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Sunday, January 26, 2014

More Images Of Old Sugar Land

We have many, many photos of the Char House over the years, and I've posted quite a few of them.  I decided to post this one because of its aesthetic quality.  It has a slightly dramatic quality to me, and it shows date palms along Highway 90A.  The date is sometime in the late 1920s.

A view of the north side of Highway 90A a the intersection with Main St.  The Salvage Buildings are on the right.  Note the sign indicating Sugar Land Mfg. Company is the occupant.  (I can't guess what they were manufacturing -- they were into all kinds of enterprises.)  The Sealy Mattress building (later Marshall Canning) is on the left.

The quality of this aerial photo is incredible -- very crisp and clear.  It was taken sometime between 1925 (when the Char House was completed) and 1942 (when the Humble service station was built at the intersection of Brooks and Highway 90A).  Note that Highway 90A is just 2 lanes.  The Imperial Inn is standing on the east bank of Oyster Creek south of the highway bridge.

I can tell by the automobiles that the next photo predates the previous one.  I can also tell it was taken before 1932 because the 2nd semi-circle of the school on Lakeview hasn't been built.

Its resolution is superb, but the contrast isn't good, so some areas are washed out.  Still, you get a good view of the west side of town.  The clinic hasn't been built on the corner of Ulrich and Sugar Land (now Kempner) St.  The Prikryl Hotel is the two-story wooden building in the middle left.  There is a steam engine on the siding next to the highway, and you get a view of the houses along the south side of Highway 90A.  They were later moved to South Belknap in Brookside.

These next photos came to me courtesy of Haroldetta Robertson.  Her father-in-law was the HL&P lineman who covered the Sugar Land area.  (I have a picture of him in the People of Sugar Land post immediately below.)  The HL&P substation appears in these photos.  (I'm working on the exact location so I can position it on a current Google map.)  It was located south of Highway 6 near the current location of First Colony Mall.  The Robertsons lived in a home adjacent to the substation.

These are Robertson family in-laws posing near the HL&P substation, which appears in the distance on the right.  This picture was taken in 1952.

This is Louis Robertson (DHS '62), Haroldetta's husband, as a 4-year old in 1948/49.  The substation is in the distance.

This is a photo of Louis standing in front of the modernized substation in 1997, almost 50 years after the previous photo.

When you visit the Sugar Land Museum, you'll see a super-sized poster of the first photo below, which shows convict labor handling sugar cane at the Imperial Mill located on the south bank of Oyster Creek behind today's Nalco-Champion complex.  The State of Texas owned the Mill (it sat on prison farm property), but the raw sugar it produced was refined at the Imperial refinery.  The mill was constructed in 1883 and burned in 1913.  The second photo shows convict labor harvesting sugar cane on the Harlem (now Jester) prison farm around 1900.


More People Of Old Sugar Land

Mr. Robertson, HL&P lineman who serviced the Sugar Land Area.  (He appears to be standing on the east side of Wood St. in the vicinity of Kempner Field.)

Mary Alice Streich on left and Ernie Wood on the right with Mabel Greenwald on her 108th birthday.  (I don't have an exact date for the photo, but it must have been taken in the late 1970s.)

Stanley and Soapy Borowski, Dutch Albers, Bob Armstrong, Sparky Brock, and Frank Sontag as they celebrate their 40th anniversaries with Imperial Sugar in 1970.  (My thanks to Brenda Albers Miles for providing this image.)

Odell Wood, Imperial Traffic Manager, c. 1945?
Odell Wood with daughter Susan in 1938 on the steps of their home at 126 6th Street.
The Greenwalds, Vera and Greenie, with their sons, Tom, Bill, Jack, and their respective families about 1950.

Winding Up The Vikings' 1963 Football Season

The following articles appeared after the '63 season was complete, and Dulles lost to the Rockwall Yellow Jacket 7-6 in the AA State Championship game.

My congratulations go to the Dulles players (and their opponents) who made the '63 season not just thrilling, but legendary, too.

This next article appeared in The Dallas Morning News, which closely covered North Texas high school football.


Ain't No More Sugar In Sugar Land

(See February 10th posting. Sorry, but it appears the KUHF Web site is not playing the audio files properly.  I'll try to find a work-around and repost next week.)

I wasn't living in Sugar Land when KUHF, the public radio station at U of H, aired this documentary on Sugar Land in 2004. There are five short segments in the series.  Just click the links to hear them.

Leon Anhaiser, Diane Ware, and I.H. 'Denny' Kempner, III participated in the production.


From Chain Gangs To Chain Stores

I've been corresponding with Patsy Sims, a writer who is researching the Central Units on the prison farm west of Sugar Land.  I've learned quite a bit from her already and hope to learn more.  As you'll read in the article below, her grandfather worked there until retirement in 1949, and Patsy has vivid memories of extended summer visits to her grandparent's home on Flanagan Road.

She wrote this article for the Texas Observer in 2007.  It includes fascinating photos and recollections of this vanishing part of our local history.

A Couple of Updates

I got a couple of anonymous comments that clarified some of the photos in last week's People of Old Sugar Land.  One pointed out that one of the unidentified girls in photos #3 and #10 is Dorothy Macek.  Another pointed out that the Junior Achievement group is in the Dulles High School Shop, which is still standing although significantly changed.  Roberta Cooke Prater also confirmed the location.

My thanks go to the readers who provided the info.

The Old Fort Bend County Court House Restoration Is Complete

The County's project to restore the 1909 court house is complete.  I've had a quick tour, and I have to say the building looks wonderful.  If you're in Richmond, stop by and take a look.


