Drop Down MenusCSS Drop Down MenuPure CSS Dropdown Menu

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Old School House in Mayfield Park

I received a message this week from Carmen Flores Perez (DHS '67) asking if I had any info on the school for Hispanic children located in Mayfield Park back in the '20s through the '50s.  

I can't find the references right now, but I know T. C. Rozelle had these photos of a building that was said to be the school house in question.  (I'm still researching this topic, so I hope to get an answer.)  

I think I have a photo of the Hispanic school out at Grand Central.  I'm almost certain Roland Rodriguez, Sr. (SLHS '49) is in it.  I understand these schools were early bi-lingual programs.  Children whose primary language was Spanish and whose English was limited, attended these schools.  As soon as their Engish skills improved, they went to the main campus on Lakeview Drive.

I know from a biography of Felix Tijerina (the Houston restauranteur) that Sugar Land had a Little School of 400 in the mid-1950s.  Tijerina was the driving force in this state-wide effort.  He attended the opening of the school.  I'll dig out the quotes from the book and post them in the future.  It's an interesting story.


Sugar Land Elementary Safety Patrol, 1960/61

My thanks go to Gloria and Travis Gandy for sending me this blast from the past.  I'm pretty sure we were in the 5th grade.  We were giants in those days.

The allure of Safety Patrol was the yellow helmets.  If you had a yellow helmet, you were something.

Back row left to right: Chuck Kelly, Stephen Beer, Gerald Culler, Robert Allen, Sam McJunkin.  Front row: Billy Joe Foitik, Bobby Munson, Mitchell Hall, John Royce Holt, Matthew Hall.


100 Years of the Cowboy, Spring Break Week at the George Ranch Historical Park

This is the first in a series of short videos covering spring break week at the Park.  This first one shows preparation for a chuckwagon lunch out in the Park's grounds.


100 Years of the Cowboy, Spring Break Week at George Ranch Historical Park

Part 2 of the series of short videos covering spring break week at the George Ranch Historical Park.  This installment is a  continuation of the chuckwagon lunch.


100 Years of the Cowboy, Spring Break Week at George Ranch Historical Park

Part 3 in which Cowboys Larry & James give a presentation to visitors about cattle management techniques.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

1940 US Census Map & Santa Anna's March Through Fort Bend County

I learned recently that the records for the 1940 US Census will be available online next month.  They aren't indexed by name yet, so researchers need census enumeration district numbers to perform searches.  (Ancestry.com will complete a name index later.)  I found the census map showing local districts for Sugar Land at the US Census Web site.

I identified what I needed for my family.  The Kellys lived in district 79-11.  The Rachuigs in 79-13.  The map shows the lay of the land in 1940 to a reasonably good degree although structures are sketchy.  (A legend for structures must exist somewhere.)

For some reason I thought about Santa Anna's sweep through Fort Bend County in 1836 as I reviewed the map.  I read Wharton's History of Fort Bend County a couple of years ago and learned the route he took.  Wharton's account is less than clear in spots because contemporaneous accounts are contradictory, but it cleared up some fundamental mistakes I grew up with.

First, Thompson's Ferry (where Santa Anna crossed the Brazos) was west of Richmond as I've denoted on the map -- not down by present-day Thompson.  Second, Santa Anna never crossed Oyster Creek.  He stayed north of Oyster Creek when he left Richmond and headed toward Stafford's Point.  Third, Santa Anna split his army into multiple groups.  (In fact, he left some troops in Richmond.)  Strictly speaking, his army took several routes eastward from San Antonio to San Jacinto.  

Here's the 1940 Census map with annotations.

Here's a Google map with roughly the same annotated path.  I wanted to overlay the two maps, but I couldn't get it to work well.  The annotations aren't exactly identical, but they're relatively close.


Fort Bend Jaybird Baseball Team

I had the pleasure of talking with Lou Payton (SLHS '46) recently as part of my research into local baseball history.  I'll have much more to post about him and local baseball, but I thought I'd post this introductory newspaper article about the Fort Bend Jaybird baseball team, for which he played in the early 1950s.  The article comes from Lou's scrapbook -- many thanks for letting me scan it.

I remember Mr. Roy Pickard as part-owner of the Rosenberg's Pickard & Huggins Drug Store.  I never knew he was a big baseball man.  Apparently, he played for the Bay City Rice Eaters back when they existed.

You'll notice the team was filled with college boys who played for the Jaybirds during the summer.  I asked Lou whether they were paid.  He said they were.  Ostensibly, they were employed by local establishments and weren't paid to play baseball, but the jobs weren't all that onerous.

This next article (from the summer of 1950) covers the Jaybirds' entry into The Houston Post's annual baseball tournament for semi-pro teams.  Games were played at Buff Stadium. (Bruce Layer was a well-known sports reporter & broadcaster in 1950.  It looks like Lou saved his press pass.)


Max Schumann, Jr. (SLHS '40)

Some of you know Max Schumann, Jr. (SLHS '40) died recently.  I thought I'd repost the Class of '40 picture, in which he appears.  I've also posted a picture his nephew, Mark Schumann, posted on Facebook.  It shows from left-to-right: Robert, Herbert, Max, Sr., William and Max, Jr.  The occassion is Robert Schumann's wedding on June 9, 1956.

