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Saturday, June 7, 2014

A History of Sugarland Industries - Part 10: Water Management

I've posted several entries about the history of water management in Sugar Land.  I've also posted items relating specifically to dredging, but since I found three newspaper articles about draining & dredging in the 1920s, I thought I'd post them with some descriptive photos.  (There are a couple of illustrative aerial photos in the Images of Old Sugar Land entry immediately below.)  

Here are the articles which appeared in Sugar Land's local paper, The Texas Industrial News.

I find several statement in those articles confusing.  First, Edward H. Cunningham built the lifting station which even today pumps Brazos River water into Oyster Creek via Jones Creek.  It was part of the acquisition when Kempner & Eldridge took over Cunningham's propery.  Second, I thought Cunningham built the 3 dams on Oyster Creek in Sugar Land's environs.  The articles suggest Eldridge built Coburn's Dam and the dam farthest downstream near Dulles Blvd.  (See the map I've included showing the location of these dams.  I've given the two upstream dams the names we always used: Cook's Dam and Coburn's Dam.  I think they are officially known as Dams No. 1 and No. 2 nowadays.)  Third, I never saw them use the mobile pump mentioned in the articles, but I may have found a photo of it - see below.  If they used this equipment in the 1950s, I don't recall seeing it.  

I'll post more on this topic next week, so maybe that additional info will clear up some of these questions.
This undated photo shows the dredge pumping silt onto the banks of Oyster Creek.  I'm uncertain of the location, but I think it's near Coburn's Dam where Brooks Lake joins Oyster Creek.  I now see the left bank is too high to be the location I suggested.  I'm not sure where this photo was taken.

Another undated photo of the dredge working in the same location.

An undated photo showing what may be the floating pump used to irrigate fields.  Note the row crops in the distance on the left where the Brookside subdivision now stands.