SLHF                                     NOVEMBER/DECEMBER  2013

Where can I volunteer?   
 What can I do?

Earlier this year I wrote:  "Volunteers are the life blood of our organization."  As we finish the last two months of a very successful 2013, I am even more convinced of how true that statement is.

Looking back over our year, SLHF held Saturday workdays in each quarter of 2013.  Regardless of the weather (and great weather can impact an event just as negatively as bad weather), SLHF had at least 15 volunteers participate in each of those workdays.  A couple of times we had close to 30 volunteers.  Work tasks ranged from light cleaning to reorganizing storage areas and taking inventory.  Volunteers worked in small teams, and all  had a great time!  In 2014, SLHF will have at least four community workdays so watch your emails for future dates.

Each Saturday, hundreds of people shop at the Farmer's Market next to SLHF.  In order to best respond to this opportunity, SLHF decided to open a small museum every Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.  One of the major considerations was how to staff the museum.  The answer:  recruit volunteers and provide good training for them.  Marsha Smith, SLHF Volunteer Coordinator, has done a tremendous job of recruiting and training volunteers and docents.  In addition to her other duties, Marsha has handled the somewhat daunting challenge of coordinating and scheduling at least three docents for every Saturday. 

As SLHF grows and prepares for the day when we have a permanent museum, we have started laying the foundation to better use our volunteers' talents and skills.   To that end, we have established a Volunteer Board and we want YOU to consider being a part of one or more of the following teams:
  • Museum Staff:  Haroldetta Robertson, Coordinator  SLHF is open every Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm; volunteers usually work in two hours shifts.  Preliminary training is highly recommended.
  • Docent Coordinator:  Betty Schofield      Docents lead our Heritage Hikes the second Saturday of every month.  Preliminary training is required.
  • Community Outreach:  Cherry Wong    SLHF is often asked if we can provide a speaker for civic groups or school programs.  Training is provided.
  • Publicity:  Roy Wiffin    SLHF needs persons to write press releases, articles, etc. that cover a variety of programs and projects.
  • Special Events:  Aisling Venza    As we continue to grow, SLHF will have more and more projects and events that we host or participate in.  There is a variety of jobs available when a special event is held.
  • Gift Shop  Coordinator:  Position open    SLHF has a small gift shop that will continue to grow, especially when we open a permanent museum.  We are looking for retail, marketing or inventory management experience. 
  • Newsletter:  Marsha Smith    Perhaps this should fall under Publicity, but we view our Newsletter as a separate function.  We send it to our subscribers and place a link on the website; there are articles in the newsletter that are not sent to the media.
  • Social Media:  Becky Parmer    Utilizing social media is the publicity outlet of the future.
  • Website:  Raymond McDonald   Keeping the website relevant is an on-going job.   

Volunteers will meet with their respective team as needed and with the Executive Director on a quarterly basis.  In my opinion, being a volunteer is a challenging and very rewarding way to serve this community.  While I have been involved with SLHF since its beginning and have lived in Sugar Land for almost 32 years, I get asked questions that I cannot answer.  SO, I can say without hesitation that at SLHF we don't expect our volunteers to know everything and answer everything!  When I look at the list of volunteers, I see persons who have lived in Sugar Land less than a year and others who have lived here all their lives.  Regardless, all you need is some training and the desire to learn more.  It is fun, challenging, and rewarding!  If you are interested in helping in any of these areas, please contact us


The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation inspires community pride by collecting, preserving, communicating, and celebrating the history of Sugar Land, Texas.  To find out more about SLHF, please visit our website at 





Skeeters Check
From left:  Chris Bohannan, SLHF Lead Archivist; Steve Porter, SLHF Board; Jacqueline Holm, Sponsorship  Services Manager for the Skeeters; Ira Liebman, Marketing Manager and 'Voice of the Skeeters'; Dennis Parmer, SLHF Executive Director

On September 12, 2013, the Sugar Land Skeeters presented the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation the proceeds from the jersey auction held on the "Turn Back the Clock Night" baseball game played on August 9th.

The Skeeters wore jerseys similar to those worn by the Sugar Land Blues baseball teams back in the 1920s and 1930s.  A silent auction was held during the game for these one-of-a-kind jerseys.  After the game, successful bidders were invited to get their picture taken with the respective player, as well as having the player autograph the jersey of the winning bidders. 

