Drop Down MenusCSS Drop Down MenuPure CSS Dropdown Menu

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Aerial Views of Old Walker Station Site in 1953

Last week I posted a contemporaneous article from The Daily Houston Post about the disastrous Brazos River flood of July 1899. It included the following drawing of the Sartartia station on the Southern Pacific rail line passing through Sugar Land west toward Richmond.  (It's the main rail line we have today.)

Prior to Col. L. A. Ellis's purchase of the plantation in the late 1870s, the rail depot was known as Walker's Station.  Ellis renamed the plantation and depot after his eldest daughter Sartartia, supposedly the Karankawa word for 'potato patch.'  (I think it's at least as pretty as some of the names given children these days.)

As I looked at the 1953 aerial, I noticed buildings by the railroad tracks next to the entrance of Central Unit 1.  I wondered if they could be the remnants of old Walker's Station.  The first blow up includes Central Unit 1, so you'll get a general impression of the location.

The next photo is a closer look at the buildings beside the tracks.  It's hard to say what they are, but it seems reasonable to me to think that's where Walker's Station (Sartartia) depot was located.
I've referred to the depot as 'Walker's Station' although Ellis definitely changed its name to Sartartia.  (Jim Vollmar's book, Railroads of Fort Bend County, includes a photo of the depot so named.)  

My reason for using the pre-Ellis name is that my family always referred to a set of buildings a few hundred yards further west as Sartartia.  I think it was the site of the Phenix Dairy's ice cream shop, which was very popular when my parents were children.  Although it closed before this aerial photo was taken in 1953, I think those structures annotated in this photo show its location.
In fact, that whole area constituted the Sartartia Plantation, and as far as I know, no one knows the precise location of the Ellis plantation home, which was moved into Sugar Land in 1908 to serve as W. T. Eldridge's residence.