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Richmond / Rosenberg Hotels



Fort Bend County, Texas Gulf Coast

29 35'58" N, 95 36' 51" W (29.599444, -95.614167)

Junction of TX Hwy 6 and U.S. 90A
On Oyster Creek
7 Miles NE of Richmond the county seat
Population: 118,488 Est. (2019)
78,817 (2010) 63,328 (2000) 24,529 (1990)

Sugarland, Texas Area Hotels › Richmond/Rosenberg Hotels

Sugar  Land Texas - View of city and bridge over creek
View of Sugar Land and bridges over the creek
TE Photo, 2010

Historical Marker: in storage

Sugar Land

Founded 1853. Named by B. F. Terry and W. J. Kyle for sugar mill and plantation bought on their return with fortunes from California Gold Rush. The town's founders organized Terry's Texas Rangers at the start of the Civil War. Farming market. Site of Texas' only cane sugar refinery. Texas prison farms are located nearby.

Historical Marker: Hwy. A-90 at Imperial Sugar, Sugar Land

The Sugar Land Refinery

Stephen F. Austin's colonists brought sugar cane to Fort Bend County in the 1820s. The Sugar Land area was once part of Oakland Plantation, where Nathaniel (1800-84) and Matthew Williams (1805-52) planted sugar cane about 1840. They began processing the cane in 1843 using a horse-powered mill and open-air cooking kettles.

In 1853 the plantation and mill were purchased by William J. Kyle (1803-64) and Benjamin F. Terry (1821-61). They improved the mill and promoted a railroad for the area, which they named Sugar Land. Terry later helped organize the famed Confederate cavalry unit, Terry's Texas Rangers, and was killed in the Civil War (1861-65). After the war, the operation was sold to Edward H. Cunningham (1835-1912), who expanded the sugar mill into a refinery.

W. T. Eldridge (1862-1932) and Galveston businessman I. H. Kempner, Sr. (1873-1967) purchased the refinery in 1907. They began importing raw sugar to operate the refinery year-round because local cane was available only seasonally and in decreasing quantities in the early 1900s.

Named by Kempner for the Imperial Hotel in New York City, the Imperial Sugar Company and the City of Sugar Land have grown steadily. During the 1970s, the Imperial Sugar Company produced more than three million pounds of refined cane sugar daily.

Historical Marker: 226 Lakeview Drive, Sugar Land

Sugar Land Auditorium

Built in 1917, this auditorium is the oldest public building still in use in Sugar Land. It was designed in the Mission Revival style by Imperial Sugar Company engineer M. R. Wood as the central structure in a crescent-shaped eleven-building school complex. A vital community asset, it has been used for cinema and stage productions, rooftop socials, graduation ceremonies, and once housed the superintendent's office downstairs and a janitor's apartment upstairs.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1992

Historical Marker: Lakeview Elementary School, 1st and Lakeview Rd.
Sugar Land Independent School District No. 17
A public school was established as early as 1912 for families moving to the company town of Sugar Land. In 1918, the State Legislature created Sugar Land Independent School District No. 17, with the requirement that at least two of the seven board members be women. Mary Anna Collins Woods served as the first school superintendent. Sugar company engineer M. R. Wood designed the school and served as school board president. In 1959 the district was merged with schools in Missouri City and Stafford to form the Fort Bend Independent School District.

[See Texas Schoolhouses]

Historical Marker: 200 block of Easton Ave. 0.1 miles S of Hwy 90A
Imperial Prison Farm Cemetery
Prior to the Civil War, this rich river bottom land was known for its cotton, corn and sugar cane crops and sugar mill. With the emancipation of slaves in 1865, area plantation owners struggled to work the fields and mill. In 1878, landowners L. A. Ellis and E. H. Cunningham negotiated a lease with the State of Texas to open a private prison, leasing convicts for labor. Five years later, the state gained control over the prison and inmates.

Sugar trade thrived here, and in 1908, I. H. Kempner and W. T. Eldridge bought the small town of Sugar Land, created the Imperial Sugar Company and a stable company town and workforce. Also in 1908, the State of Texas purchased 5,235 acres of adjoining land and started the Imperial State Prison Farm. With more than 400 inmates, it was one of Texas' first state-run prisons. Once dubbed the "Hellhole on the Brazos," this and other Texas prisons became notorious for deplorable inmate treatment and living conditions before public outcry forced reforms in 1912.

The cemetery has 31 marked graves of inmates and guards, dating 1912-1943, some with graphic descriptions of their deaths. By the late 1940s, all Texas inmates were buried at Huntsville's Prison Unit or in prisoners' hometowns. Later called the Central State Prison Farm and then Central Unit, the prison farm operated here until 2011 when the state sold part of its land for a new housing development.

The City of Sugar Land purchased 65 acres, including the cemetery, for parkland and to ensure the preservation of the cemetery. A white cross, surrounded by prisoner-made bricks, stands in the center of the cemetery; the gate and some sections of the fence are original.
Historic Texas Cemetery - 2007

[See Texas Cemeteries]

Sugar  Land  Texas - Water Tower
Sugar Land Water Tower
TE Photo, 2010
More Texas Water Towers

Sugar  Land Texas - View of city and bridge over creek

Sugar Land
TE Photo, 2010

Sugar  Land Texas - View of creek from the bridge
View of the creek from the bridge
TE photo, 2010
More Texs Bridges

TX  Fort Bend County 1907 Postal Map
Fort Bend County 1907 postal map showing Sugarland, E of Richmond/Rosenberg and the Brazos River
From Texas state map #2090

Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Take a road trip

Texas Gulf Coast

Sugar Land, Texas Nearby Towns/Cities:
Richmond the county seat
See Fort Bend County

Book Hotel Here:
Richmond/Rosenberg Hotels | More Hotels
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