OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S PERSPECTIVE
SUGAR LAND AND
FORT BEND COUNTY:
2015 is off to a very fast start with regards to a variety of projects that will shape the future of the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation. However, I need a disclaimer upfront: several of these projects are still in the process of formulating goals and corresponding strategies to achieve those goals. With that said, things can, and most likely will, change between now and when the projects are actually accomplished.
The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation museum/heritage center project:
The SLHF Board has set up a "Building Subcommittee" and an "Archives and Museum Content Subcommittee" to address the needs of the future facility as well as the contents of the museum/heritage center. I am using the term "museum/ heritage center" because SLHF wants this endeavor to be more than just a museum with some historical artifacts. We want to accentuate the rich and diverse history/heritage of this area. We have numerous examples. From the Old Three Hundred, families who first moved to this area, until today, diversity has been integral to the economic and cultural development.
This area has been influenced by German, Czech, Polish, Hispanic, Mexican, and African-American cultures. In the post WWII years transplants from virtually every state in the US moved to Sugar Land/Fort Bend County. In the last 40 years, Asian and Middle Eastern cultures have added their influence to the area. We have a great story to tell.
The subcommittees have been refining the museum story line and its method of portrayal. Also coming out of this effort will be a better estimate of the expenses entailed in completing the museum. Subsequent steps include a Capital Campaign to raise funds to build and operate the museum. More on this in the future.
|Sip & Stroll, April 11, 2015, 1:00--4:00 pm|
SLHF is proud to again be a part of this fabulous event. We will be decorating the Char House and 3 Bay Warehouse with pictures of old Sugar Land. SLHF has enlarged approximately 30 photos to poster size pictures showing Sugar Land in days gone by. In addition to the photos, SLHF is working with SLFD to have their two antique fire trucks on site that afternoon. This event is one of the few times the property is open to the public. Over 3,000 people attended last year's Sip & Stroll. It is a ticketed event; for tickets see the Ft. Bend Chamber of Commerce website.
The Imperial Refinery Redevelopment Project
According to Mayor James Thompson, this project is getting ready to take off. At the "State of the City" presentation in January, Mayor Thompson stated that he had a very exciting meeting with the future owners/developers of the 27 acres that include the Char House, 3 Bay Warehouse, and other structures in the core part of the former refinery. The mayor reported that plans are underway to announce the future use of some of the existing structures and the building of new structures. Mayor Thompson also reported that the future developers have a goal to open these structures in October 2016. We should hear more details in a future announcement from the developers in several months. The Renovation of the 1920's Water Tower
Slowly, but surely, progress is being made in the renovation of the water tower. Already accomplished:
some minor repairs to the structure; sanding and first coat of primer to the entire tower; cleaning, sanding, priming, and repainting the inside of the tower bowl. These last steps were necessary to prevent the tower bowl from rusting from the inside. To get the best results and to minimize any impact to the local area, the contractors are working only when temperatures, humidity, and wind speed are within accepted parameters. Next steps include applying a second coat of gray primer and then a beige coat of paint to the entire structure.
In conclusion, there is much going on. SLHF is excited to be in the center of this forthcoming redevelopment. We look forward to growing and being an even greater part of the community. The mission of the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation is to inspire community pride by collecting, preserving, communicating, and celebrating the history of Sugar Land, Texas. Come join us.
The new year is off to a fast start as we are working on several projects that will be important parts of 2015. In addition to entering more items into our collection, I am currently working on a new exhibit that will be opening in late May and will run through the summer.
The exhibit will feature Sugar Land's own sculptor and artist Mr. Bob Pack who has several works that can be seen in the area. A few of the works include Christ the Good Shepherd at Sugar Land First United Methodist Church, The Guardian found at the new police headquarters in Sugar Land, and the Moore statue in Richmond.
Our exhibit will focus on his sculpture at Town Center of Stephen F. Austin Crossing the Brazos. The exhibit will show how the process went from an idea on paper to what we see today. There are many steps in the process, and it is my hope that the exhibit will help the public better understand both the process and the meaning behind the sculpture. Mr. Pack is an amazing artist whose works can be found in museums all over the world.
If you would like to know more about him and his works, check his web site-- bobpack.com
. Mr. Pack will be giving our next Chautauqua Talk scheduled for Tuesday, May 19 with the exhibit's planned opening that weekend.
SIXTH CHAUTAUQUA TALK FEB. 17, 2015
In 1998 Tom Brokaw wrote a book titled "The Greatest Generation." In his book he described those who fought in WW II. On February 17th those in attendance at the sixth Chautauqua talk caught a glimpse of our local Greatest Generation when Jane Goodsill presented WW II Warriors of Fort Bend County. Family photos and vintage war pictures were shown while Jane spoke of the humble beginnings and WW II experiences of five Fort Bend County men. The early lives of Billy Vic Krehmeier, Mason Briscoe, Ernest Kubosh, Robert Schumann, and Joe Clyde Wessendorff were chronicled.
Posting of the colors was executed by members of the Dulles High School ROTC. Before the presentation began, there was recognition of these men's families who were in attendance. Of particular interest, Ernest Kubosh, the only surviving member of the group, was present and asked to stand and be recognized. He celebrated his 100th birthday in August 2014 and is considered to be one of the oldest living survivors of the Battle of Iwo Jima. As a video played showing the U. S. Army Chorus singing the Armed Forces Medley, all veterans in the audience were asked to stand to be recognized as the anthem representing their branch of the Armed Services was sung.
