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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A video tour of the Central Unit near Sugar Land

I want to thank Bob Husbands for organizing our tour of the Texas Prison System's old Central Unit on September 21st.  Many of you know the State is selling the property.  (No deal is imminent.)

A group (including myself) interested in seeing the site took this specially-arranged guided tour.  I'd never been on the property, much less toured the prison, so I'm very grateful for the chance to see and video it.

Link to 1st Part of the Video

   Skip to tour of 1st Main Building

   Skip to tour of 2nd Main Building

Link to 2nd Part of the Video

   Skip to Solitary Cell Block

   Skip to Horse Trough

   Skip to Dog Kennel

   Skip to Warden's Home

   Skip to Residential Streets

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rosie Theis-Turner

This is a repost from Betty Ann Jenkins Williams's Facebook page.  Betty Ann is a member of the '71 Class at DHS.  Many of you will remember the Jimi & Jack Neal family, including their children David (DHS '67), Henry (DHS '69), and Emily (DHS '71). 

As Betty Ann says, no donation is too small.

Betty Ann and Rosie.

This is a long read, plus please take the time......It was 6 weeks yesterday that mother passed away from the complications of a broken hip and pneumonia. I am not really sure why I didn’t post at the time but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. With the help of my family, we were able to keep her at home where she belonged. I miss her terribly but know she is healed, happy and walking perfectly!

I believe in taking a sadness or loss and trying to turn it into something positive. When mother passed, we asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Rosie Theis-Turner Recovery Fund. Rosie is currently in treatment for a reoccurrence of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Rosie attended FBISD schools and is now a teacher at Drabek Elementary. Rosie is the daughter of Emily Neal (Dulles class of 71), the niece of Henry Neal (Dulles class of 69), and the grand-daughter of Jimi and Jack Neal longtime Fort bend teachers. She is on a leave of absence while going through her treatment. Next week she is scheduled for a stem cell transplant, using her own harvested tissue. Her recovery is moving forward, but she is in need of prayer and financial assistance as she will not be able to return to work this year.

Please consider making a donation to the Rosie Theis-Turner Recovery Fund at http://hope4rose.webs.com/. Checks can be sent in care of Jill Cope, 1515 Tillman, Richmond, TX 77476.
No donation is too small and all are very much appreciated. God Bless you all.

Richmond Celebrates Its 175th Birthday

On Saturday, September 15th, the City of Richmond celebrated its 175th anniversary with a day-long street festival.  I've produced a 15-minute video of the event for the Fort Bend Museum Association.  I thoroughly enjoyed the festivities.  I hope they repeat this type of event in the future.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Jaybird - Woodpecker Saga" by Bruce Kelly

My brother gave a presentation to the Fort Bend County Historical Commission last month.  His topic was the Jaybird-Woodpecker War that erupted in Fort Bend County in 1889.  I videoed the presentation, but the audio didn't turn out as well as I wanted.  Nevertheless, I've posted this 24-minute version for those interested in this era of local history.

The good news is Bruce is giving the talk at Richmond's 175th birthday celebration on September 15th.  I believe he's giving it at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm at the Masonic Hall on Morton Street.  (I can confirm the details if you're interested.)

(Update) I got this message from Bruce: "My Jaybird presentation is scheduled from 3:15 to 4:15 on Saturday (at the Masonic Hall)."  

There are other speakers on different topics.  I'll try to get them today and post the schedule tonight.


A Man On A Horse -- Lakeview Drive in 1929

I've seen several copies of this picture in different archives.  A. J. Shields is the man on the horse, but I can't find any information on him.  I've always assumed he was a construction supervisor, but I could be wrong about that.  Neither he or his family are listed in the 1929 Sugar Land telephone directory.  

Regardless, you get a fine view of the eastern section of Lakeview Drive as it was being developed in 1929.  Someone could probably take a print of the picture to the street today and determine exactly where the camera was placed.  (It's pointed eastward from a point somewhere near the midpoint between Wood Street and Eldridge Road.)  

You can see KPRC radio's transmission towers in the distance (to the right).  They were located at the transmission station on what was then called KPRC Road but is now known as Eldridge Road.  You can just see Eldridge's home in the distance behind the construction shack.

Unloading Sugar at the Galveston Docks

I found this undated photo in T. C. Rozelle's scrapbook.  It dates from the early 20th century and shows stevedores unloading sacks of raw sugar on the Galveston docks.  The picture has extremely fine resolution, so you can (almost) read the no-smoking sign on the warehouse, pick out the crane operators on the ship, and clearly see the dollies they used to cart the bags from the ship to the warehouse.   I think those were 200-lb. bags of sticky, raw sugar.

Notice the ship in the back is much, much larger than the sugar freighter in the front.  I'm not sure what type of cargo it was carrying -- possibly cotton?

Houston Chronicle Restaurant Ads, 1964

J. R. Gonzales recently  posted this image on his blog, Bayou City History.  It shows restaurant ads from an undated edition of The Houston Chronicle from 1964.  

