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Monday, November 28, 2011

Gator Football 55 & 60 Years Ago

The '56 Gators won the district title with their win over Van Vleck.  The were paired with the Orchard Badgers for the Bi-District Championship.  Sugar Land won the coin flip, so they played the game in Sugar Land.  

The Gators won in a romp, 53 - 13.  In the newspaper account below, you'll see that Orchard was unscored on in district play.  Sugar Land wiped out that scoreless streak on the 5th play of the game.

Many thanks to the Dot Hightower for scans of a program from this game.  Check out all the ads.

The '51 Gators still had one game left in their regular season.  They played Deer Park, who had a very good team.  In fact, some of the old players recall the Houston papers thought Deer Park would win easily.  You'll see below an article that appeared a few days before the game.

Notice that Deer Park has just a slight edge in points scored & given up over district play.  Also notice the last sentence which points out the Deer run from the T formation, while the Gators use the Notre Dame Box.  I was surprised that Sugar Land's team was 11 pounds heavier on average.

Who the heck is Raymond Hall?  Anyway, the writer picked Sugar Land to win.  I guess a few prognosticators who knew a good thing when they saw it, even if they didn't know his name.

As you'll see in the following recap, the Gators won in the last quarter, 21 - 14.  I don't know if it's true, but the caption on The Chronicle photo claims to show Kenneth scoring the winning touchdown.

Back in late 2009 I interviewed some old Gator players & recorded their recollections of this big game.  Notice J. B. Kachinski's recollection that Sugar Land's coaching staff made an important half-time adjustment that paid off.  I have to believe there were few Class B schools in the early '50s which did that sort of thing.

(Update) YouTube had a problem with the earlier version of this video. I've reloaded another copy. It's working properly now. 


Dulles Powder Puff Football, 1969

I looked for more Dulles Powder Puff football photos.  I found these in the 1969 yearbook.  (Click on the photo below to go to the album.) I infer from the captions that the Class of '70 was victorious over the Class of '69.  Maybe someone can fill us in.

(You'll notice an unrelated photo at the end.  I had to include it just to show the abuse we took back in the old days.)

Here's a program to help you identify the players in the photos.


The Northmen's Script

My thanks go to Rick Kirkpatrick for this old Sugar Land Junior High student newspaper printed on November 22, 1962.  You'll see on the 1st page who the smart kids are.  Carol Goehring lists the coming attractions at The Palms.  Randy Edwards is touted as an up-and-coming cornet player.  Heck, Dorothy Syblik & I were victors in a Spanish spelling bee!  There are brief profiles of Mr. Ledger, Mrs. Phelps & Mrs. Whittle.

Sugar Land Telephone Company Revisited

I think the Helmcamps gave me this photo -- I see Boots standing against the wall.  I don't recognize any of the other onlookers.  I think that's Robert Hill kneeling as he is dismantling equipment.  I think the location is the building where the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation is now located (the 2-story red-brick building in front of the refinery site). I think Robert is preparing to move the equipment to the building on Highway-90A where Windstream is now located.  If I'm correct, the date is the early 1960s.

Here's a photo of the Windstream building in its original configuration back in the 1960s.

Here's a photo Cherryl Hughes Fikes gave me.  It shows her grandmother, Nola Hughes nearest the camera, Helen Friend behind her & Mildred Rozelle standing in the back.  

Early Photo of Sugar Land's Old Commercial District

I found this undated photo in my files.  I think Mr. Matlage took it, but I'm not absolutely certain.  It shows the location where the Farmer's Markets are now sited.  

Of course, all the buildings in this photo are long gone.  The building on the left is the old produce store.  It was a bar & pool hall before becoming a store.  The building in the center is the old Mercantile Store, which essentially sold everything but produce, meat, baked goods & drugs. The building labeled, "My private offices," is the Imperial main office.  (I think Mr. Matlage was making a joke.  He was the company chemist at the time.)

Notice the dirt street (Sugar Land Street).  Also note the fellow on the horse in front of the Mercantile Store.  I'm not sure what the note in the lower left means.  I don't know who 'Perdue' was.

Sugarland Industries Retirees, 1959

My thanks to Cherryl Hughes Fikes for providing this photo of her grandmother, great aunt & other Industries employees at their retirement in 1959.  

I don't have a copy  of the '59 Awards Banquet program at hand, but I do have one from '63, which lists retired employees in that era.  Some of you may recognize some familiar names.

I also have an article from The Fort Bend Mirror covering Imperial Sugar's '59 Awards Banquet.  More familiar names appear in it.  It looks like one program covered the Imperial & Industries banquets, but the events were held on different nights.


Sugar Land Motor Company Promo Matches

The Helmcamp Family saved this complimentary matchbook from the Sugar Land Motor Company.  I've posted other items about the Motor Company, but you can see from the cover that its official start-up date was 1929.  

