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Dennis Parmer

Our Executive Director's Perspective


Last year I wrote a newsletter article detailing how 2016 was going to be a year of transition for SLHF. It is hard to believe that 2016 is now behind us and 2017 is in full swing. SLHF accomplished a lot in 2016, but Pareto's Principal is now in play or so it seems.

A refresher on Pareto's Principal also known as the 80/20 rule. Per Wikipedia, the 80/20 rule been applied to a variety of economic case and other scenerios. For examples: 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers; 80% of your complaints will come from 20% of your customers. In our case, it seems like we are spending 80% of time finishing the last 20% of several different components from last year.
Some of those components are referenced below.

SLHF and the City of Sugar Land have been jointly designing a Heritage Museum / Visitor Center concept for the second floor of the former container warehouse. The locations for the conference room, break room, offices, and storage area have been determined. The entry area and common use areas are almost designed. Much progress has been made in blending the perspectives / missions of these two entities. At the same time, each facility can fulfill its respective purposes.

We also have been jointly working on an operational agreement that puts into writing how all the functions needed will work. The agreement also seeks to address a variety of scenarios. I would venture to say that we have spent 80% of our time tweaking out the last 20% of changes.

Another component underway is the design of the SLHF exhibit space itself and the first exhibit to be built within the design. The overall design has been through a couple of iterations and is good for now. The first exhibit will be a time-line exhibit covering the following era:
The Prehistoric: before 1820,
Early Settlement: 1821 -1836,
Early Development: 1837 - 1908,
Company Town: 1908 - 1959,
Modern Era: 1959 - current

Most of our effort is being spent on deciding how much space/displays and what details we will include for each era.
Storage space in the new building will be 750 square feet with a 14-foot ceiling. We should be able to stack items high, but it is unlikely we can  get all the stuff that we have into that space. That may not be all bad because a number of items do not need to go forward. For example, office furniture, etc. from the 1990's / early 2000's is not needed.

So how do you determine what goes forward and what does not? The obvious solution is to sort through all the items. This is a long process and easy to get bogged down. The intent is not to rent offsite storage, it is too expensive. I would bet that some of you have an offsite storage unit that you have paid for several years and the value of the items kept in the storage has been exceeded by the rent that you have paid.
Becky and I fell into that trap a few years back. This project remains as one of if not the most difficult task that we must complete!

Last year we made the decision to keep our interim museum open during the transition. But this year is different, we made the decision to close the interim museum and focus on the future museum. It was a bittersweet decision. It was sad to close the interim museum after 5 years but exciting to focus even more on what is coming.

On the horizon: the move into the new space, the building of our first major exhibit, the displaying of artifacts and other items to tell the Sugar Land story, a capital campaign, and a grand opening.

Now is great time to volunteer at SLHF. We have existing programs that could use your talents and time. 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 or visit our website at


1950 aerial picture from the south

Heritage Foundation's

held on NOVEMBER 10, 2016

Speakeasy Has Guests Wanting to "Stay a Little Longer"

   The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation hosted its second annual Speakeasy party at Anson Aviation's hangar on November 10.

    Party-goers were treated with speakeasy cocktails and great food by Brick House Tavern + Tap, Chuy's Mexican Food, Double Dave's Pizza, Imperial BBQ, Mystic Dessert Bar, Off the Vine Bistro, and Safari Texas.

Guests were dazzled with exciting entertainment all evening. Featured performers were Gail Best, the jazz duo of Vel Lewis and Gianna Welling Nitzberg, Ron "The Chairman of the Board" Bailey, and the incomparable Sugar Land Heritage Flapper Girls!

Adding to the ambiance were games of chance (a.k.a. casino) and music from the prohibition era. Also, making its debut was the 2016 Christmas Ornament featuring the 1919 SLFD Fire Truck.

Attendees were given special opportunities to have their pictures taken with three authentic vehicles from the era and a 1930's Stearman Biplane (provided by Texas Taildraggers). In addition, ladies were encouraged to kick up their heels by joining the Flapper Girls in a dance routine to the song New York, New York.

