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Friday, October 28, 2011

Channel 26 Spotlights Sugar Land

Houston's Channel 26 did its morning show from Sugar Land's Town Center today.  Of course I'm biased, but I thought it was pretty good.

Imperial Refinery Personnel, Circa 1930

I found this photo in T. C. Rozelle, Jr.'s archive.  You'll see his annotations below.  I know from other information that Imperial hired a photographer to take group photos of employees.  I've seen one which shows a group shot of the Packing Department.  The caption says one employee, who was working the night shift, heard of the photography sessions.  He put on a suit and went to the refinery to get in Packing Department photo.

I have no way of matching names with faces, but maybe one or more viewers can help.  I think the group is standing behind & a few yards west of the Char House.

Dulles High's Battle of The Bands, Spring of '67


Dulles JV Football Team, Fall of 1963

As you can see, The Fort Bend Mirror made an error when publishing this photo.  I've posted two versions, so you can pick out your favorite player from the picture.

Gators Hammer East Chambers in '51

The Sugar Land Alligators pushed their district record to 3-0 with an overwhelming victory over the East Chambers Buccaneers in Sugar Land.  Kenneth Hall scored 5 touchdowns, including an 80-yard runback of the opening kickoff.  J. B. Kachinski scored twice, while George Salmon scored once & added an extra point.

Here's an article from The Post, I think.  It adds names of other Gators who played well: Pete Coburn, Juan de los Santos & Popeye DeBlanc.


Sugar Land Whips Hitchcock in '56

The Gators continued their '56 winning streak with a decisive defeat of the Hitchcock Bulldogs in Sugar Land.  The Houston Chronicle ran this short account of the game.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Update on '56 Friendswood Game

My thanks to Leon Anhaiser (SLHS '57) for sending me a more accurate & detailed article on the '56 Friendswood game.  (See my original post below.)  Here's a transcript.


The Sugar Land Gators romped to their first district win last Friday night by defeating the Friendswood Mustangs.  A capacity crowd, with standing room only, witnessed the Gators score 11 touchdowns and five extra points.

The first quarter saw Ray Barton, tailbak, and Sonny Astorga, wingback, score on runs of 45 yards and 61 yards respectively.  Bobby Cole scored for Friendswood, and the end of the first quarter was 14-7 in favor of the Gators.

The Gators scored five TD's in the second quarter.  Scorers were Sonny Astorga on a pass play, Butch  Boyd on a 45 yard scamper, Ray Barton on a 51 yard brokenfield run, Boyd on another 49 yard run, and Leon Anhaiser on a 25-yard pass play.  Barton kicked two of the five extra point tries.  Altemun scored for the Mustangs and made the extra point.  The halftime score was 46-14.

In the third quarter both teams scored one touchdown.  John Heitman scored for the Gatons on an eight-yard run, and Pruitt Cole scored for the Mustangs from the 4-yard line.  Both teams missed their extra point tries.

The final quarter saw Friendswood score twice on runs of 30 yards by Jerry Kinser, and a 20-yard run by Altemus, who also ran the extra point.  The Gators scored three more times.  Ray Barton ran back a Friendswood kickoff for a 75-yard TD. 

Barton scored again on a 38-yard run.  In the closing seconds (11 seconds left), Barton dropped back and flipped a screen-pass to Leon Anhaiser that went 50 yard for the final TD.  Barton kicked one of the three extra point tries, and the ball game ended 71-33.

The Gators will meet Hitchcock Friday night, Oct 27 at Kempner Field in Sugar Land.  Hitchcock edged Danbury 13-8 last Friday for their first district win and are expected to be a very tough team.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Update on FBCA Honoring SLHS at Half-Time on November 4th.

Fort Bend Christian Academy has posted an article on their Web site about their celebration of Sugar Land High football on November 4th. I want to point out that we will have at least one player from the 1940s at the event.  Anyone who suited up in a Gator football uniform is most welcome.

I'd appreciate it if any old Gator players who want to participate will notify me or Carlos Tarver so we can notify Fort Bend Christian Academy.

