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Friday, September 30, 2011

Sugar Land's Old West End Ball Park

Sugar Land's new Class A minor league baseball team, The Skeeters, are building their new park on the north bank of Oyster Creek east of Highway 6.  Don't worry, I've got a diagram from their Web site that shows the layout.

I've annotated the diagram to show where Sugar Land's old ball park stood on the west side of town.  It's the red square on the south bank of Oyster Creek behind Nalco. You can see it wasn't too far from the new park's location.

Here's an early photo (mid 1920's, I think) of the west side of town.  I've annotated the locations of the old & new parks.  (The new park is actually closer to the creek behind that curve in the bank, but this is the best I could do with the freebie drawing tool I have.)

I wish I had some good photos of the old park, but these are the best I can do.  This first picture shows the Sugar Land Tigers, a team from the 1960s.  You can see the stands in the background.

These next photos come from the 1968 Viking yearbook.  Dulles High School played its home games at the old park during the 1960s.

Volunteers for Sugar Land's Farmer's Market

I got the following note from Eleanor Barton at the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation.  If you're inclined to help with the Farmer's Market, give Eleanor a call.  You'll see her number below.


We need your help!

Beginning in October, SLHF will be participating in the Farmers Market at Imperial.  We are looking for volunteers to work in our booth from 9 am until 1 pm on Saturdays.  We need at least two people on site each week.  Responsibilities will include setting up and breaking down the table and chairs, hanging signage, selling books and t-shirts, promoting our walking tours, and providing general information about SLHF to the public. 

DON’T FORGET--you’ll also have a chance to enjoy all of the food and fun at the Farmers Market!

Please let me know if you are available to work on any of the following Saturdays:

October 8
October 15
October 22
October 29
November 5
November 12
November 19
November 26
December 3
December 10

Once you have signed up, I will be in touch with more details.

SLHF depends on the time and talent of community members like you.  THANKS FOR ALL THAT YOU DO!



Eleanor Barton
Executive Director
Sugar Land Heritage Foundation

Sidney Elskes, SLHS Class of '37

My thanks to Judy Harrington Diamond (SLHS '59) for sending me this obituary from The Houston Chronicle.  I didn't know Mr. Elskes, but it sounds like he led a very interesting life.  If anyone can tell me more about his WWII experience, I'd like to hear it.

Sidney J. Elskes 92, passed away in the presence of his family, Tuesday, September 20, 2011. He was a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel, and a decorated veteran of three wars. In WWII, he was shot down over occupied France, taken in by the French underground, and escaped into neutral Spain. A long time member of Spring Woods United Methodist Church where he was active in the Lee Bible Class. He traveled extensively with his wife Margery and enjoyed fishing and gardening. He was a dedicated family man and will be dearly missed by his family and friends. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 52 years, Minnie Elskes. Survived by his loving wife Margery. Sons: John Elskes and wife Cheryl, Jim Elskes and wife Edee Harvey. Daughter, Carol Ann Elskes. Step-daughters: Susan Westbrook and husband Bill, Trish Shands, Peggy Seddon and husband Robert, Deborah Celusniak and husband Christopher. Grandchildren: Erin, Chris, John Brett, Jimmy, Eric, Allison, and Austin. Step-grandchildren: Jennifer, Elizabeth, Amanda, Matthew, Fredrick, Eric, Martin, and Haley. Step-great-granddaughter, Avery. Brother Monroe Elskes, age 94. And numerous nieces, nephews and other loving relatives and friends. Visitation will be from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday, September 23, 2011 at Earthman Resthaven Funeral Home, 13102 North Freeway. Funeral Service will be held 11:00 a.m., Saturday, September 24, 2011 at Spring Woods United Methodist Church, 1711 F.M. 1960 West, Houston, Texas. Interment to follow at Earthman Resthaven Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Spring Woods United Methodist Church, or to the charity of your choice.

Demolition of Old Buildings in Sugar Land (Late 1960s)

I found this article in an old issue of The Crown, Imperial Sugar Company's monthly, employee bulletin.  I'm too lazy to dig out the article to find the exact date, but I'm reasonably sure T. C. Rozelle wrote it for publication in the late '60s.

I thought I'd post it since the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation will have it's inaugural Farmer's Market this weekend in roughly the same location where these buildings once stood.  

Here are some photos of what the area looked like in the '20s.

Here's a photo of the first City Hall in the early 1960s.  T. C. mentions it in his article (above).

The Helmcamps let me scan these photos, which their father 'Boots' took sometime in the '70s. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gators & Mustangs Play to a 12-12 Tie in '51

On September 28th, 1951 the Sugar Land Gators & Missouri City Mustangs played to a 12-12 tie at Kempner Field.  You'll see a couple of newspaper clippings below that describe the action.

This tie puts the Gators at 2-0-1 for the season.