Sponsors: Sterling McCall Auto Group and its dealerships: Sterling McCall Nissan and Ft. Bend Toyota were the presenting sponsor.
Imperial Market (developers of the Imperial Historic District) and Imperial - Johnson Development were the Games of Chance sponsors.
Anson Aviation was the host sponsor.

Other sponsors included Paul & Jonee Barnett owners of Miracle Method, Ray Meyer / Paradigm Engineering, Corey Martin / Martin Mechanical, Stacy Bynes / Welcome Wagon, Becky Parmer / Medical Search, and Ron Bailey / PBK Architects.

  Jake Messinger served as the auctioneer. The evening ended with a raffle drawing and many of the estimated 200+ clamoring for more! Dennis Parmer, Executive Director of SLHF, said "It was a very fun and most unique party. We have received tremendous feedback from our guests, vendors, the performers, and our volunteers! We want to thank all of them for their attendance and support. We are evaluating dates for next year and hope to announce that date in the near future."

Don't miss out next year:
Use any means of transportation necessary, but be sure you get there.

Sugar Land Heritage Flapper Girls do the Charleston in one their dance routine at the November 10 Speakeasy.
Picture from front to back are: Front row: Cyndia Rodriquez, Second
Round: Patti Martin-Stewart and Diana Collins, Third Row: Julia Michum, Vicki Latham, Yvette John. Looking on are Ira "Mugsy" Liebman and Ray "the Voice" Schilens.

Photo by Randy Kozlovski

HERITAGE WALK - next date

April 8

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.

1919 Fire Truck Makes December Appearances to Support Preservation

   The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation and Sugar Land Fire Department partnered together in December to display the 1919 Antique Fire Truck as a part of a preservation and community awareness effort.

On December 10th, the 1919 Fire Truck was on display at the Farmers Market, and on December 17 the truck was on display at the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation interim museum. Attendees at Farmers Market and Heritage Museum were given opportunities to have their picture taken with the truck by professional photographer Randy Kozlovsky. A donation of $10 was requested for groups up to 4 persons in a picture; for 5 or more persons, a $20 donation was requested.

SLFD firemen were available at the Farmers Market for pictures and Santa Claus made a scheduled visit on December 17 for pictures. In all, 57 families / groups had their pictures during the two events.

Dennis Parmer, SLHF Executive Director, said, "We are very excited by the community response and their participation in this awareness / preservation effort. We want to thank our partners the Sugar Land Citizen Fire Academy Association for helping with both days; SLFD and firemen; Kim Broom and the Farmers Market; Randy Kozlovsky; our volunteers, and of course Santa Clause for taking time out of his busy schedule. Parmer concluded with, "We are already getting inquiries about doing this again in 2017."

Proceeds from the event went to the Sugar Land Fire Academy Fire Truck Preservation fund and to 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 rich history of Sugar Land, Texas and surrounding area.


  Chloe and Max Thompson with Santa
Photo by Randy Kozlovski


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

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Help Wanted


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?  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 an as-needed basis. 

Eagle Scout Project, Main at 1st Street

Imperial Refinery Implosion 12-19-10

SUGAR LAND, TEXAS – The implosion of two metal buildings at the historic Imperial Sugar Company refinery located on Highway 90A in Sugar Land took place beginning at 7 am on Sunday, December 19th. The Furnace House and the Bin Building were located adjacent to the 1925 Char House, an icon of Sugar Land. The Char House will remain as part of the Imperial redevelopment project along with other historic elements from the site which will be incorporated into the redevelopment plans.

Plans for Imperial, a 700 acre Master-Planned Community located in Sugar Land, Texas, will include the historic Imperial Sugar Company refinery, which was been selected as the site for City's new minor league baseball stadium. Johnson Development was selected as Imperial's development manager by Cherokee Sugar Land LP and the State of Texas General Land Office. Johnson's charge is to bring life back to the old Imperial Sugar refinery site with a mix of retail, commercial, hospitality, restaurants, office and urban residential land structures. The implosion was the first step in this process.

The master plan also called for the creation of a Sugar Land Heritage Museum on the site which is underway.

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