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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

News & Updates

I'll catch up on more updates in the next round.  For now, I'll mention the recent death of Evelyn Stock. Those of you who attended Sugar Land Elementary School may remember Mrs. Stock and her husband Willie. You could say they were fixtures at the old school. Click here to view her obituary

Thank you to Mark Schumann for notifying me, and all the best to the Stock family for the loss of their mother and grandmother.

Leon Anhaiser confirmed this is Hal Rucker in the Lions Club photo I posted last week. Thanks, Leon. Congratulations to the Lions Club for their years of service to Sugar Land.

Hal Rucker at the 1953 Lions Club Carnival.

Wayne Boehm Interview from 2011

Pat Pollicoff interviewed several old timers in June 2011 to talk about playing football with Ken Hall. Wayne Boehm was one among several men who talked as they stood on Kempner Field.  I thought Wayne's interview was very good.

Click on the image to view the 7-minute video.

More People of Old Sugar Land

SLHS Class of '56 as 3rd graders in 1947.

SL contingent of DHS Class of '66 as 1st graders in 1955.

DHS Class of '74 as freshmen in 1971.

More of the Sugar Land Lions Club

I've reposted more old items highlighting the Sugar Land Lions Club since they are celebrating their 75th anniversary this month.

The first photo is from a pancake supper held on March 29, 1956 at the Salvage Hall. My thanks to to Linda Hagler Mosk (DHS '68) whose father is in the group.

1956 Fundraiser
Here is a letter the club sent to graduating boys back in the 1940s.  In this case, the graduate was my father, Charles E. Kelly, Jr. Note the men listed in the letterhead.

I'm not certain of the date for this next photo, but it shows Bill Chadwick, Director of Laura Eldridge Hospital, Esther Kirkpatrick, and Leon Anhaiser.  The Lions Club had just donated money to buy wheelchairs for the hospital.  (The date must be 1966 or '67.)

I don't have a date for the next photo either, but it must come from the mid 1960s.  It shows James Kee presenting a Lions Club donation to the Freeman Post of the American Legion.  Sterling Thomas and Heywood Davis were then leaders of the post.

These clippings from the Fort Bend Mirror come from the June 28, 1968 issue.

The Lions hosted a Christmas party for children in Sugar Land's Head Start Program. This photo and article appeared in the January 1968 issue of The Imperial Crown.

We end with a photo from the April 30, 1975 issue of the Fort Bend Mirror.  It shows Leon Anhaiser and Fred Baker at the unveiling of a plaque at Fred Baker Little League Field.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Flooding & Water Control - Part 1

Most of you have probably seen newscasts covering the recent flooding.  I've collected a few photos for the blog.  

I will post an item about the history of water management and flood control in the next update. It's something we take for granted, but appreciate in times like these.  

Click on the images to view the albums of flood photos.
Aerials of 2016 Flood.

Images of Richmond during 2016 Flood.

Images of Morton Cemetery during 2016 Flood.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Sugar Land Lions Club

The Sugar Land Lions Club is celebrating its 75th anniversary on June 18th. Congratulations to them! I've posted items about the Lions Club in the past, but in honor of their anniversary, I'll repost some of them.

The first item is an article that appears on the City of Sugar Land Web page.  It gives you a quick history of the club.  Click here to view the article.

These photos show the club celebrating their 25th anniversary in 1956.  You see some of the charter members.

Founding members at 25th anniversary. (Curtis Hall, 2nd from left & Mac Parker, 2nd from right.)

Founding members at 25th anniversary. (Fred Baker giving award to Don Williams.)

Founding members at 25th anniversary. (L-to-R: Don Williams, Leslie Wheeler, Carlos Slaughter, Vern Blair (?), C. E. McFadden, & Tom James in back.)

Club meeting in Salvage Hall sometime in the early '60s.

Club meeting in Salvage Hall sometime in the early '60s.

The next series of photos show the 1953 Lions Club Carnival.

Fred Baker on the left.

Cliff Nygren (?)

Bingo (?)

Bingo (?)

Bingo (?)

Bingo (?)

Hal Rucker.

I'll repost a few more items next time.