Dennis Parmer, SLHF Executive Director, said, "This was a great evening of baseball with an old-timey theme.  We have gotten a lot of good feedback since the game and we are working towards another "Turn Back the Clock Night" for the 2014 season.  The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation would like to thank the Fluor Corporation, First Southwest Company, Johnson Development Corporation, and Bob and Carole Brown for their help in sponsoring this event.

"It was really great to work with Dennis Parmer and the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation who helped put this night together, because it included not only baseball history in the Houston area, but right here in Sugar Land.  As someone who is a baseball historian myself, it made it a lot of fun to involve the theme of old school baseball throughout the evening and it was unique.  It was a night that I really enjoyed being a part of and I want to help make it an annual tradition at Constellation Field for Skeeters games", said Ira Liebman, the 'Voice of the Sugar Land Skeeters'.



KEN HALL,"THE SUGAR LAND EXPRESS", talks about his life on and off the football field 


Review by Cliff and Susan Wagner 


For many years I've heard the legend of "The Sugar Land Express" but it was inspirational to hear the story from the man behind the legend.  Kenneth Hall gave a humorous and somewhat philosophical perspective of his life, at the third Chautauqua talk in the historic Sugar Land Auditorium. Ken was appropriately introduced by Ernest Trevino, his longtime friend and teammate with whom the Sugar Land Gators won the 440 yard relay at the Texas State Track Meet in 1952.

The superlatives are numerous.  Kenneth Hall is probably best remembered as the high school football player who gained 11,232 yards rushing, thereby setting a national high school record.  This record stood for 59 years until broken in 2012. 
In 1957 he was Runner-up Rookie of the Year in the Canadian Football League.   Ken later went on to play with the Baltimore Colts and Johnny Unitas.   Arguably the greatest honor given to Ken may have been the establishment of the Hall Trophy in 2000.  The Hall Trophy is awarded annually to the most outstanding high school football player in the United States.  This award is comparable to the Heisman Trophy for collegiate football players.


It should not be assumed that Ken's life was always a bed of roses.  There was a major disagreement with his coach, Bear Bryant, at Texas A&M that led to Ken's leaving the team, cutting his college career short.  Then in 1958 while playing for the soon to be NFL Champion Baltimore Colts, he suffered 5 fractures in his neck during an exhibition game.   He never regained his former abilities after this injury although he continued to play pro football with the Baltimore Colts, Chicago Cardinals, St. Louis Cardinals and even the Houston Oilers.   When asked about the challenges in his life he said, "I think everything happens for a reason and if something good comes of it then that's the best thing of all."


As Ken recalled his young life, his was no different than any other kid - hunting, fishing and simply being a kid.  His family shared a modest "company house" with another family as was necessary at that time due to a shortage of housing.  Sugar Land was a company town with family values.  Then about his freshman year in high school his hormones kicked-in and his athletic abilities took off.  Ken recounts his freshman year in which he did not join the football team, opting to play trumpet in the band.  But after the Gators lost their first 3 games Ken was reluctantly recruited by the school's principal.  The rest is history.


For the remainder of Ken's high school career, the Gators would lose only one game.  Ken gives much of the credit to Mr. White who was Superintendent of Schools and who assumed the role of football coach.  When speaking of his high school football team Ken is quick to state, "It was a very good team" which triumphed because "we loved each other."   To this day the Sugar Land Gators hold the all-time rushing record for a single season, 8800 yards, accomplished during the Hall years.  He would later run the hundred yard dash in 9.4 seconds, two-tenths of a second short of the world record.  It's ironic that Ken preferred track and basketball to football.  He even liked playing his trumpet in the band better than football.  But it was his accomplishments on the gridiron that would ultimately define his legacy.    


As the talk continued Ken shifted his discussion to topics he appeared to prefer: the first date with Gloria, his wife of almost 58 years; his sons and their families, and the various jobs he has had.   Ken and Gloria settled in Fredericksburg where they owned and operated a barbecue restaurant. It was during these 18 years that the restaurant employed 66 high school students.  It was obvious that Ken takes great pride in steering those young minds and celebrates the accomplishments of those who "have made it in business".


