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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Turn Back The Clock Night at Constellation Field

Here's a 7-minute video I made of "Turn Back The Clock Night," sponsored by Fluor Corporation in support of the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation.  Note that Roland Rodriguez (SLHS '50) was one of the dignitaries to throw out a ceremonial first pitch before the game.


The Little School Of The 400

The July 1958 edition of Imperial Sugar's company bulletin, the Imperial Crown, contained a feature article on the opening of a Little School Of The 400 in Sugar Land.  The event attracted several dignitaries, including Felix Tijerina, Houston restauranteur and dynamic supporter of these schools, Texas Governor Price Daniel, and local businessman, R. E. 'Bob' Smith.  

The article covers the event in detail.  I've added supplemental photos.  I would like to talk with anyone who attended or has first-hand knowledge of the school.


Curtis Hall, "The Law of Oyster Creek"

The accompanying article comes from the February 1958 edition of the Imperial Crown, the Sugar Company's monthly employee bulletin.  

The only thing I want to add is that I've been mistaken about the jail.  Many, many years ago I saw a building in the area behind the Cordes Cleaners Shop (1st City Hall) and thought it was the jail.  I was surprised at how small it was.  I now realize I mistook the kennel where Curtis kept his dogs for the jail.


Marshall Canneries And The Old Meat Market Building In 1956

The following article, announcing the new Marshall Canning Plant on the south bank of Cleveland Lake, appeared in the April 1956 edition of the Imperial Crown.  I found contemporaneous pictures showing the building, which sat just east of the water tower which still stands today. 

The building was demolished a few years ago in preparation for new development.

New canning plant under construction in 1955.
Southeastward view across Cleveland Lake.
Eastern half of the new building after completion.

View of old canning plant across Oyster Creek.
View of old canning plant from intersection of Main & Kempner Streets.
View of old canning plant from intersection of Main & Kempner Streets
Southward view of old canning plant from point near Main Street Bridge.
View of old canning plant from Main Street Bridge.
A short article in the December 1956 edition of the Crown covered the demolition of the old canning plant (shown above) and the old Meat Market on the west side of town, in the approximate location of today's Farmer's Market.  I've included some pictures of the demolition of the Meat Market building in late '56.

Westward view toward Cordes Cleaners (1st City Hall).
Mr. Ellis Brooks, Sr. in the background.
Shopping Center (Imperial Offices) in the distance.
Train depot (now Chamber of Commerce building) on the left.
Meat Market (behind telephone pole) in the early 20th century.

Dillard Home In Mayfield Park, August 1960

This short article from the Imperial Crown issued in August 1960 features new housing construction in Mayfield Park.  You see Henry and Janie Dillard's home located at the corner of Avenue D and Live Oak.  I'm almost certain this house is still occupied today.  

I'm sorry about the quality of the scan, but these bound copies don't leave much space on the inner margins of the pages.


Robert Laperouse Honored By US Weather Bureau in 1960

The Imperial Crown published in July 1960 included this short article announcing that Mr. Robert M. Laperouse received an honor from the US Weather Bureau.

Here's an undated photo of Mr. Laperouse at his weather station.  I think the date must be sometime in the 1940s.  I know the station was located on the north boundary of the refinery complex in later years when Donald Brooks made the recordings.  This appears to be a different location.


Imperial Crown Explains Initial Refining Step, February 1953

A few weeks ago I posted the feature article in the very first Imperial Crown, issued in January 1953.  It explained what happened 60 years ago when a shipment of raw sugar arrived at the Galveston docks before transit to the Imperial refinery.

The feature article in the February issue (below) explains the initial refining steps once the raw sugar arrived in Sugar Land.  The next article, which I'll post in a couple of weeks, will pick up the process where the amber liquor goes through the Char House and comes out as a clear liquid ready for granulation and drying.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Turn Back The Clock Night At Constellation Park

This Friday (August 9th) is 'Turn Back The Clock Night' at Constellation Field, home of the Sugar Land Skeeters.  This event is a fundraiser for the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation. We've contributed some historical photos and other items to highlight Sugar Land's baseball history and entertain local fans.

Roland Rodriguez, Sr. (SLHS '50) will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.  He and his daughter Pat (DHS '72) brought some pictures for the Skeeters to use on the big scoreboard.  They gave us several pictures, but the real eye-grabber for me was this poster for a double header in July 1950.  