A Profile of M. R. Wood

While researching Sugar Land's history of water management and flood control, my brother Bruce sent me some info on Milton. R. Wood.  I've posted items about Wood before, but as Bruce pointed out, he was quite a renaissance man.

Here is Bruce's extended comment:

Milton R. Wood

Somebody should write a book about him. He was not only a competent irrigation engineer but also a sugar chemist, architect, and educator. Notice the desk in the photo below: Jess Pirtle rescued it, left it to (his son) John, and now John’s son is supposed to have it.

A photo of M. R. Wood at his office desk in the mid 1920s.

In 1916, he went with W. T. Eldridge to visit the latest in school designs in California.  He came back and designed and built this school which opened in 1917-18. He also served as president of the school board until the early 1940s. For those who aren’t familiar with the school, it is a cottage-style school with 10 individual buildings, each serving as a classroom—kind of like a crescent of one-room schoolhouses tethered by a columned, covered, pergola. The larger building at the apex of the crescent was the auditorium. There was a movment at the time called the School Center Movement, where the school served as the social center of the community, too. He designed the auditorium to accommodate silent movies, traveling shows, and the roof was a tiled terrace where dances were held.

I have a theory why Wood created and Eldridge approved this design. Sugar Land had to overcome its image. Prior to Eldridge and Kempner taking over the refinery and town, the area was known as the hellhole of the Brazos. As we know, many company towns bad reputations then, exploiting families and using children as fodder for their factories. In the midst of this, they needed to attract a permanent workforce for their expanding enterprises. 

At the time, many schools were one monolithic structure looking not unlike a factory, where children went in one end and came out the other. They were often hot, unsafe, and poorly lit. This cottage-design was safer, cooler and unlikely to catch fire from the cement used in construction. If a fire did occur, it would more likely be contained to one building and not spreading through one large building that would take longer to evacuate and stood the chance of killing children from fire. You’ll also notice that this design allows for more windows per classroom, allowing for better natural light. 

The hospital is the building sitting on the street behind the school. Sugar Land was segregated; the large building on the left was for whites and the one right of it for blacks. The smaller, third structure to the right of the hospital was built to be the residence for teachers (a 'teacherage'), but the teachers felt they were too close to their work, so many opted to rent rooms from families.  It was later turned into a residence for the nurses working in the neighboring hospital.  At times it was rented out to families, too.  And M. R. Wood’s house is the one nearest the school on the left side of the picture. The Presbyterian Church is also in this photo.

More Miscellaneous Items

Some of you may have seen that the City of Sugar Land recently completed its purchase of Central Unit No. 1 of the old prison farm. Click here to view a newspaper article summarizing the sale.  (My thanks to Patsy Sims for sending the link to me.)

Those of you who watch Channel 8 (Houston PBS) may have seen The DayTripper, a Texas travel program from KLRU in Austin.  The host, Chet Garner, paid a visit to Richmond (before the floods) and recorded a 30-minute segment.  Click here to view the video - it's in the lower video box on the right side of the page.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

More News & Updates

I regret that I have more deaths to report. I want to thank Jon and BJ Pitts (DHS '61) and Jackie James (SLHS '57) from notifying me that Alfred Nulisch (DHS '61) died recently. Click here for an obituary. I didn't know Al was an avid fisherman.

As I checked for other obituaries recently, I noticed that Melvin Mayhood (DHS '64) had died.  His brother Wayne was one of my classmates at Dulles. Click here for an obituary.

I also learned that Flora Surguy, mother of my classmate, Diann Surguy Valenta, passed away recently. Click here for her obituary.

Finally and most recently, Wayne Boehm (SLHS '55) passed away earlier this week. His funeral is this Friday, June 10th, as you'll see in this obituary.  Wayne was an avid reader of this blog and gave me good information when I needed it.  We'll miss him.


My sincerest condolences go to the Nulisch, Mayhood, Surguy, and Boehm families for the loss of their loved ones.


The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation's historical scavenger hunt, which was postponed will happen this Sunday, June 12th.  Click here and scroll down for more details - but note the date change.

Last but not least, I want to post this save-the-date notice for my friends at the Old Foster Community Museum.  Their annual fundraiser is coming up in August.  Click here for more information.