SLHF NEWS                                         JULY/AUGUST 2013
Sugar Land Heritage Museum: 

Where will it be located? 
What type of museum will it be?
When will the museum open?
Listed in the title above are three of the most frequently asked questions with regards to the forthcoming Museum or Heritage Center.  Each question is simplistic in nature; however, the process to get the answer is much more complicated.  In this article, I hope to give you an update of where we are in the process of answering these important questions.  A little background information is needed first. 
The Board of Directors of the SLHF is a very talented group of individuals.  They come from a variety of backgrounds in business, training/education, experience, etc.  Each is a leader in their respective field of endeavor.  However, not one of the board members "designs and builds museums" for a living.  With that realization, the Board determined that we needed to hire a firm comprised of persons with various expertises in architecture, design and fabrication of museum displays, project management, etc. to help us in this process.
In the last three months of 2012, SLHF issued a Request for Qualification (RFQ) to Design and Build Museums Firms" nationwide.  SLHF received Statements of Qualifications (SOQ) from eight of the top firms in the nation.  SLHF invited five of these firms to make in-person presentations to the SLHF Board.  From this process, SLHF chose Jack Rouse Associates located in Cincinnati, OH, to help us in addressing the three questions above.
? Where will the new Museum/Heritage Center be located? 
While the exact location/building have not been determined, I can say with a lot of certainty that the location will be on the Refinery site.  The museum will be within close proximity to the Char House and the new plaza area.  Jack Rouse Associates has evaluated a number of buildings on the Refinery site as to their potential use as a museum.  SLHF is working with the Developer and the City of Sugar Land to secure the best location for the museum.  
? What type of Museum or Heritage Center will it be?  To me this is the hardest of the three questions because it requires a lot of due diligence in so many areas.  Listed below are some of the areas that must be addressed:
+ What is theme of the museum?  What do we want to communicate to the guests that visit the museum? In essence, what is the story line?
+ How much of the museum will be dedicated to portraying/telling each chapter of the story line?  How much emphasis should be placed on the "Early Settlement Era", "The Plantation Era", Life in the Company Town", verses the "Modern Era, Sugar Land, one of the best places in America to live and own a business".
+ In what manner will you tell each chapter? Will it be "static displays of artifacts", or "audio/video displays", or "interactive in nature", or "an immersive experience", or some combination of each of these?
+ Sooner or later you have to ask "How much money do we have" to build the various displays?  The difference in cost of a "static display" verses "an immersive display" is hundreds of dollars per square foot.  An "immersive display" can easily cost more than $600 per square foot to build plus there is an on-going cost of maintenance.
+ What is the total budget for the museum?  In a 10,000 sq. foot museum, you can see that the kind/type of display will be significantly impacted by the total budget for the project.  A museum consisting of numerous immersive experiences could cost millions of dollars.
+ By now you have probably noticed that I have used the name "Heritage Center" several times.  Let me further explain why I am using this name.  There are thousands of museums in the US and there can be a perception that they are all about history and facts!  Editorial note: "There is certainly nothing wrong with that classical approach.  I love history but not everyone is a history buff so to speak and history can be perceived as boring."  The word "Heritage" has a much broader appeal.  Heritage can better encompass cultural similarities as well as differences.  Heritage can better incorporate various perspectives and experiences.  Heritage can accomplish all of these without the loss of historical accuracy.
? When will the museum open?  As you can see from the first two questions, a lot of work will have to be accomplished before the "When" can be accurately answered.  There are also some other factors in the overall development that will need to happen in conjunction to "When".  New streets/access to the redevelopment, utilities put in place, parking, etc. will need to be built.  A realistic projection of "When" would be no earlier than the summer of 2015.  While that may seem like a very long time to many of us, I am frequently told that two years in the life of a development is not a long time.  The good news is that we are taking steps to better answer "When".
Before this turns into an article as long as "Gone With The Wind" let me wrap this up by saying "The Sugar Land Museum/Heritage Center is well on its way to becoming a reality.  Now is a great time for you to join the team.  You can help by: donating artifacts, making cash or in-kind donations, and equally important,  volunteering your time.
To find out more about SLHF, visit our website at
Marjorie Rozelle
Marjorie Rozelle
Marjorie Rozelle was not born in Sugar Land.  But as she told a group of friends, "I grew up in DeWalt. We went to the Baptist Church in Sugar Land but I didn't go to Sugar Land schools until high
school because there was no way to get into town.  There wasn't a school bus that
went out to DeWalt before I was in
high school."
Marjie has recently moved to Austin to live near her daughter, Claudia, but Sugar Land will always be Marjorie Bidwell Rozelle's home town.  Distance cannot separate her from the source of so many happy memories.
Her ties to Sugar Land were irrevocably bound when she met her future husband, T.C. Rozelle, Jr.  "I remember I was at the Root Beer Stand with one of my high school friends.  We saw T.C. who had come back from the Navy.  Everyone knew T.C. as he was always doing something - leading a youth choir, or something.  He was wearing his sailor cap, a T-shirt, and some blue jeans.  I thought he was pretty cute.  My friend said, 'Would you like a date with  T. C.?'  I said, 'Sure'. "
Marjie found out that history could have taken a different turn.  "I learned later that when she asked him if he would take me out, he said, 'That kid?'  My friend said, 'She's not a kid anymore'.  So he said 'yes'.  Well we seemed to click.  We had a good long life together."
Lucky for them and lucky for us that they clicked because the Rozelles were active in their community, and equally important to the Heritage Foundation, they collected priceless treasures.  For example, Marjie recently donated a collection of Sugar Land telephone books from 1952 to 1972.  Marjie and her daughter, Pam, found them as they prepared for her move to Austin.  They also found four of    
T.C.'s high school text books, which contain his annotations listing Sugar Land High School football and basketball teammates and game results from 1931 to 1933.
Several years ago Marjie and her children donated the bulk of their family archive, which T.C. had collected throughout his life.  T.C. was an avid local historian, and his memory of town history nonpareil.  His archive of photographs, documents, newspaper clippings, and artifacts will help the Heritage Foundation give future generations a vivid and practical view of day-to-day life in old Sugar Land.
The Heritage Foundation is thankful for generous residents like Marjie Rozelle, who are willing to bequeath such unique and cherished gifts to their community.