It brought back some memories.  My family patronized Del Monico's, the Clear Creek Inn, Gaido's, Weldons' cafeteria, and Youngblood's (the Bissonnet location).  I've heard of other restaurants on this page, but I don't think we ever ate at any of them.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Fort Bend Mirror, June 28, 1968

I found a copy of the Fort Bend Mirror published on June 28, 1968 in Leon & Bettye Anhaiser's family scrapbook.  Here are a few selections of what appeared in that issue.

Two of my classmates, Dorothy Syblik and Marsha Krause, did big things at the State Science fair.

Another of my classmates, Theresa Lynn Bartosh, won a music scholarship to Wharton County Junior College.

Another classmate, Berry Eygendaal, returned to the Netherlands after completing his year as a foreign exchange student at Dulles High School.  Berry was FBISD's first exchange student.  He lived with the Miner family.

Here's an article about renaming Sugar Land Street, now Kempner Street.

The following pictures show the the new officers of the Sugar Land Lions Club.

Here's a bonus from an ad for Love's Fine Foods in Stafford.

More Children of Sugar Land

I found a copy of the Imperial Crown for January 1968 in Leon & Bettye Anhaiser's scrapbook.  It contained this article about a Christmas Party for children in Sugar Land's Head Start Program.  The Sugar Land Lions Club made the event happen.  I can identify Jim Ellis in one of the photos, but I'm unclear on everyone else.


Dulles Junior High Open House, November 1973

I found this article about the open house at Dulles Junior High School in the Hightowers' scrapbook.  It comes from the Fort Bend Suburbia published on November 14, 1973.  

I've always found the name of this school very confusing. I went to Sugar Land Junior High on Lakeview in the 1960s.  Soon afterward, FBISD opened Dulles Junior High on Dulles Avenue next to Dulles High School.  They eventually incorporated the Junior High buildings into Dulles High School and in 1973 opened Dulles Junior High, which is the subject of this article.  This school is located on 7th Street in Sugar Land.

FBISD subsequently changed its name to Dulles Middle School, and then changed it once again to Sugar Land Middle School, which is its current name.  I think I've got all this correct.


Lakeview Elementary's Reading Project in 1973

Here's an item from the Fort Bend ISD News published on August 29, 1973.  I found it in the Hightowers' scrapbook.  Dot played an instrumental role in the reading program introduced at Lakeview Elementary.

Note the smaller article about ticket sales for the upcoming Dulles football season.


City of Sugar Land's 25th Anniversary Celebration in 1984

T. C. Rozelle saved this program for the City's 25th anniversary celebration.  Note the participants and sponsors.  Some of them are still around.

I don't see any indication of location.  I assume it was the old Community Center on Matlage Way.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Swimming in Oyster Creek: A Timeless Sugar Land Tradition

Roughly a week ago, Tommy Laird (DHS '67) saw some kids swimming in Oyster Creek.  He commented that swimming in the Creek is a rarity these days.  I'm sure it is, but I'm glad to see the tradition is still alive.

Here's an 11-minute video of locals swimming in Oyster Creek over the past 90 years. (Hey guys, be sure and check this out.  There's some vintage cheese cake in this video.)

I don't want to leave anyone out, but there are a few people I couldn't identify.  You'll see Tommy Laird, Johnny Armstrong, Rit Jons, Richard Bunting, Bill Banahan, James Schuman (maybe), Douglas Warmke (maybe), David Neal, Tom Neal, Mary Lee Scanlin, Lynn Senior, Emma Davenport, Candy Gandy, Robbie Womack, Gayle Lockhart, Paula King, Carolyn Renfrow, Martha Suhr, and Louise Nygren.

In the last segment, you'll see Karen Laird, Nancy Shelton, Waldine Barron, Carol Park, Wanda Skidmore, Belinda Jenkins, and Cynthia Gross.

I'm sure I've missed some people.  Maybe the participants will fess up and identify people I've missed.   

Richmond is celebrating its 175th birthday!


Who knew Roger Clemens played on the '78 Dulles JV Baseball Team?

Terrell Smith (DHS '78) sent me an interesting photo a few days ago.  He looked through his '78 Viking yearbook and learned that Roger Clemens spent at least one semester at Dulles in the late '70s.   (He is a 1980 graduate of Spring Woods High School, however.)  

I spoke with Keith Castle's parents recently, and they confirmed Roger attended Dulles in '78.  Like Terrell, their son is a member of the 1978 Class at Dulles High School.  They said Keith played Little League baseball with Roger back in the mid 1970s.  Clemens is standing 2nd from the left on the back row in the team picture.

San Felipe de Austin State Historical Site

On July 14th I visited San Felipe de Austin State Historical Site near Sealy, Texas.  I heard Bryan McAuley of the Texas Historical Commission give a 45-minute presentation on the history and future of the park.  Bear in mind this is not a state park run by Texas Parks & Wildlife; the Texas Historical Commission manages it.  

Bryan explained the park was marginally neglected for many years, but the Commission plans to rectify that situation.  They have completed the purchase of land for a large museum, which will house artifacts related to Stephen F. Austin, his Colony, and early Texas history.

This link will take you to the Web site for Stephen F. Austin State Park, which is very near San Felipe de Austin Park.  As you'll see, it offers facilities for hiking, biking, camping, bird watching, and geocaching.