Sugar Land Heritage Foundation
SLHF                                              April 2016 

Trivia is here again.  Test your knowledge.                                   

Dennis Parmer ED photo 
2016 A Year of Transition:  
If you are like most people I have spoken to this year, you have probably said several times, "It is already March; where did January and February go?" I was visiting with Susie Goff at an event recently, and we both agreed that "January did not happen this year! The year started in mid-February."
2016 is a huge year of transition for SLHF. Later this year we will move from our interim office / museum site to our permanent office / museum. The time frames are still uncertain but most likely the move will be in the fall. As such, this presents some interesting challenges / opportunities. Listed below are some of the ones that we are working through.
+ How long do you keep your interim museum open but at the same time focus on the new museum?

Several factors to be considered in this evaluation are that the Farmer's Market is coming into the busy seasons of spring and summer, so lots of folks are on the site each Saturday. The Houston FOTOFEST is taking place from March 12 through April 24. This is a biennial (It happens every two years. Don't feel bad, I had to look it up too!) The City of Sugar Land and SLHF partnered on an exhibit (see this newsletter for more information).
+ In the new building, we will have more display space but much less storage. SO, out of the thousands items that range from a small widget to a large piece of equipment: What do you display in the new museum? What do you keep for future displays, research, etc.? How do you dispose of items that will not go forward?

The obvious solution is to sort through all the items and rent offsite storage. However, that can be an expensive option. I would bet that some of you have an offsite storage unit that you have had for several years and the value of the items may have been eclipsed by the cost of the storage fees. Becky and I have fallen into that trap in the past.
+ With the two above scenarios in place, what current programs can you suspend, delay, or even stop?

Be mindful that it takes several years of effort to launch / build successful outreach programs. A good investment of time to build a following for an event such as "Turn Back the Clock" Baseball Game at Constellation Field, the marketing of the annual Christmas Ornament, and the monthly Heritage Hike to name a few. So careful evaluation has to take place before ending or suspending an event or program that is fulfilling your mission statement.  
Additionally, annual fundraisers are a necessity! They require a large commitment of staff and volunteer time. They are needed to provide the funding of programs and operational costs. Very few organizations can survive / operate without annual fundraising.

SLHF will have two fundraising events this year. They are Scavenger Hunt Two on May 15 and Speakeasy Two on November 10. See this newsletter for more details.
There has never been a better time to volunteer at SLHF. We have existing programs that could use your talents and time:

Saturday docents for the interim museum
evaluating / packing up items to move later this year
Houston FotoFest, See to volunteer for this exhibit.
Regardless of your age or station in life, we have an opportunity for you to become a part of the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation.
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, contact us at 281-494-0261.

2015 winning team.






MAY 15





SLHF is excited to announce a partnership with the City of Sugar Land Cultural Arts Program to participate in the upcoming Houston FotoFest.

Houston FotoFest is a photo festival that takes place every other year with multiple sites throughout the Houston metropolitan area. Each participating entity showcases photographs with a particular theme in mind. The festival starts March 12 and ends April 24. Each location can choose how / when to be open.

SLHF and the City of Sugar Land would like you to invite you to view our collection entitled "Sugar Land, Life in a Company Town."

The collection is composed of 10 pictures that depict life in Sugar Land when it was a company town. The collection will be open to the public at SLHF Interim Museum located at 198 Kempner Street in the former Imperial Refinery Site.

These photos along with others will be showcased at the following times:
Thursday, March 31, Noon - 5:00
Friday, April 1, Noon - 5:00
Saturday, April 2, 9:00 - 5:00
Thursday, April 7, Noon - 5:00
Friday, April 8, Noon - 5:00
Saturday, April 9, 9:00 - 5:00
Thursday, April 14, Noon - 5:00
Friday, April 15, Noon - 5:00
Saturday, April 16, 9:00 - 5:00
Thursday, April 21, Noon - 5:00
Friday, April 22, Noon - 5:00
Saturday, April 23, 9:00 - 5:00
If you are interested in being a SLHF docent for the above FotoFest, please contact Dennis Parmer at or 281-494-0261.






Each ornament includes an insert card detailing history of the Water Tower. 
$25 (includes tax)
To order send email to:

198 Kempner Street, Sugar Land 77498
The water tower was built in 1924 (circa) as a part of the Imperial Sugar Refinery expansion that included the Three Bay Warehouse a.k.a  A-B-C- Warehouse that was built in 1923 and the Char House that was built in 1925. The primary purpose of the water tower was to provide water to the fire suppressing system that was installed in the Char House. The water tower is approximately 50 feet taller than the Char House so as to generate enough water pressure to operate the sprinkler system. It is reported that when the water tower was built that it was the tallest water tower west of the Mississippi River.  
 The water tower was the first project that Jess Pirtle worked on when he moved to Sugar Land. Mr. Pirtle was an engineer & surveyor for Sugarland Industries. Mr. Pirtle also was a founding alderman of the City of Sugar Land in 1959. One of the main thorough fares in the Sugar Land Business Park is named after Mr. Pirtle.
In the summer of 2014, the Johnson Development Co. started the refurbishing of the water tower. The project included: fixing any structural issues, sanding, priming, and painting the inside of the water tank, sanding, priming with two coats the entire outside of the structure, as well as painting the entire structure. The project was successfully completed in 2015 at a cost of almost $500,000. The tower has "Imperial est. 1843" logo painted on the sides to represent the longevity of Imperial Sugar Company on this site and to serve as the logo for the redevelopment of the former refinery site.
The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation would like to thank Johnson Development Company for their investment in preserving this iconic structure. SLHF would also like to thank Randy Kozlovsky for the photograph that served as the model for this ornament.