The Battleship Texas Is 100 Years Old

The Battleship Texas, now docked at the San Jacinto Battle Grounds, will be 100 years old on March 12, 2014.  The Battleship Texas Foundation will host a celebration on March 15.  

Here's a link to information on the Battleship.  I'm not sure I like the way this site is organized, but there are good pictures and articles if you're interested, and I appreciate the effort in collecting and organizing the information.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tips On Navigating The Blog

I thought I'd post some quick tips on how to navigate and search this blog.  When you scroll downward, you'll eventually come to the bottom of the page on display.  Click the link to older posts as shown in this screen shot.  It will take you to the preceding posts.

You can also review the posts by date.  You'll see a chronological list of posting in the left-hand column, as shown in this screen shot.

Click on year or month and you'll get a drop-down list from which to choose items.  You can also use the list of Labels to search by topic.

Finally, you can use the search box at the top of the left-hand column.  It is a text search of the blog, which means you won't find anything in an image, even if it looks like text.  Enter a word or phrase as shown in this screen shot.

The blog will return a list of matching items.  The only quirky thing is the way Google archives old blog posts.  It groups them in batches before moving them to its archive.  The search box will find matching archived posts, but they may be grouped with non-matching items.  You'll have to wade through them to find the precise post you were looking for.  Regardless, it's quicker than the hunt-and-peck method.  

Here's a screen shot of the results window.  Just click the item you want to view it.


Sugarland Industries Farming & Ranching South Of Sugar Land

Since I posted an item last week locating the old site of Grand Central, I thought I'd show a couple of old farming photos.  First, I'll show an aerial from 1932 orienting the south side of town, including Grand Central, the Industries center of farming and ranching operations.  This aerial is particularly good because of its elevation.  Unfortunately, this is a scan of a print, so the resolution isn't as good as I'd like.

The next photo show cotton pickers working a field.  The tree line suggests a body of water in the background.  I have no hard evidence for this, but I'll bet they are working a field in what is now the Brookside subdivision.

The next photo shows a mule team pulling a cultivator in another unknown location.  Mule power was THE mode of cultivation for Industries farming operations for far longer than you'd expect.  Some old timers have told me farmers were working fields with mules into the 1950s.  If you ever shop at the Fiesta store in Sugar Creek, note the large photo at the entrance showing the Grand Central mule barn.  You'll get an idea of the extensive role mules played in Sugar Land's economic history.


More Images Of Old Sugar Land

Imperial Truck Fleet - late 1960s(?)

Imperial Refinery at Main Street Bridge - 1980s.

That's a mule-powered wagon on what became Highway 90A.  (The camera is pointed northwest on what is now Bayview.  No red-brick char house, so the photo was taken before 1925.)

Extension of Wood St. to new concrete bridge over Cleveland Lake - 1960s. (Camera is pointed southeast toward the pecan orchard across from the school.)

Construction of new concrete bridge over Cleveland Lake - 1960s. (Camera is pointed northeast toward the Lakeview campus.)

Extension of Wood St. to new concrete bridge over Cleveland Lake - 1960s. (Camera is pointed southeast toward the pecan orchard across from the school.)

Extension of Wood St. to new concrete bridge over Cleveland Lake - 1960s. (Camera is pointed south toward Highway 90A from the Lakeview campus.)

Ted Harman Bridge after construction - 1970s(?) (Camera pointed southward into Mayfield Park.)
Ted Harman Bridge under construction - 1970s(?) (Camera pointed northward to Burney Road from Mayfield Park.)
The Char House under construction with a view of the concrete bridge spanning Highway 90A over Oyster Creek.

More People Of Old Sugar Land

The following series of photos were taken in the 1967/68 school year.  They show Dulles High School's Junior Achievement group at the old Imperial Refinery's Machine Shop (I think) Dulles High School Shop, as they fabricated the product they eventually sold.  I'm certain I can find out more about this, including a good description of the product.

Ruben Guerrero(?)

Cathy Louviere on left with back to camera.

From right to left: Carol Bowen, Charlie Tise, Pam Tise, unidentified, and Dorothy Macek on the left.

George Lasher on far left and Cathy Louviere on far right - others unidentified.

Left to right: Wayne Mayhood, Jane Hanna(?), and Larry Smith.

Dianne Allen far left, Cathy Louviere far right, and Daniel Stavinoha and Ramona Holt in the center background.

Mariko Gomez(?) left foreground, Wayne Mayhood left back ground, Dianne Allen left background, Ramona Holt and Daniel Stavinoha far right.

Unidentified boy at the grinder with George Lasher left and Wayne Mahood right observing.

Dorothy Macek left, Pam Tise center, and Carol Bowen right.
E. V. 'Sparky' Brock - 1960s.

Pansy Vaculik (?) - 1960s.

David Armstrong - 1957.

Bob Laperouse & Bill Louviere, Sr. with Imperial employees displaying safety award - 1960s.

Christmas Party - 1960s.

A. H. Weth, Imperial's Chief Engineer - 1960s.

The following series of photos show Sugar Land residents receiving Albert Sabin's oral polio vaccine in the early 1960s.  I recall this initiative, but I'm a little vague on details.  I believe it was free to the public.  They had various sites open on various dates.  I recall my family went to Alief on a Sunday afternoon to pop our sugar cubes.  That's the significance of the photos of the Imperial station wagon.  Imperial must have donated the sugar cubes which were doused with the vaccine.  As Mary Poppins says, "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down ..."

Mary Little is sitting at the registration table.

That's the Roland Rodriguez family lining up for their sugar cubes.

Dorothy Gandy is in the left background.

That looks like Bob Sheppard doing a 'bottoms up.'
Imperial Crown - August 1957.
Imperial Crown - August 1957.