(An addition) My Spanish is very informal, but I like the line on the poster which I loosely translate as "2 local amateur teams defend their outstanding records as they face the powerful All Stars baseball team from Piedras Negras."
A Mexican team from Piedras Negras was touring Texas and made a stop at Sugar Land's West End Park to face a team from Texas City in the opener and then take on the Sugar Land Imperials in the 2nd game.  I don't think there were any lights, so they played under a baking sun all afternoon.

I know I've become a bore on this, but I want to show where the old West End Park was located in the early 1950s.  Here's an aerial photo from 1952 showing the location of the double header and the future location of Constellation Field.

Sometime later in the '50s the park move directly north of Imperial Boulevard, the road to the right of the park in this picture.  This second location is the one I remember.  Dulles High School played its game there in the late 1960s.

I want to thank the Rodriguez family for giving us images from their family scrapbook.  They are a valuable record of our town's sports history.

Photo of The Ruffino Brothers Barbershop in 1959

I never thought I'd find a photo of the interior of the barbershop in the Shopping Center, but I did.  That's J. T. Farrell getting his hair cut by Tony Ruffino.  I don't recognize who's in the middle chair, but I know that's Johnny Ruffino doing the barbering.  I can't see the customer or barber in the first chair near the front window, but the barber was a small man with a metal brace on his leg.  Never knew his name.  

I can't identify any of the other men; maybe someone can help?
I can remember seeing Bruce get his first haircut in the middle chair in 1953 or '54.  I guess Johnny gave it to him.  Both my parents were there -- it was during my father's lunch hour.  Bruce cried the whole time, but he drew a crowd of onlookers.

I have lots of memories of this barbershop.  I recall my grandfather (Kelly) taking me to get a haircut.  He got his cut and then I got mine.  As he paid Johnny, he said, "My haircut costs $1.25, and his (meaning me) costs just $.50.  That's not right ... he has a lot more hair on his head that I do.  The charges should be reversed."  Johnny laughed.

More Photos Of The Interior Of The Palms Theater in Septermber 1957

Mr. Robert Laperouse at the podium on the stage at The Palms Theater
Placard for the Imperial Safety Meeting
Long shot of the stage and screen in The Palms Theater

Events On The Hill In The 1959

I found the following article in the April 1959 edition of the Imperial Crown.  It announced the sale of houses in parts of The Hill.  Subsequent editions (which I'll post in the future) announce expansion of sale.
Here are some other items related to The Hill.  They come from editions published in the early 1960s.   The following photo shows Mr. & Mrs. A. A. Rister with Bill Little.  He's presenting them the sales contract for their home at 151 First St.
These next photos show Mr. & Mrs. Henry Buford with their impressive tomato crop behind 153 First Street in 1960.
This final picture shows H. A. Herder unwrapping retirement gifts in 1963.  I like this photo because it shows the interior of a typical home on The Hill in that era.  The Herders lived at 161 First Street.

Sugar Land Gets Dial Telephones in 1959

Here's another factoid you may have wondered about.  My mother still has the same number our family received in 1959.  I know others who still have their original numbers.


Eva Jane Barlow, Teacher at M. R. Wood School

I found this photo of Eva Jane Barlow and her elementary class at M. R. Wood School in the Imperial Crown issued in July 1960.  This means she began teaching in 1912.  I'm not sure is she spent her entire career in Sugar Land.  Maybe someone can enlighten us on that.  Maybe someone can identify the children in the picture.


House Numbers Changed In February 1959

I remember that Sugar Land house numbers changed in the 1950s, but I couldn't remember the exact date.  Well, after reading through some old Imperial Crowns, I now know when we made the big switch.  Here's the explanatory article.  (I thought it happened much earlier.)

What is that?

A little over a year ago I posted the following photo of the old Red Barn Cafe, which sat right where the weekly Farmer's Market is located.  You can see the big concrete block in the foreground.
Apparently, this mysterious structure caused a stir back in early 1957 when the old meat market & produce shop was demolished.  After the building was razed everyone wondered what the block was all about.  Well, we have the answer in this short article from the Imperial Crown published in January 1957.

I'd heard this story but applied to a different building, the Ellis Plantation Home that sat next to the Char House.  I'd heard that W. T. Eldridge, Sr. had a slab poured under the floor beneath the cupboard where he stored his alcoholic refreshments.  Maybe old Sugar Land's imbibers were a determined bunch, and all storage locations need this kind of protection.