Don't forget that everyone is invited to Willie's Grill here in Sugar Land for a post-game celebration.

I'll have more info next week.

Sugar Land High School Class of 1940

My thanks to Cherryl Hughes Fikes for sending me several pictures recently.  Here's one of her father's (Joe Bob Hughes's) graduating class.  I recognize several people.

These class photos are the closest thing we have to yearbooks for SLHS classes prior to 1947, when the 1st Gator yearbook was published.


Some Old-Timer's Recollections of the Past, 1956

Here are a few more stories from The Fort Bend Mirror celebrating the 4th anniversary of the Sugar Land Shopping Center in 1956.  There are plenty more, so I'll have similar recollections over the coming weeks.

This first one is from W. H. Dierks.  Notice a couple of things.  First, he says sugar cane growing was discontinued in 1912, but that seems to contradict a picture I posted last week from the same edition of The Mirror.  I looked back at the caption of that picture, & it shows the last batch of cane processed in the Imperial mill in 1928.  That leaves some wiggle room as far as cane crops & milling in Sugar Land goes -- it's possible Mr. Dierks & the earlier picture are both correct. (The last cane processed in Imperial's mill may not have been grown locally.)

Also note his comment about the flood.  I've included a well-known photo of the famous 1913 flood. (It shows a view from the refinery toward the southwest.  I should point out this flood was caused by the Brazos River overflowing its banks.) The annotation on the photo says it was taken in December, 1913, but Mr. Dierks thought the flood occurred in November of that year.

This next recollection comes from Louis Muehr.  He sold Sugar Land's first electric washing machine in 1931.

I couldn't find a picture of Louis Muehr, so I've substitued this one because it shows the 'character' of the old mercantile store.  I presume John is Louis's brother.

This next walk down memory lane comes from Paul Schumann.  He also mentions the 1913 flood.  I've included another photo from that memorable event.  Notice the water is higher than in the earlier photo.  I've also included a picture of Mr. Schumann with Bob Andrews in May, 1951 at the old mercantile store.


Imperial Cookbook Update

I want to thank Kristin Lytle for this additional info on Imperial Sugar Company cookbooks. You'll see that "A Barrell Full of Imperial Recipes," was Imperial Sugar's 2nd cookbook, published sometime in the 1920s.  Last week, I posted scans Cherryl Hughes Fikes had sent me.  

Kristin has sent me scans of a mint-condition "Barrel Full" cookbook.  She also sent a scan of the 1st cookbook, "The Household Economist," published in 1915. At the bottom, you'll see an article that explains this history.  (Not sure where or when this article appeared.)


Gators Get A Juicy Win Over 'Klien' in 1951

I want to thank J. B. Kachinski for this interesting newspaper article on the Gators' easy win over Klein in 1951.  First, the reporter couldn't spell Klein correctly.  Then he describes it as a 'juicy' win.  I wonder what that means.

He says Klein didn't score until the last quarter, when Coach Jenkins was 'playing everyone but the waterboy.'  Several players are mentioned, but not Kenneth Hall.  It sounds as if Tommy Fatheree was the star of the game -- he had scoring runs of 65-yards & 50-yards.  However, J. B. Kachinski contributed 3 touchdowns, too.


Sugar Land Gators Beat Friendswood in October, 1956

The '56 Gators continued their undefeated streak by taming the Friendswood Mustangs 72-32 in Friendswood.  The Chronicle's article says 'Roy' Barton did a lot of scoring, but I think they mean Ray Barton.  Luther Jordy & sophomore, Butch Boyd, also get a mention.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Willie Reese

I did some research recently and ran across info on Willie Reese.  You see below a short article from The Fort Bend Mirror published on January 26th, 1956.  I like the quote, "But you know, ma'am, people didn't live so fast when I was comin' up."

I'll have to determine when Willie retired, but you can see from this page of the 1947 Awards Program that he was a LONG-TIME employee of Imperial.  They counted his service from the time he began working at Cunningham Sugar Company, so he predated the Imperial Sugar Company!

Here's the best photo of him I could find.  It was taken at the 1947 Awards Banquet.

