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Monday, December 17, 2012

2012 Candlelight Tours of the Moore Home in Richmond

The Fort Bend Museum opens the Moore Home in Richmond for candlelight tours every Christmas season.  The Tours occur over a weekend in early December.  The Moore Home is a well-preserved Victorian mansion that stands on the Museum grounds.  It really sparkles when decorated for the holiday season.

This year's theme was '175 Years of Legacy,' honoring Fort Bend County on its 175th birthday.  Each room on the tour served as a centerpiece for an aspect of the County's rich history.

I made a 4-minute video of the Tours.  They are an annual event on the Museum calendar, so consider a visit as a part of next year's holiday celebration.


Archeological Survey of Old Fort Bend in Richmond

A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to join the Fort Bend Archeological Society in an exploratory dig in the area where old Fort Bend stood back in the 1820s & '30s.  I made a 7-minute video of the work we did that Saturday morning.

The Brazos River's west bank has eroded over time, so the spot where the fort was located in now in the River.  The area we explored was where old Richmond grew up around the fort.  

The Archeological Society has found several artifacts, the most recent being a torpedo bottle made in Ireland around 1820.  A torpedo bottle has a round bottom, which prevents standing it on end.  The idea is to ensure it lies on its side so its cork won't dry out.


Merry Moppet Kindergarten

I'll have to ask my mother for more details about the Merry Moppet Kindergarten, but I know the general history.  I'm not sure when Mrs. Boyer retired from teaching kindergarten, but sometime around 1961 my mother and her sister started a kindergarten in Sugar Land.  My uncle built them a two-room school on Highway-90A roughly where the Frost Bank building now stands.  When Sugar Land State Bank decided to build a new office on that spot two years later (i.e., today's Frost building after considerable remodeling), they had to move the building.

Bob Armstrong sold them the lot at the corner of Wood and Lakeview where the school (under a new name) still stands.  I can't recall exactly when they sold the school, but I think it was around 1972.

Here's a little-known fact.  The head of the Texas Rangers (not the baseball team), Tony Leal, attended Merry Moppet Kindergarten.

I want to thank Haroldetta Robertson for providing me a scan of her son's Merry Moppet diploma.


Old Photos of the Lakeview School Campus

I've collected many pictures of Sugar Land Elementary School children.  The following picture shows a portion of Dulles High School's Class of 1960 when they were in the 1st grade in 1948.  I recognize several of them.

You see them standing in front of a class room on the west side of the 1st circleEveryone called the semi-circles of class rooms 'circles' even though they weren't actually circles.   

The next photo shows the east side of the 1st circle across from the room where the 1st picture was taken.

1st Circle in 1960

Carroll Smith Rome taught me the 2nd grade in the room behind the left side of swing set in the distance.

The following picture is a long shot of the west side of the circle where the Class of '60 is standing in the 1st picture.  The auditorium is on the right.  You get a good view of the covered walkway that linked the school rooms.  It looks like Mr. Wanjura missed a few spots with his lawn mower.

1st Circle in 1960

This last photo shows the 2nd circle sometime before 1952. The gym, which still stands on Lakeview Elementary's campus, is in the center.  In 1953 SLISD added 4 class rooms to the left side of this circle.  Those class rooms still stand.  A band hall and new complex were added on the right side of this circle.  Those buildings still stand, too.  This is not a particularly good picture, but it shows the complete circle of class rooms under a dramatically cloudy sky.


Sugar Land Eagle Scouts, 1967

The following picture shows from left to right Homer Spear, Tommy Laird, David Neal, and Jock Miner at the Minor family home sometime around 1967, I think.  Tommy and David have just become Eagle Scouts.  Homer and Jock were leaders of Boy Scout Troop 148, Sugar Land's oldest Boy Scout Troop.  (My thanks go to Tommy Laird for posting this picture on Facebook.)


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Coach Allen, 1938-2012

I want to thank Steve Shelton (DHS '63) and Roger Howard (DHS '63) for informing me that Coach Johnel Allen died recently.  Click here to view an obituary.

Here are a few photos of Coach Allen from Dulles yearbooks.

Dulles 1963

Dulles 1963
Dulles 1966

Dulles 1966

Sugar Land Junior High 1961 Football Season
Several of us wanted to drive to El Campo and take Coach to lunch, so we could talk over old times.  His 'old boys'  (including myself) have some good stories about Coach Allen.  I regret that we won't be able to recollect them with him.

Rice Beats Baylor 20-0 To Claim The '57 SWC Crown

I've posted a few items in the past about Rice's 1957 SWC Championship football team.  My football coach at Dulles High School, Bobby Williams (Missouri City High '53),  played on that team, so there's a local connection.  

I got these items from the Rice History Corner, a blog about Rice University.  The University's historical collection includes a scrapbook kept by a cheerleader during the '57 season.  A couple of these images obviously come from that scrapbook.

I haven't researched the Houston papers for additional articles, but you'll see one from The Thresher, Rice's student newspaper.  You'll notice that Bobby Williams returned a punt for an 80-yard touchdown.  I may be mistaken, but I think he lead the SWC in punt return yardage that year.

I have a personal memory about this game.  My father got 4 tickets, so our family could see the big game.  I was 7-years old and relished every chance to attend a game.

Well, Saturday morning I woke up with an upset stomach and threw up big time.  My parents said, "There's no way we're taking you," so I stayed with my grandparents while everyone else went.  I was very unhappy. 

Jane Long Historical Marker Dedication

On December 2, 2012 the Fort Bend County Historical Commission relocated a state historical marker commemorating Jane Wilkinson Long.  It was placed on her land in Richmond along the Brazos River in 1936 as part of the state's centennial celebration.  

That part of Richmond, like other parts of Fort Bend County, has changed considerably since the 1930s, so the marker has been relocated to Hutchinson Elementary School on Williams Way Boulevard.  It's not far from the new complex of County buildings in south Richmond along the River.


Sugar Land Junior High Viking Log, 1960

Annette Williamson Wise (DHS '64) donated some of her school memorabilia to me before she died.  Among the items was the 1960/61 yearbook for Sugar Land Junior High.  It was called, The Log.  Annette was an 8th grader that year.  It's filled with good picturesI'll post more from it, but here are some selected items.


Sugar Land Fire Signals

Before becoming a municipality Sugar Land relied on a volunteer fire department.  The Power Plant in the refinery had a steam whistle which blew 'coded signals' to alert the volunteers where a fire was located.  I assume some volunteers gathered at the fire house in front of the refinery to drive the fire trucks to the scene, while others drove directly to the location from their homes.  Maybe an old timer can set me straight on that.

Anyway, here is a list of the signals indicating various districts of the town.  These signals also appeared in the Sugar Land telephone directories.  Virtually everyone had them memorized, so they weren't all that necessary.  

It's not listed here, but there was a signal for prison escapes.  I assume Imperial Blvd. was included in the Gin Group signal.  I also assume Down Town Residences were the houses in what is the north section of present-day Brookside near Highway-90A.


Region Band Auditions, 1968

I don't have a date for this photo from The Fort Bend Mirror, but I'm reasonably sure it was printed in late 1968. You see Gary Buis, Sheryl Gary Lambert, Jamie Larson, and my brother Bruce prior to their try outs for the Region Band in Wharton.