Notice the first article, which appeared in The Chronicle, refers to a 'Bobby Hall.'  I guess Kenneth Hall & Bobby Williams were such blurs on the field they were easily confused.

Gators Defeat Lutheran 46 - 0 in '56 Season

On Friday, September 28th, 1956 the Sugar Land Gators chewed up the Lutheran Pioneers 46 to nothing.  The Gators were always an overpowering foe for the Pioneers.  As far as I know they always lost to Sugar Land in a rout.  

I have a newspaper clipping from The Houston Chronicle (of course, they spelled Sugar Land incorrectly), plus two football photos from The Gator yearbook.  That looks like Punt Helmcamp, Leon Anhaiser & H. G. Bossley in the first picture.

(Update) I got this clarification from Leon Anhaiser (SLHS '57) regarding the first picture: "The picture is Punt, Leon and Tommy Cason. He played Left guard and pulled for pass protection on this end around pass play.  H. G. played center and had the job of blocking the defense left guard so that Tommy Cason could pull to the right side of the line for pass protection.  This was one of our trick plays."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Eura Brock Boehm & Mary Lavon Brock Terzian

I wanted to log a brief note that Eura Boehm & her niece, Mary Terzian, died this past week.  Mrs. Boehm was 103-years old.  She was possibly the longest-living resident of Sugar Land at the time of her death.  I can't think of anyone else currently living who can match her.

Mary Terzian (SLHS '58) was the daughter of Eura's brother, E. V. 'Sparky' Brock.  Those of you who attended Dulles High School in the mid-1960s may remember her brother, Van Brock (DHS '65).

Fort Bend County Fair


I've posted many of these things before, but I thought I'd post them in a set since the 2011 Fair starts this week.  Here is the cover of the handbook for the 1951 Fair.  (My thanks to the Helmcamp family for letting me scan their handbook.)

This next page shows Pete Coburn (SLHS '52), his prize winning-calf & Boots Helmcamp, fair official.  I presume Pete & his calf won at the '50 Fair since his picture appears in the '51 handbook.

This last picture shows Boots with Beverly Friend (SLHS '52), Queen of the Fair in 1951.


These next images come from the '52 fair handbook, also in the Helmcamp family archive.


Here is a photo from The Texas Coaster of the '53 fair queen candidates.  This copy came from the Chuzzy Jenkins family archive.


This final picture shows the Gator Band marching through Rosenberg in the 1954 fair parade.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sugar Land Defeats Katy 48-0 in 1951 Match Up

The Gators raised their record to 2 wins & no losses with an overwhelming victory over the Katy Tigers at Kempner Field in mid-September of 1951. Unfortunately, I don't have a clipping or any memorabilia from this game.

Since I don't have anything, I thought I'd indulge in some ancient history.  This next item is T. C. Rozelle's recollections of the early days of Sugar Land High School football.  As you'll see, it was part of an Imperial-Holly ad from the 1970s.

I know from other sources that the 1st SLISD school superintendent Caryn Foreman (sister of famed defense attorney, Percy Foreman) was adamently opposed to starting a football team in the 1920s.  She finally relented, but insisted the players, their parents & fans raise funds for the team.  She wasn't going to give them any money from the school funds.

T. C. mentions the Pep Squad.  He saved a picture of the group in his archive.  His older sisters, Mary & Mildred, were members.  Mary annotated a picture with their names.  Here it is.  (I think these girls are great - not what I'd expected from Sugar Land of the 1920s.)

I don't have any info on the origins of M. R. Wood football.  I think they started playing in the late '40s or early '50s, but nothing definite yet.

Gators Defeat Mustangs 32-0 in 1956

Fifty-five years ago, the Sugar Land Gators defeated the Missouri City Mustangs 32-0 in Missouri City.  The Gators pushed their record to 3 wins with 0 losses.

I've posted clips of this game in the past.  After the newspaper articles there's a link to a 10-minute segment from the game film. I've added a few things including my best guess at identities of selected players.  I don't have a program from an away game where the Gators wore white jerseys.  (I do have a program for a home game, however.)  I'm mildly suprised that the green home-jersey numbers differed from the white away-jersey numbers for some players. 

I want to point out that Sugar Land was a Class B school while Missouri City was in Class A.  Sugar Land was 'fighting above its weight category.'

Here are transcripts of two newspaper reports on the game.

Sugar Land Tops Missouri City

MISSOURI CITY -(sp)- The Sugar Land Gators romped merrily on Friday night winning their third straight over their down the road rival Missouri City Mustangs 32-0.
    Gator Tailback Ray Barton accounted for two scores, a one-yard plunge and a 72-yard scamper.
   Sonny Astorga, Gator wingback, also scored twice -- on runs of 20 and five yards.
   Sugar Land end Punt Helmcamp on an end-around ran 30 yards for the final score.