The Last Batch of Cane Grown in Sugar Land

I found this photo in the January 26th, 1956 edition of The Fort Bend Mirror.  I hope we can find the original photo, so we can scan it at high resolution.  The white building in the background is the old sugar mill which stood on the refinery site until 1948, when it was razed.  (Imperial used the building for other purposes between 1928 & 1948.) It stood on the west bank of Oyster Creek across from the Main Street bridge.

Just to be clear on one this: a sugar mill and a sugar refinery are two different things.  The former produces raw sugar from a source like sugar cane or beets.  A refinery refines raw sugar into end products for consumption in food & beverages.  I never knew there was such a thing as a sugar factory until Leon Anhaiser explained it to me recently.  He said a sugar factory is another name for a sugar mill. 

Joe 'Rabbit' Lewis

I've done some investigation of the old Sugar Land Rail Road recently.  I came across this short article from a 1956 edition of The Fort Bend Mirror, which celebrated the 4th anniversary of the shopping center (now Imperial Sugar headquarter offices).

The paper included stories about several old timers still living in 1956.  I believe David Chernosky talked with Rabbit before he died.  If so, David learned some interesting town history from this old-timer, including details about the Rail Road.


A Barrel Full of Imperial Recipes

Many thanks to Cherryl Hughes Fikes for sending me these images of an early Imperial cookbook.  I'll have to check, but this may be the first cookbook they produced.  Notice that Sugar Land's PTA compiled the recipes.

I'll also check the date.  I think it's circa 1915, but it might be a little later, say, 1918 or '19 when the new school was opened on 3rd Street/Lakeview Drive.

Sugar Land Routs Pearland in the Oilers' 1951 Homecoming Game

As the first newspaper article says, 'the Sugar Land Gators are riding the crest of an undefeated season.'  They chomped their way to a 35-0 victory over the Pearland Oilers in their opponents's '51 homecoming game.

Notice the articles credit a George Solomon with kicking 3 extra points.  Of course, the kicker was George Salmon.  Also notice that The Post article says J. B. Kachinski supplied two unneeded touchdowns. 

One other item.  The stats in The Post article show Sugar Land had 7 first downs on 245 total yards in offense.  I'm guessing Sugar Land racked up several long, running plays that night.

Sugar Land Gators Defeat Hempstead Bobcats in '56

The Sugar Land Gators continued their undefeated season in 1956 with a 45-24 victory over the Hempstead Bobcats.  The following newspaper clipping from The Houston Chronicle gives the details.  Hempstead must have had a terrific team because the Gators' victory ended Hempstead's 19-game winning streak.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Fort Bend Christian Academy To Honor Sugar Land Gators

Just a save-the-date reminder that Fort Bend Baptist Academy will honor Sugar Land High during half-time of their game with Lutheran High on November 4th.  The game's at 7:00 PM at Fort Bend's field here in Sugar Land.  (I'll post a map in a few weeks.)

Any old Gator players & coaches who'd like to participate in the ceremony on the field should contact me so I can give the athletic director their names.  If you've got your old letterman's jacket, please wear it.  Or, if you've got something green, wear it.  Same for Gator fans in the stands.
Everyone is invited to meet at Willy's Grill near Walmart after the game.  More on that later.

Link to map of FBCA Campus (stadium parking is on 7th Street, north of campus)

Link to map of Willy's Grill


Imperial Sugar Company Cookbook Campaigns

Kellie Michalek Abbott found some old Imperial Sugar Company television ads on YouTube.  There are quite a few from several eras if you're interested.

She posted one on Facebook from a 1962 ad campaign for 'My First Cookbook.'   Boy, that brought back memories.  My mother (Sally Rachuig Kelly) handled cookbook requests for Imperial from about 1958 to 1962 or '63.

When Imperial ran a cookbook campaign, we got tons of letters.  No exaggeration.  My father would bring home several mail sacks of postcards & letters.  Mother often got help from my father's aunts.  They loved addressing the envelopes.  Bruce & I (plus my dad) stuffed the envelopes.  Actually, we called it 'sacking' the cookbooks.  (The envelopes were large.)