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.  
Mayor of Sugar Land, 1972 - 1981 
Roy Leon Cordes, Sr. was born in Ellinger, Texas, on November 26, 1921, in the home of his maternal grandparents, the Meyers.  His parents were Hugo and Alma Cordes who lived in Columbus, Texas, where Hugo owned a cotton gin.  Roy, his sister Ethelyn and brother Harold grew up in Columbus and Roy graduated from Columbus High School in 1939 where he was a star end  on the Columbus High School football team.
The day after Roy graduated from high school, Hugo moved the family to Sugar Land, where he had accepted a job with Sugarland Industries, Inc. to run their cotton gin.  Roy was able to get a job with Sugarland Industries also; first in the drug store soda fountain and later in the credit department.  During this time Roy attended and graduated from Southwest Business School.
The family home was on 4th street and their "alley neighbors" were members of the C. L. Friend family.  The Friends had a daughter, Betty, and she and Roy became friends.  They have fond memories of dancing in Houston and Rosenberg and traveling to Galveston to enjoy the beach.  Betty, a native of Sugar Land, graduated from Sugar Land High School in 1941.
When Roy received his draft notice, he signed up with the US Army Air Corps and was inducted into the Army Air Corps in January of 1942.  On November 11, 1942, Betty Friend had the honor of pinning on his wings at Kelly Air Force base in San Antonio and Roy was assigned to the Air Transport Command (ATC) after graduation. 
On one of his trips to deliver a plane to Russia, he landed in Houston and he and Betty had a date, and dined and danced at the Rice Hotel.  He told Betty, "I am going to ask you one more time; will you marry me?  If not, I am going to marry that girl in Kansas City!"  Betty very quickly answered "yes" but that he had no girl in Kansas City.  On May 20, 1944, they were married in the famous Eldridge home on Lakeview Dr. where her parents were living at the time.
Roy flew B-25s and A-20s in India and Iran before being stationed in Kunming, China, where he flew in the China-Burma-India theater.  During this tour of duty, he became Chief Pilot and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and Air Medal with Cluster.  While Roy was in Bangladesh, he crossed paths with another pilot who was from Texas.  Years later when the old Imperial Bank & Trust Company received a new charter as the Sugar Land State Bank, a gentleman from Alvin, Texas, was brought in to serve as vice-president and cashier.  That was L. J. "Jack" Merrigan, the pilot Roy had met in India.
After WWII, Roy remained in the Air Force and flew routes between Europe and South America before being transferred to Frankfurt, Germany.  He flew in the Berlin Airlift until it ended in 1949.  He then had temporary duty in Washington, D.C., flying important officials to the European Theater.  Roy remained on active duty with the Air Force until 1950 when he retired with the rank of Lt. Colonel.  All the airlines had wanted to hire him because he had so much experience flying but Betty was glad he didn't want to do that as she wanted to "come home".
Roy and Betty decided to go into business when they returned, so they purchased a dry cleaning company in Sugar Land, which officially opened as Cordes Cleaners on April 1, 1950.  It was located in a building owned by Sugar Land Industries and they rented the space.  A few years later they built their own building on the corner of Oyster Creek Dr. and Hwy. 90-A.  It included the dry cleaners, a washateria and a package store.
Roy was elected to Sugar Land City council in 1961 and served in this capacity until 1972.  He was Mayor Pro-Tem in 1972 when the current mayor, C. E. McFadden, died so Roy assumed the position of Mayor and was subsequently re-elected.  In 1981 he decided not to run again since he and Betty were ready to retire.  They had continued to operate their businesses while he was serving the city and Betty had taken on a lot of that responsibility.  The City of Sugar Land has honored Roy with a street named for him.  Cordes Dr. is off Lexington Blvd. and circles the Lexington Corridor Commercial Cluster. 
During the time Roy was Mayor he was honored by the company that developed First Colony, Sugarland Properties.  A bridge built on Williams Trace that crosses Oyster Creek has a plaque on a pedestal noting it as Cordes Crossing.  The dedication ceremony was led by Charlie Howard, an associate at Sugarland Properties.
Roy served on the Sugar Land Independent School District Board, was a member of the Sugar Land Lion's Club and served on the Board of Directors of Cullen Bank - Sugar Land (formerly Sugar Land State Bank).  He also was a member of the Appraisal Review Board for the Fort Bend County Central Appraisal District.
Roy and Betty were honored on March 21, 2005, with The Community Builder Award which is a high honor bestowed upon a non-Masonic member of the community by the members of a Texas Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.  The lodge members elect such an individual based on selfless contributions to the Community at Large.  They were told at the presentation of the award that it is usually a one person award and that only one other COUPLE had been honored;  George and Barbara Bush.
Roy and Betty have one son, Roy Leon Cordes, Jr., who lives in Sugar Land.  Roy Jr. served on Sugar Land city council from 1981-1990 and his father, Roy Sr., had the honor of swearing him in before his retirement.  Roy Jr. serves on the board of the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation.

