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Friday, March 10, 2017

Fort Bend County

I want to plug Fort Bend County for a moment. I am chairman of the Fort Bend County Historical Commission, and over the past 3 years I have become aware of the myriad things our county does to preserve local history.

The first thing to highlight is the archeological work our Cemetery Committee does. The committee has more than 25 members who do all sorts of things to preserve the county's subterranean historical assets. The recent issue of The Medallion (from the Texas Historical Commission) included an article titled Super Stewards

Look closely at the accompanying photo and you'll see two of our Cemetery Committee members, Bob Crosser and Bruce Grethen. Bryan McAuley (also in the photo) is a Fort Bend County Historical Commissioner, as well as site manager at San Felipe de Austin. Sandy Rogers and John Rich (also appearing in the photo) are good friends of the Fort Bend Historical Commission even though they aren't members.

The article explains the thoroughly professional work these volunteers perform to preserve local history.

Click the photo to view the article.
Houston Suburbs
Super Stewards at San Felipe de Austin. (Photo courtesy of The Medallion.)

Some of you may be aware that the County is planning to restore the old Missouri City Gym. The historical commission is assisting the county government with this project.

Click the photo below to read an article about this renovation project.
Missouri City Gym
Missouri City Gym in 1937. (Photo courtesy of Lee Elkins LeGrand.)

The historical commission's Historic Preservation Committee has launch an ambitious, long-term project to survey the historic structures across Fort Bend County. The last survey was performed in 1980, well before the 'computer age,' so the end result will be an electronic version of the data collected.

The project began just a few months ago, but data collection is well underway. Here is an example collected by Bradley Stavinoha. It's the Horak Gin in Needville. (See the photos below.) 

I won't go in to a lot of detail, but here's what Bradley sent me in a brief email message:

"Original building constructed after WWI.  Victor Horak original owner. The 1929 Hurricane destroyed the building.  It was rebuilt and remodeled as ginning technology has changed through the years.

Ignac Horak operated it after Victor. Then Rodney Horak and now the brothers Kevin and Dustin Horak operate the gin.  Continuous operation at same location with same family for over 98 years.  One of the oldest in Fort Bend County."
(I'll bet most of you didn't realize there was a cotton gin still operating in Fort Bend County.)
Undated photo.

My cousin, Becky Bass Gallimore, sent me this article she found in a 1940 issue of The Rosenberg Herald. It is an announcement that the Sartartia Plantation (located in today's New Territories subdivision) planned to open a milk depot in Rosenberg. I assume this was a storage facility for home delivery of dairy products in Rosenberg and the surrounding area. It may have included a shop and ice cream parlor. (They operated retail stores in other location.)

One last item: The Fort Bend Museum is showing an exhibit of historic local maps through June. If you're a map fanatic (like I am), you might give it a try.  The article below is not directly related to the exhibit, but it explains the 'tools of the trade' in early map-making. Click the image to read the magazine article.
Early Surveying Equipment
(Photo courtesy of Fort Bend Life Style and Homes.)