It was a perfect money-maker for a home-maker like my mother.  The girls in the ad have a 'Shake & Bake' accent -- if you remember those ads ("... it's SHAKE & BAKE, and we heyulped ..."), you'll know what I mean.

Here are some pictures from May, 1961 to verify my story.  This one was taken in the kitchen of our home on Oyster Creek Drive.  You see my father's aunt, Nelle Salter Harman on the left.  My father is in the back.  My mother is on the right.  The woman looking over her shoulder & looking remarkably like the cartoon character Maxine is my grandmother Victoria 'Vic' Salter Kelly.

This next one shows me on the left & Bruce on the couch sacking cookbooks.  Notice the large stack Bruce has beside him.  The white object closest to the camera is not a defect in the picture.  It's the box that contained the cookbooks.  We'd put the sacked envelopes back in the box and take all the boxes up to Imperial's offices on the 2nd floor of the shopping center.  There were times when we'd fill a single-axle, 2-wheeled trailer (about 6' x 8' bed) several layers deep with bulging cardboard boxes.

Here I am with our dog Herman.  Notice the stack of stuffed envelopes in the left foreground.

Gator Football Open Dates

I've been printing newspaper articles & memorabilia on the Sugar Land Gator football seasons of '51 & '56.  Those were memorable season's in Sugar Land High's football history.  Ironically, both teams had bye-weeks 55 & 60 years ago.

I have two items this week to fill my weekly progress report.  The first is a newspaper article on the '56 B-team's victory over Garwood.  The B-team, or JV team as sub-varsity teams are now called, was not idle in 1956.

My second item is about sports medicine back when it was fairly rudimentary.  I interviewed some old Gators a couple of years ago, & they recollected how injuries were treated back in the stone age.  The link below will take you to a 4-minute recording of their recollections.

Leon Anhaiser ('57) sent me a note about a treatment Coach Hightower gave him back in the fall of '56.  Here's what he had to say:

Nothing is said about sports medicine in the 50s but it would be interesting.  We did not have the support of doctors on the sideline as they have today.  We had Dr. Slaughter in the stands on most occasions.  The coaching staff did most of the first aid.  I remember that all of the team members' ankles were taped before each game on Friday afternoon.  I took the first kick off against Katy in the 1956 game and sprained my ankle due to a tackler hanging onto it.  I took myself out of the game and Mr. Dzierzanowski re taped the ankle and I reentered the game.  I played only offense for the next two games.  Each day after school, I would go to Mr. Hightower's home on fourth street for treatment for the sprained ankle.  He would have a pot of hot oatmeal which he poured into a cotton bag and then wrapped it in a towel.  This was administered to the swollen ankle until the heat was gone.  Mr White was good at chiropractics and would give those who needed a back straighten on Monday morning if it was needed.  This is how I learned to treat my back myself.  Mr. White was very good at this.  Ray Barton had a hamstring injury his Junior year and spend half the season running up and down the football stadium steps to strengthen his leg while we practiced.  I am sure others will have some stories to add to this paragraph.


Follow Up To Last Week's County Fair Post

Scotty Hightower Bass sent me this photo of the first County Fair board of directors in 1933.  Many thanks.  Her husband (& my 1st cousin), Bob Bass, is grandson of N. I. Bass, Sr., pictured in the front row.  I imagine all these names are familiar to most old timers.

I believe this picture was printed in the old Herald Coaster.

Addendum to Last Week's Ball Park Photos

Leon Anhaiser (SLHS '57) reminded me that Sugar Land High School had a baseball team in the 1950s.  I've posted a picture below of the team at the old west end park in front of a 'dug out.'  You can see that nothing had changed 11 years later when the Dulles team played there.  (See last week's picture of them in the dug out.)

Update on Sugar Land's First Farmer's Market

Here's an article on last week's farmers market here in Sugar Land.  It was a big hit.  There's one each Saturday through the fall.

Sugar Land's New Minor League Ball Park

Those of you who missed the local paper, or live outside the Sugar Land area may be interested in this newspaper article on construction of the new ball park.  It's well underway.