Sugar Land Skeeters Retro Baseball Game
Sugar Land Heritage Foundation (SLHF) is working with The Sugar Land Skeeters to participate in turning the regularly scheduled game on August 9th into a Retro Night of Baseball.  SLHF has been researching old pictures in an effort to help the Skeeters to design uniforms for the game.  Jerseys and caps will have a look reminiscent of the 1920s - 1930s era of baseball.
There will be a public auction of the jerseys worn by the players that night.  The details of the auction will be forthcoming in another article.  This is a great chance to get a one-of-a-kind jersey. Sports memorabilia collectors recommend that jerseys should not be washed before the auction.  So they may be a little dirty because of the game, LOL!!
As a reminder, this is a regular season game, so your season tickets are good for the event.  Additional tickets will be available at the Skeeters ticket office and their website.
It will be a great night of baseball with an old timey theme - hope to see you there!

Presentations Available

The  Heritage Foundation would like to welcome Cherry Wong as our new Community Outreach leader.  Cherry has artifacts and presentation material that she can bring to your location to illustrate the rich history of Sugar Land.   She has given presentations to several elementary school groups, a social sorority and a coffee morning.  Cherry is also a docent for SLHF and leads Heritage Hike groups.  Please contact Cherry at to arrange a presentation for your group, or if you would like to join Cherry's team.

Group Discounts Available

We have a group rate available for our walking tours.  A group of ten gets a 20% discount, so adults are $8 each, children 12 - 18 are $4, and under twelves are free.  Prior reservations are required.  Please contact Marsha Smith at to arrange a day and time for your group. 


Do you know how to work in Dreamweaver?  We are looking for someone to manage our current website.  This would involve adding articles to the News section, making minor changes as necessary to the content already on the site, putting a link to our Newsletter each time it is published, etc.  It does NOT require redesigning the site, merely maintaining it.

Would you like to greet visitors to our Museum on Saturday, but think you just don't know enough about Sugar Land's history to do it?  Are you a current volunteer who would like to brush up on your knowledge?  Bruce Kelly has created a short history of our town that he will present to interested volunteers.  Our Museum is open from 9:00 - 1:00 on Saturdays and we need a volunteer for each of 3 shifts:  9:00 - 11:00, 10:30 - 12:30, and 11:00 - 1:00.  It's fun to meet people who are interested in our town and to explain how this company town grew through the years.  Training is available at the Museum on the afternoons of July 13th and July 27th, at 2:00 and lasting approximately 1-1/2 hours.

Please contact Marsha Smith at to sign up for the website maintenance and/or the volunteer training.

On Saturday, May 18th, volunteers from all over Sugar Land invested three hours of their time to help in various projects for the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation.  Those projects included inventorying and restocking gift shop items, light cleaning, rearranging storage rooms and transporting collection items to the offsite storage location. 

Workday May 18 Workday May 18B
Lallie and Cherry take stock        Jeff, Roy and Carolyn
Workday May Offsite Workday May Offsite 4 
 Dennis, our fearless leader        Chuck, James and Chris
Dennis Parmer, Executive Director of SLHF said, "This was a wonderful group of volunteers!  It was a very productive day and everyone had a great time regardless of the project that they were working on."

If you would like to meet some wonderful people who have a desire to preserve the heritage of Sugar Land and this area, come join us.  You will be glad that you did!  To volunteer, please contact Marsha Smith, SLHF Volunteer Coordinator, at

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   July 13, August 10 and September 14


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


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 



Bob & Carol Brown
Mike Doan
Carl & Mary Favre
Greenscapes Unlimited Inc.
Barbara Miller
Marty & Pat Nicholas
Bill & Debbie Schwer
Gabriela Scott
Don & Merle Smithers
Walnut Bend Garden Club
Diane Ware