Thanks, Mark.

KPRC Transmitter Located in Sugar Land, 1930

An anonymous former employee of KPRC moderates a Facebook group devoted to the history of the KPRC radio and television stations.  I recommend it highly to anyone interested in Houston's broadcasting history.  The blog includes the following photos of the KPRC transmission tower located on the northwest quadrant where Eldridge Road intersects Highway-90A.  Actually, Eldridge Road was known as KPRC Road even when I was a child.

I think I can find the exact date, but I'm too lazy to do it right now.  Anyway, the tower and transmitter building stayed in Sugar Land for a very short time around 1929/30 -- just a year or so.  I think it moved to La Porte and then other locations through the '30s and '40s.  The picture above shows a snow-covered scene from the winter of 1930.

The following picture shows the equipment room in the building.

The next picture shows the engineer and his wife in May, 1926 before their move to the Sugar Land transmitter station.

Here's what the blogger said about them:

"KPRC's first couple, Olin S Brown and his wife Ruby Jo, at the piano in KPRC Radio's solo studio on the 22nd floor of the Post-Dispatch building. Olin and Ruby both worked at the station, he as remote engineer, she as studio hostess and secretary to Alfred P. Daniel. Later they lived at the transmitter site in Sugar Land. In 1934 they moved to Dallas where Olin worked for WFAA until his retirement in 1967."

Sometime after KPRC left the transmitter station, it became the home (minus the tower) of Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Weth.  He was Chief Engineer at Imperial Sugar.
My thanks go to the anonymous employee moderating the KPRC Facebook group.  I would have linked directly to his photos, but I couldn't find a way that non-Facebook viewers could get access.

1950 Houston Buffs

I've been involved in baseball research and made contact with a group of historians who are researching a book to be published next year.  It will cover Houston baseball history from 1861 to 1961.  Of course, the end point preceeds the debut of the Colt .45s and Houston's entry into Major League Baseball.

The Buffs were Houston's minor league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.  My father, his parents and his aunts and uncles were Buff fans and told me about watching Dizzy Dean, Ducky Medwick and other players who eventually became part of the Card's Gas House Gang who beat the Detroit Tigers in the '34 World Series.

The lead historian, Bill McCurdy, has an fascinating blog covering lots of Houston-oriented topics.  I saw an entry on the 1950 Buffs.  Some of you may recognize the players' names.  Jerry Witte is the only one I know.

Notice the Buffs anticipated Bill Veek and wore uniforms that included shorts rather than conventional baseball pants.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Update on the '57 Sugar Land High Band Recordings

Judy Harrington Diamond (SLHS '59) had the answer in her scrapbook!  We think the recordings I posted a few days ago were the first two numbers played at the Region Band Contest in Texas City on April 26 & 27, 1957.  She also saved an amusing picture, too.  Here's what Judy said,

"The photo of Johnelle Pauswang Cooper, Pam Helmcamp Clark and yours truly is from a different marching competition.  (Apparently we were trying to get permission to go to either the ladies room or the concession stand.  lol)"

 I'm glad we've got that incident on film.

USS Houston

J.R. Gonzales has a good history blog on the Houston Chronicle's Web site.  He posted an article recently on the sinking of the USS Houston.  It happened 70 years ago this past week, just after midnight on March 1, 1942.

I've also posted a short video made by the Houston Arts & Media group.  Both are very good if you're interested in WWII history.

WWII Prison Camps on the upper Texas Gulf Coast

Eric Berger, the science blogger at the online Houston Chronicle, wrote an article about the large WWII prison Camp at Hearne, Texas.  (The site is now a historical site open to visitors.)  Older readers responded to his article with their memories of POW camps.  (The link below will take you to Berger's follow-up article comprising their comments.)

My mother remembers the camp at the old Fort Bend County Fair Grounds.  She also remembers guards hauling inmates around the Humble Camp where they'd do manual labor.  She was a child, but she said they seemed like very harmless fellows.

Notice that Berger's article includes a link to the Web site for the Hearne POW Camp.

Prikryl's Purple Eskimo

I found these miscellaneous clippings in Dian Hagler's (DHS '65) scrapbook.  (My thanks go to her sister Linda for letting me scan it.)  They come from the Viking Shield printed in The Fort Bend Mirror.  If my calculation is correct, they were printed in the '61 - '62 school year.

My question is: What is Prikryl's Purple Eskimo?  (It's name was 'Fearless.')

Cain & Abel, Oxen Calves at the George Ranch Historical Park

The George Ranch Historical Park received two Longhorn calves from The George Foundation late last year.  The historical interpreter in charge of the 1830s Stock Farm is training them to do all the tasks they'd have done back then: haul a wagon, drag a sled & pull a plow.  He's making their yokes, harnesses, wagon, sled, et cetera by hand.  

The calves are named Cain & Abel.  I filmed one of their training sessions in early January. You can view a 6-minute clip by clicking on the following link.