And then there is his role as a Sunday School teacher in his Presbyterian Church in Fredericksburg.   Ken recounted a time when a group of teenagers approached him about having a place where they could simply hang out.  Ken arranged for the "upper room" in the Sunday School building.   He questioned them as to why they wanted to meet like this.  "We want to have discussions amongst ourselves without adults knowing", they replied.  Oh you want to be CONFIDENTIAL, so Ken marked a "C" on the board.   We want a place where we can be OPEN, Ken then marked an "O" on the board.  We want our  discussions to be REAL, so an "R" was added.  And in response to Ken's questioning they said, yes we want to talk about God and Jesus and stuff like that.  So you want to ENHANCE yourself, Ken said. Let's add an "E".  There you have it Ken concluded, you can call yourselves C.O.R.E.  It will remind you of who you are and what you are about.


All football players know their stance is important.  With feet set at shoulder width and with your weight shifted slightly forward, it is hard for your opponent to knock you off balance.  And so it was with Ken.  His feet were planted firmly in the roots of his youth and his head was in the right place.  As life knocked him around he stood his ground, and yes that is the stuff that real legends are made of.  It was the message Ken Hall brought to the Sugar Land Auditorium that night.   Growing up in Sugar Land with its simple family values, Ken's heart and mind were well prepared for the hard knocks life would hand out.


As the lecture came to its conclusion, Ken pointed to a spot in front of the small stage.  "There is where I received my diploma", he said, "and over there is where I sat when our band played a concert."  It was the same stage and he was the same person.  Oh and that discussion about the Hall Trophy, it came up in the Question and Answer period following Ken's lecture.  He had forgotten to mention it.  When asked to explain the Hall Trophy he responded, "Oh yeah, I meant to say something about that."   Humble, articulate and humorous; listening to "The Sugar Land Express" will not soon be forgotten by those who were fortunate enough to attend this Chautauqua talk.  The legend lives on and those in attendance can now say we know a little more about the man behind the legend.



clients, customers,

friends, or relatives

Each year, the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation features a treasured historic building or site in Sugar Land. This year we are proud to present THE SUGAR LAND DEPOT.


Since 1927, the DEPOT has played an important role in the lives of Sugar Land residents.


This high-quality brass ornament comes individually packaged in a beautiful gift box that includes a printed card with information about the DEPOT.


The cost of each limited-edition collectible ornament is just $25.


If you buy a total of 10 or more, the price is $20 each.




CALL 281 494-0261





Come on down to Fernando's Steakhouse, 14135 Southwest Freeway in Sugar Land on Wednesday, December 4th, any time from 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm and help the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation.    


The Sugar Land Cultural Arts Foundation and Fernando's spotlight a different local non-profit organization every other Wednesday.   A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit our organization directly and you will enjoy a wonderful dinner.  


Bring your friends and make a night of it! 


SLHF is pleased to welcome Steve Porter to our Board of Directors.  Steve  is the city councilmember for District 1, which includes the Imperial Refinery Site, and he and his family are long time residents of Sugar Land. 


On one of the prettiest evenings in October, the girls of Troop 28253, Girl Scout Juniors, set out to learn more about their community's history on the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation's Walking Tour.  What a fun way to earn a special badge! 

Rick Miller, District 26 State Representative, and other volunteers take a brief time out for a group photo.

You mean ALL this stuff came out of Storage Room #1??!!

Did Roy and Chuck lose something?


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

W. Martin Nicholas
Shay Shafie
Vice President
Bettye Anhaiser

Regina Morales Treasurer

Bob Brown
Roy Cordes, Jr.
Sharon Ehrenkranz
Carl Favre
Bruce Kelly
Steve Porter
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   November 9, December 14, and January 11


Samantha Chan
Scott Coffee
Alyssa Coffey
Carolyn Gilligan
Jane Goodsill
Bruce Kelly
Marc Martinez
Shaleen Miller
Marisa Parks
Roberta Prater
Tracy Prater
Anish Rao
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


Presentation Screen


Transcription Machine for Oral Histories





Lisa Anhaiser
Carl Fitzgerald
House of Blooms

Cherry Wong

Betty Schofield

(unfilled at this time)

Haroldetta Robertson

Marsha Smith

Roy Wiffin

Becky Parmer

Aisling Venza

Raymond McDonald