People in Sugar Land have many and varied memories of their first association with the area and their time here. Many also realized just how special the city is and have made it home.

Interested in your neighbors and want to know more about the people who call Sugar Land home? 

Here is one story:
"Our family moved to Sugar Land from New Orleans in the summer of 1979. My dad, Tom Stewart, at the time was a PR executive for Shell Oil, and had been transferred back to Shell's "home office" at One Shell Plaza in downtown Houston.

"I was a freshman at LSU, so I moved to Baton Rouge while my parents and my younger sister, Lyn, moved into our new family home on Longview Drive in Sugar Creek. Lyn would become a senior at Dulles High School and join the band.

"I recall that I didn't actually come home for a visit until Christmas break that year, and my dad had to give me directions to Sugar Land from Baton Rouge. The drive through Houston and out highway 59 to the Sugar Creek exit seemed endless, especially in my old '71 Ford Maverick. I also remember thinking how impressive the entrance to Sugar Creek is - with its beautiful columns and pristine reflecting pool welcoming you into the subdivision. [It] reminded me of Beverly Hills.

"It also struck me as odd that I didn't know where my family now lived, what the house looked like, or even who the neighbors were. Our English Tudor style home was lovely. My mom had decorated my new room upstairs the way I wanted, even adorning the walls with my favorite rock groups' posters. The neighbors were all nice people. My daily training runs around Sugar Creek were enjoyable and productive for my racing career at the time.
"So 36 years later, my wife Patty, stepdaughter Gabby, and I live on Locke Lane in Sugar Creek in a house we love. I still run around Sugar Creek,just at a much slower pace. My parents downsized years ago to the second patio home on the left when you enter Sugar Creek, and my sister Lyn has a
home on Bendwood in Sugar Creek. (My older brother Andy, who has owned Finish Line Sports in the Sugar Creek strip center for 31 years, is the only Sugar Creek "outcast" in our family, as he and his wife Jean and stepdaughter Caitlin live far, far away -- in New Territory.
"And life in Sugar Land remains as sweet as ever."
Steve Stewart

We'd love to hear and share more first hand accounts.  Send us your personal reminiscences about Sugar Land.     
 email stories to: 

next dates:   
              April 9                   May 14
Enjoy the some what cooler weather and learn the history of the "Old 300," Imperial Sugar, and the city of Sugar Land.  
Take a two hour stroll around the Imperial Sugar facility, up to the "Hill" and visit Lake View Auditorium.  Hear about the early settlements under Stephen Austin and learn how the sugar mill and then the refinery came to be.  Hear about the families who were responsible for making Sugar Land the great city it is today and learn some little known tidbits and some titillating trivia.  
Tours starts at the Sugar Land Heritage Museum at 10 am each second Saturday.  Cost is $10 for adults, $5 children, free under 12.

Heritage Trivia 

The first person to email the answers to the following questions will receive a $25 credit to the SLHF store. 

1.  Originally after Texas became a republic Oakland and Oyster Creek were part of what county?  

2.  Harris Kempner was a fugitive from what military service? 

3.  The partnership between Ellis and Cunningham seems to have been initially formed to do what?  

Answers should be sent to:

The authority for all answers is
Sugar Land, Texas and the Imperial Sugar Company by R. M. Armstrong. 


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

Sugar Land Heritage Foundation

Dennis Parmer

Executive Director

Bruce Kelly



Board of Directors

W. Martin Nicholas


Allison Wen     
Vice President

Bettye Anhaiser

Bob Brown

Roy Cordes, Jr.

Mike Goodrum

Steve Porter

Claire Rogers

Bill Schwer

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 walks are   
March 12

April 9

May 14 

Scott Coffee

Alyssa Coffey

Carolyn Gilligan

Jane Goodsill

Hal Jay

Paula Jay

Bruce Kelly

Marc Martinez

Shaleen Miller

Marisa Parks

Roberta Prater

Tracy Prater

Anish Rao

Betty Schofield

Marsha Smith

Cherry Wong

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


Presentation Screen


Transcription Machine for Oral Histories



Sterling McCall Auto Group

Anson Aviation


Imperial Market
Linens by Lisa
Medical Search
Pamela Printing
Rice Gardner
Ron Bailey/PBS Architects
Safari Texas
Stacy Bynes/Welcome           Wagon
Union Pacific
William Grant and Sons
Ray Schilens/Radio               Lounge  USA

Antonia's Italiana
Big Ben Tavern 
Falbo's Pizza
Hyatt Place--Sugar Land
Songkran Thai Kitchen
Veritas Steak and Seafood

Capone's Brick Oven Pizza & Bar
Perry's Steakhouse and        Grille
Prohibition Club
The Drury Inn & Suites
The Marriott Sugar Land        Town Square
Cher Binks Events
Texas Taildraggers


Carolyn Gilligan


Cherry Wong


Hal Jay






Raymond McDonald



Paula Jay



Becky Parmer   

Sugar Land Heritage Foundation | 198 Kempner Street | Sugar Land | TX | 77498