Storytelling has been a way of communicating history long before written languages, and it was through this medium that Jane Goodsill, Oral History Chair for the Fort Bend County Historical Commission, gave the audience a glimpse of five Fort Bend WW II veterans. Drawing material from the oral histories given by these men and from those who knew them well, Goodsill helped the audience relate to their values and personalities. Their stories could have been those of our sons, brothers, or neighbors. Aided by a coordinated presentation of photos, the personal stories drew the audience into the war and the unfamiliar situations in which these men found themselves. Our country was at war and these men did their parts.
Billy Vic Krehmeier: Volunteered for the Marine Air Corps at the age of 17. He went from high school to boot camp and was stationed in Hawaii with air traffic command duty.
Mason Briscoe: Volunteered for Army artillery at the age of 18. He served in five areas of combat including North Africa. His division was in reserve for the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded five bronze stars, a bronze arrowhead and the Purple Heart.
Ernest Kubosh: Enlisted in the Navy as a Seabee at the age of 27. He suffered shrapnel wounds on the beach of Iwo Jima and received the Purple Heart. In 1985 he attended a Reunion of Honor in Iwo Jima.
Robert Schumann: Enlisted with his Texas A&M class of 1945 at the age of 21 and served in the Army Infantry. He fought on the European front with the 65th Infantry Division.
Joe Clyde Wessendorff: Enlisted three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor at the age of 24 and served in the Army Infantry in Africa and Italy. Two thirds of his division was lost on the beaches during the D-Day Invasion. He was awarded the silver and bronze stars.
The magnitude of an event can be determined in part by the number of people affected. WW II was a war like no other, fought on five continents with 80 million war deaths, of which 25 million were military. So many countries and so many people were affected. But as demonstrated by these five veterans, Fort Bend County with a population in 1940 of only 33,000 had a role to play. It was a generation that chose to make a positive difference. They were Fort Bend's Greatest Generation!
Review by Cliff and Susan Wagner
NEWS WORTH SAYING A SECOND TIME:
CITY COUNCIL APPROVES OUR NEW LOCATION
Sugar Land City Council has approved the museum's new location in Imperial Sugar Land where it will occupy 12,600
square feet of space on the second floor of an historic container warehouse once used by the Imperial Sugar Company. The space is located near the Imperial Sugar Char House, which is just off Highway 90 and Brooks Street, on Kempner.
This initial rendering is subject to change as the design progresses. SLHF will occupy the second floor of the container warehouse and the Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center will be on the ground floor. Our permanent home should be open by early 2017. The museum's temporary exhibit space in Imperial will continue to be open for visitors on Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., during the Imperial Farmers Market.
Plans call for the museum's permanent exhibit space to present the history of Sugar Land through five distinct periods: Pre-1821 when the area was sometimes populated by the Karankawa Indians; 1821-1836 when the area's first settlements were formed; the Plantation Era during the Civil War; the Company Town Era which examines the growth of Imperial Sugar Company, and the Modern Era, presenting the visionaries who had the foresight to make Sugar Land the community it is today.
We are working on plans to launch a capital campaign to fund the build-out of the permanent space. We are also looking for photographs, documents, letters, art and other items to add to our collection. If you are interested in contributing to the museum or if you have items to donate for the exhibits, please go to www.slheritage.org
or call 281-494-0261.
WORKDAY on MARCH 28
MUCH IS DONE,
BUT PLENTY TO DO
Saturday, March 28, from 9:00 a.m. until Noon or thereabouts, we will have a volunteer workday. Come join in the fun. For more information, please call the office at 281-494-0261.
Just in case you need inspiration, remember where the bricks used to be and where they are now. Progress is made when determined people put their minds and muscles to work together.
WANT TO BE IN THE KNOW ABOUT SLHF?
Sign up for our Facebook page to keep up with all the latest news and upcoming events of the Heritage Foundation. Rex Maus is posting current information and interesting historical tidbits.
Check it out.
A special thank you to Marsha Smith for all her work over the years to develop, perfect, and continue this newsletter. Her support of and dedication to the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation have contributed to I ts growth.
Thank you, Marsha.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
To inspire community pride by collecting, preserving, communicating, and celebrating the history of Sugar Land, Texas.
Sugar Land Heritage Foundation
Board of Directors
W. Martin Nicholas
Roy Cordes, Jr.
9:00 - 1:00
Sugar Land Heritage Foundation Museum
9:00 - 1:00
2nd Saturday of each month at 10:00
$10 for adults
$5 for 12 - 18
Free for under 12
The next 3 walks are
Dennis's Wish List!
Fire Proof Cabinet for Archivist Area
Steel Shelving to Store Artifact Collection
Funds for Build-Out for Museum Exhibits
Folding Tables & Chairs
Transcription Machine for Oral Histories
THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE WHO RECENTLY MADE IN-KIND OR CASH DONATIONS TO SLHF:
Bob & Carole Brown
Bob Brown / Fort Bend Economic Development Council
Home Depot in Sugar Land
Johnson Development Corp
GIFT SHOP MANAGER
(unfilled at this time)
MUSEUM VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR
SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR
SPECIAL EVENTS COORDINATOR
(unfilled at this time)