SLHF NEWS                                         MAY/JUNE  2013

Dennis Parmer Sugar Land Heritage Foundation
 Milestones Reached, Miles to GO!!
For the past four plus years the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation has been working diligently to reach this point in our journey toward building a Heritage Museum at the Imperial Refinery Site.

Listed below are some of our accomplishments so far:
+ Becoming an incorporated organization recognized by the IRS as a Non Taxable organization, in some cases referenced as a Non-Profit organization.  One of the benefits is that your donations to SLHF are tax deductible.
Determining the organization's Mission Statement, Vision, and Core Values.  SLHF inspires community pride by collecting, preserving, communicating, and celebrating the history of Sugar Land, Texas.
+ Defining/Implementing policies/procedures; hiring a staff person, recruiting volunteers, fundraising, etc. to fulfill the SLHF Mission Statement.  
+ Applying for and receiving grants from the Kempner Fund and Houston Endowment.  These two grants have helped to fund our daily operations, hire professionals to begin the archival process of our artifacts/collection, and pay for the conceptual design of our future exhibits and museum.
+ The results so far, from the current archiving process referenced above are: approximately 18,000 items have been cataloged into our system.  About 2,000 of these items have been taken to the second level in the accessioning process.  There will be more archival results in future articles.
+ The conceptual design of our exhibits and museum referenced above is well underway.  SLHF has engaged the services of a nationally recognized firm to lead us in this process.  I wil be giving additional information/results from this process in future newsletters.
+ There are many other milestones that have been achieved in our brief history but space (and maybe reader attention span) prohibit listing all of them.
All of these accomplishments were made possible by key entities, many individuals, businesses and supporters.  On behalf of the SLHF Board, I especially want to thank:
+ The City of Sugar Land for its support of SLHF from the very beginning!  SLHF was created as a result of a City Council Strategic Initiative.
+ Cherokee Investments and the partnership to redevelop the Imperial Refinery Site; Imperial Sugar Company; and the Fort Bend Museum Association for their respective roles in helping the City to form SLHF.  These four organizations also were instrumental in preserving many artifacts from the former refinery and other buildings on the site.
+ Johnson Development Co. for all of their support of SLHF.  Without Johnson Development, SLHF would not have our temporary office and small exhibit gallery on the Imperial Refinery site.  JDC has also put in a concerted effort to preserve more structures than called for in the 2007 Developers Agreement.
+ The Kempner Fund and Houston Endowment for their financial support.
+ The many individuals and businesses that have made financial and in-kind donations.
+ The hundreds of volunteers that have worked thousands of hours to bring SLHF to this level.
With respective to "Miles to Go", SLHF has a long way to go before we open the doors to our permanent museum/heritage center.  The good news is that we are well on our way!  Come join us as we continue to preserve our heritage and history.  We would love to have you as a part of the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation.

To find out more about SLHF, visit our website at
City of Sugar Land Donates Imperial Sugar Archive to Sugar Land Museum 
On February 19th, the City of Sugar Land donated its extensive collection of Imperial Sugar artifacts, which includes numerous items dating from the 1890s to 2000, such as photographs, artwork, advertising materials, and business documents.  The Heritage Foundation eagerly anticipates the opportunity to display a selection of these items. 
The first step to public exhibition is accessioning and cataloging these items.  This entails identifying each item, logging their attributes into the Museum's database, and storing them in a secure and environmentally controlled location.  The City donated 24 banker's boxes containing thousands of items, so this is a monumental project.  The archivist team, with help from selected volunteers, is now performing this task in a phased manner, so high-priority items can go on display as soon as possible.
An example of how this process works is the Sip & Stroll event during Sugar Land's Wine and Food Affair in April.  The event's location is the old Imperial refinery site, where the Three Bay Warehouse and 1st floor of the Char House was open to guests.  The Heritage Foundation  supported this event with historical photographs of the refinery, particularly the buildings opened for public view.  The archivists performed a rapid search through the donated collection and pulled relevant photographs for immediate processing.  These photos were scanned and reprinted in large format for display in the buildings. 
Since cataloging the full collection will take considerable time, the archivist team may use this approach for other events and exhibitions in the near future.  The Heritage Foundation intends to enhance the exhibition space in the Museum's temporary location as soon as possible.  Selected artifacts from the City's donation will be put on public exhibition when the enhanced exhibition space is completed.
The Heritage Foundation is sincerely grateful to the City of Sugar Land for its donation of artifacts that embody our community's rich heritage. 
The Sugar Land Heritage Museum is open every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  It is located at 198 Kempner Street between the Char House and the Farmer's Market.  
First Mayor of Sugar Land, Texas
1959-1961 & 1965-1968
Theodore Elliott "Ted" Harman was born in Goliad, Texas, on November 1, 1888.  On January 27, 1920, he arrived in Sugar Land from Edna, Texas, and began working for Sugarland Industries as the assistant manager of the Dry Goods Department which was in the building that housed the Imperial Mercantile Company.  He was made manager of Sugar Land Dry Goods in 1925 and held that position until his retirement on August 1, 1956.
 His parents were Tomas and Mary "Minnie" Canfield Harman.  There have been some inconsistencies here in Sugar Land and in Fort Bend County regarding the spelling of his last name.  Many of us thought the name was spelled HarmOn and there are many books, newspaper articles, and even his first wife's obituary, that have an O instead of an A in the last half of his name.  