Prior to that year, the Mercantile Store sold cars to locals.  For proof, see the humorous article included in the Texas Commercial News published on November 8th, 1924.  Sugarland Industries printed the paper for local readers.  (My thanks to the Buddy Blair family for letting me scan this copy of the Texas Commercial News.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Photo of The Palms Theater During Construction

I came across this photo a few weeks ago while reviewing my photo archive.  I'd forgotten I had it.  The date is 1949.  I talked to Carol Goehring at one of the Farmer's Markets recently.  She told me a lot about The Palms.  She said their home, which many will remember sat behind the Theater on Guenther Street, was originally a commercial building.  Maybe that's it on the east side of the Theater.  (Note the slanting roof.)  

The Palms had a major fire 6 months after it opened.  The Cole Theater chain made extensive repairs & reopened it in mid 1950.  White's Cafe is on the west side of Ulrich St.  It looks like the Ice House is the easternmost building in the picture.  Note the flower bed along the railroad tracks with Sugar Land spelled out in it.

More Dulles Powder Puff Photos

Carol Waldrop (DHS '65) identified last week's photo from the '65 Powder-Puff Football Game.  Here are a couple of photos from the '67 Game.  This first one is pretty good.

Of all the powder-puff pictures I've seen, this next one takes the cake.

Miscellaneous Items from The Fort Bend Mirror, 1956

Here's another page from The Fort Bend Mirror celebrating the 4th anniversary of the Sugar Land Shopping Center in January, 1956.  There's a little duplication here; I've posted the article about Willie Reese before, but didn't want to clip it out.  The other articles mention Tony Sanchez, the Methodist Church & Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.  I've never seen the original photo of celery growing where the Shopping Center stood.  I hope it turns up eventually.


The Mustang published on February 14, 1947

I want to thank Dorothy Topolanek Humphrey (SLHS '48) for giving me a folder of Alligator Splashes from the late 1940s.  I'll post them in the future.  Tucked among them was a real rarity -- a copy of The Mustang, Missouri City High's student newspaper.  This issue came out on February 14th, 1947.  I recognize a few names.  I wish I had more Missouri City High items.


Sugar Land Flattens Barbers Hill 33 - 0 in '51 Season

The Sugar Land Gators bull-dozed Barbers Hill in a District 22-B victory 60 years ago.  Kenneth Hall provided much of the Gators' offensive heroics.  George Salmon (not Almond) scored a touchdown on a 20-yard  end-around play.  Mickey Kachinski, a sophomore, was a defensive stalwart for the Gators.

As you can see from the newspaper clipping, the game was played in Mont Belview, which is on the east side of Houston, about half-way to Baytown.  The article says about 1,000 fans sat in chilly weather to watch the game.  I found the following clipping from The Texas Coaster among T. C. Rozelle's archives. It's actually the Richmond/ Rosenberg paper's gossip column for Sugar Land.   It appears to be Ida Lee Krachala's first column.

Ida mentions football related items twice.  The first says Gloria Ross (Hall) was crowned Sugar Land's homecoming queen at last week's game against Hardin.

The next item says the Quarterback Club chartered buses for Gator fans to make the long trip to the game in Mont Belview.

Ida mentions Deer Park is the next (and last) game of the regular season.  There was a big build up to the last game.  Deer Park was a relatively large school -- their student enrollment was already in the Class A category.  (They would become a Class A school the following year.  The UIL had  a rule that a school must have two consecutive years of qualifying enrollment before moving up a classification.) Also, Deer Park was widely recognized as a football powerhouse.  More about this next week, but most experts expected Deer Park to roll into Sugar Land & trounce the Gators.

Here's a link to Ida's complete column in case you'd like to read what was happening 60 years ago in Sugar Land.  Sorry the scan isn't better.

Ida Lee Krachala's column.

Gators Declaw Van Vleck Leopards to Win District Title in '56

The Sugar Land Gators beat Van Vleck 46 - 13 in Sugar Land to claim the District 32-B Championship in November, 1956.  Sonny Astorga must have had a great game.  Notice that substitute Royce Bailey, a sophomore, also scored.  I don't know him, so I've posted his picture.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Northeast Sugar Land

A Sugar Land resident who subscribes to Facebook sent me a question about the area where she lives: Barrington Place, which is on the east side of Eldridge Rd where it intersects West Airport Boulevard.  She wondered if it had much historical significance.  I remember it as pasture land where Sugarland Industries raised cattle.  I recall hunting doves with my grandfather (Kelly) in that area during the mid 1950s.  

I don't have any real good pictures of the area, or ones I can confidently identify as from that location, but I do have an aerial photo from 1956, which shows what it looked like then.  I've made some annotations.  

Its principal historical relevance is that Benjamin Franklin Terry's Oakland Plantation stood somewhere in the vicinity.  I think most experts agree it was in present-day Covington Woods.  There is alot of online info about Terry & his involvement in the Civil War.

(Update) I now recall reading in a historical source (can't remember which) that Terry was a horse racing fanatic.  He had a race track somewhere near his plantation.  I doubt it was much more than a level piece of land with jumps & other obstacles.  It may have included a paddock, but I doubt there were any stands for spectators.

(Update) My aunt, Mayme Rachuig Hause, sent me a note reminding me that several people pastured their horses out on West Airport Boulevard, or more accurately, the dirt road that became West Airport.  It's hard to tell in the picture, but I see what could be a dirt road out there.  Note the structures, that could be horse barns.

