Creek Drive. The photo's date is sometime in the late '40s, I think.)

The Inn was the Thatcher Plantation home that stood in the Grand Central area southeast of town. I don't know details, but sometime in the early part of the 20th century it was moved to the east bank of Oyster Creek near the current intersection of Bayview & Highway 90A. It served as a boarding house & community center. Imperial & Sugarland Industries relied on rooming houses to accommodate employees through the years, especially before 1920 when they built permanent housing to attract families & a reliable workforce.

I'm certain I have a picture Mr. R. M. Laperouse took of The Inn as it burned in 1947. I haven't found it, so I've included a similar (or maybe the same) picture from the book, Sugar Land: A Pictorial Tribute, published in 1986 for the sesquicentennial celebration. The book has other good pictures of The Inn, in particular one which shows it's early configuration. (Apparently, The Inn was remodeled at least once.)

I know The Inn served as a venue for dances & dinners over the years. The following article comes from the Sugar Land school newspaper, Campus Chatter, published in December, 1928. It recounts SLHS's football banquet after their 2nd football season. Unfortunately, someone clipped a paragraph from the article, but what remains is pretty interesting in my opinion. I wish I knew who won the watch.