I'm not certain of the date for the first set of photos, which shows the refinery's old carpentry shop and machine shop. This aerial will help with orientation on the refinery site in its current state.
The next set of photos shows the 'new' power plant. It was built in 1938 inside the refinery complex to replace the old plant built in 1920 between Oyster Creek and Main St. The new plant was torn down in the demolition done a few years ago, although two of its smoke stacks are still standing. The 1920 plant still stands but is scheduled for demolition very soon. (Click image to view album.)
I found the next two photos in the SMU library's digital collection. I'd never seen anything like them before. The first shows convict laborers at the front of the Cunningham refinery roughly where Brooks St. crosses Highway 90A. (As best I can tell.) It is undated, but it could be as early as 1894. (Click on image for full display.)
DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.
The next photo (also undated) shows a fine dining establishment, The Sugar Land Inn, in the same era. I've examined old photos of the Cunningham refinery showing the side facing the railroad tracks, and I can't find any structure matching this place. The building's location may have been on the south side of the tracks roughly where The Texas Brisket is located today. Maybe the inscription, "On the American Place," is a clue.
The photo is stereoscopic (thus the two copies). I've never seen a stereoscopic photo of old Sugar Land before. (Click on image for full display.)
I'm posting these next two photos to give you an idea of what the front of the Cunningham refinery looked like in the early days. These are some of the photos I examined, hoping to find the location of the Sugar Land Inn.
|1908 or '09.|
This final photo is a bonus. It's one of the Sugar Land Heritage Foundations maps of Mayfield Park during its development. (I don't see a date on it, but I assume it was drawn in the early 1960s. It shows the utility easements, utility lines, houses, and other structures in sharp detail. Unfortunately, Google isn't the best at high resolution images.