Sugar Land Shows Power in 32-0 Win

   Sugar Land breezed past its nearby neighbor, Missouri City, 32-0 Friday night. The non-district game was played at Missouri City.
   Ray Barton, 175 pounds of speed and agility, and Sonny Astorga each counted twice for the winners.  One of Barton's scores came on a 72-yard gallop.
  The fifth Sugar Land score was made by Punt Helmcamp.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fort Bend Christian Academy To Honor Sugar Land Gator Football

I wanted to alert everyone that Fort Bend Christian Academy will honor former Sugar Land High football players & coaches at their game against Lutheran South Academy on November 4th.  They will have a half-time ceremony at their stadium here in Sugar Land.  All alums & friends of Sugar Land High are invited.  All former players are invited to participate.  I will have more information in coming weeks.

Lutheran Academy was a regular opponent for the Gators in the 1950s.  In fact, Kenneth Hall played a legendary game against them in 1953.  More about that later. 

Roddy Ordeneaux (DHS '63) Dedication at Pearland ISD

Many of you know Roddy Ordeneaux died a few months ago. He taught in Pearland ISD for many years & was instrumental in establishing their Ag program.  They will dedicate their Ag Arena in his name next month.  I wanted to let everyone know.  Here's information I received from Roddy's wife via Roger Howard (DHS '63).  

The following was sent from Michalyn Ordeneaux:


Subject: Save the date Oct 29

Sat Oct 29, at 6:30 Pearland ISD will have the dedication of the Ag Show Arena in memory of Roddy. The Ag Facility is at the corner of Veterans Rd and Baily Rd on the south side of Pearland.

Directions - off beltway 8 exit Telephone Rd/Hwy 35 go south - at the 10th red light turn right on Baily Rd (at this light Pearland High School is on your left) - go over the railroad and through the red light - the Ag barn is the first building on the right Michalyn Ordeneaux.

Sugar Land Gators Blast Needville Blue Jays in 1951

The '51 Sugar Land Gator football season began 60 years ago this past week with a mauling of the Needville Blue Jays at Kempner Field.  Sugar Land had finished strong in the '50 season but wasn't able to win the district title.  Most everyone knew they would have a good team in '51 because some very talented players were returning.  You'll see their names throughout the season. 

The newspaper clipping is very short because this is the beginning of Sugar Land's golden age.  As time passes, the newspaper articles will get fairly 'florid,' especially in the '53 season.  (My thanks to J. B. Kachinski for letting me scan his scrapbook for these newspaper articles.)

I've included a printed line-up (note the weights) & a photo of the regulars whose names will appear over the course of the season.  Chuzzy Jenkins is the head coach of this team.  His assistant coach is Walton E. White, Superintendent of Sugar Land ISD.


Sugar Land Gators defeat Needville Blue Jays in 1956

Fifty-five years ago this week the Gators of old Sugar Land High walloped the Needville Blue Jays in their 2nd game of the season.  I have a short clipping of the game, which was played in Needville.  Someone at The Post must have been hard of hearing or the phone connection was bad when the Needville stringer called in the score, because the paper says Beeville rather than Needville.  I was really confused when I first saw this article because I never thought Sugar Land ever played Beeville, even in a playoff game.  

I've included pictures of players whose names appear in the article.  Dugan Hightower is head coach of the Gator team.  The Gators are now 2-0 after their win over Katy in their 1st game of the season.


Fred Baker

I finally found a couple of pictures of Fred Baker in Leon Anhaiser's scrapbook which he let me scan recently.  Mr. Baker (as we knew him) was a real supporter of youth baseball in Sugar Land.  As a member of the Lions Club, he assumed responsibility for maintaining the Little League fields & administering team affiliations with the national organizaion.  I remember seeing him mow the field at the corner of Wood & Highway-90A many times.  He may have been president, but he didn't mind getting his hands dirty with routine work.

Many younger people will know the main field in the 7th Street park is named after him.  The plaque in this pictures is affixed to a wall of the press box, I think.

College Scholarships, 1957

Leon Anhaiser let me scan his high school scrapbook, which his mother kept for him.  Many thanks to him & Bettye for letting me scan it.  Leon & Donnie Sampson won the Kempner Scholarships that year, but Sonny Astorga, Willie Hernandez & Shirley Brodecky also won scholarships.  They were celebrated in Imperial Sugar Company's monthly employee bulletin, The Crown.  Here are pictures of their award ceremonies.  (Note: Google has made a change that I do not like.  After clicking on the images below, you'll need to click the URL in the lower left corner of the refreshed images to magnify them.)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sugar Land Remembers 9/11: A Salute to Fallen Heroes

Pat Pollicoff at the City of Sugar Land sent me the following bulletin this afternoon. I thought those of you in the local area would want to see it.