Ted's brother, Bill, came to Sugar Land and married Nelle Salter who happened to be Chuck and Bruce Kelly's great-aunt.  Chuck said that she had always gotten upset by the A/O question and was always trying to get people to get it right, with an A.  Bruce told us that he wasn't ever sure which way it was and that he sent her a card once with HarmOn.  From then on she would tell him, "It is HarmAn; Bill is a mAn and not a mOn."  

On November 13, 1959, an article in The Fort Bend Mirror announced Ted's candidacy for mayor of the newly incorporated city of Sugar Land, and stated that he had been a resident of Sugar Land for the past 40 years.  Harman said, "I assure the voters of the city of Sugar Land that I will at all times have the interest of the people of the town at heart".  
Mr. Harman was elected mayor when Sugar Land was incorporated in December of 1959, serving until April 1961.  He did not seek re-election then but was again elected in 1965, serving until the summer of 1968, when he resigned because of his health.
Ted married his first wife, Mary Lee Clement of Edna, Texas on March 6, 1912.  She died at Laura Eldridge Memorial Hospital in Sugar Land on February 23, 1945.
Mr. Harman married his second wife, Odell Martin, in 1946.  She was born in Brushy Creek, Texas, and moved to Hillsboro at an early age.  She taught in the public school system of Texas for 40 years at locations that included Whitesboro, Aransas Pass, Richmond and Houston.  She outlived Ted by 27 years and passed away on April 9, 2000, in Fort Worth where she had moved in 1984.
Ted Harman has been honored twice by the City of Sugar Land.  Harman Street,  just north of 7th Street off Burney Road, crosses over Oyster Creek into Mayfield Park.  Last year the newly renovated Senior Center at 226 Matlage Way was named in his honor.  
Mr. Harman died on June 2, 1973, at Eldridge Memorial   Hospital in Sugar Land at the age of 84.  The funeral was held in the First Presbyterian Church of Sugar Land where he had been a long time active member serving as both Elder  and  Trustee.  He was buried in Greenlawn Memorial Park in Rosenberg, Texas. 

  The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation achieved a milestone in February with the transfer of 24 boxes of artifacts from the City of Sugar Land to SLHF.  The items were originally collected as a preservation effort of the Imperial Sugar Company, The City of Sugar Land, and the Fort Bend Museum Association.  That combined effort was part of the initiative that has now become the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation.
There are a variety of artifacts ranging from pictures to books to manuals that had been stored in a climate controlled storage area at City Hall.  On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Imperial Sugar, the City, and Fort Bend Museum Association for their dedication in collecting these items.  We especially want to thank the City's Regina Morales and her staff for safeguarding these artifacts.  We truly appreciate their dedication to the preservation of the heritage of Sugar Land. 


Volunteers bricks
Photo by Randy Kozlovsky, Ohana Photography

Our next volunteer workday will be Saturday, May 18th from 9 a.m. til noon.  This is a great opportunity to help out the Heritage Foundation.  There will be projects that most anyone, 13 years or older, can participate in.  For example: 
  • Inventory of Gift Shop items, restocking/rearranging items
  • Light office cleaning (no floors!)
  • Weather permitting, cleaning of collection items that have been stored in warehouses
  • Rearranging contents of the storage closet (some moderately heavy lifting is required)
  • Transporting collection items to off-site storage (some moderately heavy lifting is required)  If you have a pick-up truck, that would be a great help.

Regardless of your task, you will meet some wonderful people that have a desire to preserve the heritage of Sugar Land and this area.   Come join the team - you will be glad you did!   


To volunteer, please contact Marsha Smith, SLHF Volunteer Coordinator, at 

We are interested in finding out more about the relationships and connections of the families of Sugar Land, and presenting their stories in our newsletter.  Please send any information or anecdotes about your families that you would like to share, to Marsha Smith at
MARCH 21, 2013

Volunteer party hands up

Photo by Randy Kozlovsky, Ohana Photography


 We had a great time at the Museum on the evening of Thursday, March 21st.  Dennis thanked the volunteers for all their efforts over the past years and then we were treated to drinks and hors d'oeuvres.  It was wonderful to get to visit with everyone - when we are working, we're often in a small group and don't have a chance to mingle with the entire group.  Thank you, Dennis!  