[Be sure to use the magnify icon under the album title to enlarge the photos.] 

Cotton & Sugar Land

I was driving on the west side of the Brazos River & learned there are still some cotton fields in Fort Bend County.  Sugarland Industries used to grow cotton around Sugar Land, but those days are long gone.  Here are few photos to rebut any sceptics.

I have no idea who the person is in this next picture, but I think he/she certainly deserves a little recogniztion.  That was very hard work.  I assume the location is south of Sugar Land somewhere along Brooks St., but I can't be sure.

Here's a photo of the old Sugar Land gin which stood on the west side of town between Nalco & Ulrich St.

Here's the finished product.


New FBISD Assistant Principals

I found this newspaper photo in the Hightower family collection.  I don't have a precise date, but my best guess is sometime in the late 1970s.  Frank DeLaro is a '65 graduate of Dulles High School.  I'm not sure if he still works in FBISD. (I don't know Ronald Hartman.)

I'm sure you recognize Frank on the left in the bottom row in the picture below.  That's Bill Knox next to him & Charles Hauerland on the right.  Next row up from the left is Ronnie Adler & Bill Tise.  The apex of the group is Van Brock.  I think the drum major in the background is Wayne McCormick.

Gators Trounce Hardin in '51 Campaign

The newspaper article below says the Sugar Land Gators soundly trounced the Hardin Hornets 60 years ago.  Tommy Fatheree had a good game.  I don't have a picture of him from the '51 season, but I do have one from '53 which you'll see below.

The article mentions Popeye DeBlanc & Tiny Collier, two guys who usually battled unnoticed in the trenches.  You'll see pictures of them below, too.

Tommy Fatheree ('53 season).  As Kenneth Hall recollected (& as you can tell from this picture), Tommy was 'all knees & elbows.'

Popeye DeBlanc.

Tiny Collier.

Gators Drub Danbury in '56

The Sugar Land Gators continued to roll in their '56 season with a decisive win over Danbury in Danbury.  

After the half-time celebration at Fort Bend Christian Academy a little over a week ago, Jon Pitts recollected the Danbury team.  He remember that Weldon Zgarba (half back) & W. R. Woolam (end) were tough customers.  (They're mentioned in the last paragraph of the game report.)


A Few More Tales From Old Timers, 1956

The edition of The Fort Bend Mirror published on January 26th, 1956 included short articles on J. B. Fowler, V. F. Krehmeier, Jimmy Couvillion & their memories of coming to Sugar Land.  (That issue is a gold mine of Sugar Land history, so I may post a few more of these articles.) 
Notice J. B. Fowler's comment about the Brauner Hotel.  I think that was the name of the family that ran it.  (Maybe someone can correct me on that.)  When they moved away, the establishment became known as The Imperial Inn.  I've posted photos showing it.  Also notice his comment that there were just a half-dozen houses on The Hill when he arrived in 1918.  The Kempner-Eldridge partnership had not yet started fixing up the town to attract permanent residents.

Mr. Krehmeier recollects a big winter storm in 1925 in which the water tower froze!

Jimmy Couvillion's original home town was Lafayette, Louisiana.  His first job was in the old drug store.  Never knew either of those things.

W. T. Matlage, Sr. recalls his memories in the next article.  Notice his comment about duck hunting in the area where Imperial Sugar's offices now stand.  There's a very good panoramic picture of that area hanging in the Sugar Land Museum.  It's dated 1913, or 1915 -- I can't remember exactly.  It shows what he's talking about: a slough surrounded by willows, reeds & similar water-side vegetation.  

I don't have a scan of the Museum's photo, but here's one taken several decades later, probably the early 1940s.  It appears that Sugarland Industries had put the area under cultivation, or filled in the low area, but you can make out where the slough was.

Just a side note: One old timer has told me Mr. Matlage kept a sharp eye on the ice cream containers at the old (pre-1952) drug store.  Girls behind the counter were prone to giving extra scoops of ice cream to their boy friends if he wasn't looking.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Video of FBCA Tribute to Sugar Land Gators, November 4th

I've made a 12-minute video of the half-time tribute Fort Bend Christian Academy gave to the Sugar Land Gators during their game against Lutheran South Pioneers last Friday night.  I want to thank Alan Thompson & everyone at FBCA who made the evening possible.

I nearly forgot!  FBCA whupped the Lutheran South Pioneers 44-7 & advance into the post-season playoffs.  Congratulations to the Eagles.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tom Thumb Wedding, late 1940s

I want to thank Cherryl Hughes Fikes for sending me these pictures.  Cherryl's family moved away from Sugar Land in the early 1950s, but she has very fond memories of Sugar Land.  These photos show a 'Tom Thumb Wedding,' no doubt a fundraiser of some sort.  

Cherryl thinks the date is 1948 or '49.  She annotated the photos with names as best she could remember.  Many of you may recognize some faces & names.  Maybe some of the participants can give us a clue.  As you can see, the location is the Sugar Land Auditorium.

(Update) I got a note from Billie Blair saying that's Marcia Kirkpatrick in the 10th photo.  I thought it might be but wasn't absolutely sure.