The Sugar Land Chautauqua Series
The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation, in association with the Sugar Land Cultural Arts Foundation, is pleased to present on-going presentations known as the Sugar Land Chautauqua Series.  The presentations will focus on entertaining and educational topics related to Sugar Land history, suitable for an audience of all ages.
The series is based on an adult education movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, called the Chautauqua Movement, which began in New York State and spread across rural America to small towns like Sugar Land.  In fact, the Sugar Land Auditorium, built in 1918, was the very site of Chautauqua events nearly 100 years ago!
Future topics being considered: 
Local Prison Farm History
Local Landscape and Horticultural History
Stephen Fuller Austin, the Father of Texas
Jane Long, the Mother of Texas
Dilue Rose Harris's reminiscences of this area in the 1830s
We will send an e-mail to everyone on our Newsletter mailing list as soon as dates, times and topics are finalized.  Hope to see you there!



Join us for a walk through some of Sugar Land's history!  Docent-led walks are held the 2nd Saturday of each month and are $10.00 for adults, $5.00 for 12 - 18, and under 12 are FREE!  Our walks take about 1-1/2 hours and we stroll about 1-1/2 miles, part in sun and part in shade, so we recommend you bring your own water.  We make a stop at the historic Sugar Land Auditorium where a docent from the Cultural Arts Foundation will tell us about the auditorium and give us a tour of the interior.  Our next three walk dates are  May 11th,  June 8th, and July 13th.  We start the tour at the Heritage Foundation office, promptly at 10:00.  If you have a group that would like to take the walk during the week, please contact Marsha Smith,, to schedule a week-day walk.



Limited availability item:

Note cards designed by Annette Williamson Wise, who left us much too early.  Annette also designed and painted the Main Street Bridge with scenes from Sugar Land, past and present.  There are 8 cards in a pack, with 4 different scenes, for $10 per pack.  When these are gone, there won't be any more! 
We have coasters in stock again!  A Set of 4 Coasters may be purchased for $25.00.  (Thanks to  Lauren Kelly Arnold, who is a photographer at Nessossi Photography, for making more of these awesome coasters available for us.  Lauren is a proud 4th generation Sugar Lander and member of the well-known Kelly family.)   The scenes depicted on the coasters are:
1. The early original old town with old cars, horses pulling wagons,  the Char House and the Eldridge Home.
2. The Char House from the top down with the old office building on the left, Eldridge Home on right, Oyster Creek to the north, and  homes on each side of Oyster Creek.   
3. Original Sugar Land School District buildings, Laura Eldridge Memorial Hospital in the background, and homes on the left.
4. Picture of Oyster Creek south of 90-A with homes showing on the shore,  the Char House, and most of the Imperial Sugar Refinery buildings showing in the background. 


"Sugar Land:  Then and Now"

The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation offers historical presentations at your school or to your group.  One of our volunteers will come to your site with an engaging power point presentation accompanied by personal narration.  The program for children is 30-40 minutes long.  Entitled "Sugar Land: Then and Now", it teaches history by showing what is standing now and what was at that location "back when".  We also have a slightly longer program geared for adults which captures the unique history of Sugar Land.  Please contact  Jane Goodsill at for more information.

To inspire community pride by collecting, preserving, communicating, and celebrating the history of Sugar Land, Texas.

Sugar Land Heritage Foundation

Dennis Parmer
Executive Director

Chris Bohannan
Lead Archivist

Chuck Kelly
Assistant Archivist
Board of Directors

Shay Shafie
Regina Morales
Vice President

Regina Morales
Bettye Anhaiser

Bob Brown
Roy Cordes, Jr.
Sharon Ehrenkranz
Carl Favre
Bruce Kelly
Rev. Martin Nicholas
Bill Schwer
Don Smithers
John Whitmore

Farmers' Market
Every Saturday
9:00 - 1:00

Sugar Land Heritage Foundation Museum
Every Saturday
9:00 - 1:00

Docent-led Walks
2nd Saturday of each month at 10:00

$10 for adults
$5 for 12 - 18
Free for under 12

The next 3 walks are   May 11th, June 8th and July 13th


Scott Coffee
Alyssa Coffey
Carolyn Gilligan
Jane Goodsill
Bruce Kelly
Marc Martinez
Shaleen Miller
Marisa Parks
Roberta Prater
Tracy Prater
Betty Schofield
Marsha Smith
Miriam Watson
Cherry Wong

Dennis's Wish List!

Fire Proof Cabinet for Archivist Area


Lockable File Cabinet for Executive Director's Office


Matching Chairs with Rollers for Conference Table (8 or 10)


Steel Shelving to Store Artifact Collection


Funds for Build-Out for Museum Exhibits


Folding Tables & Chairs


Keurig K-Cup Coffee Maker


LCD Projector for Giving Presentations


Presentation Screen


Transcription Machine for Oral Histories


Digital Cameras 



Friend of SLHF

Greenscapes Unlimited Inc.