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marmer

Historic Brazosport

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Southern Oaks was a jungle down where we were, at the end. There was no bridge on Willow, we had to go around and go over a one lane wooden bridge on the Old Angleton Road.

Wow, again before my time. But I can believe it was a jungle. I certainly remember motorcycle riding around Shy Pond. Talk about a jungle!

The Schwinn dealership -- was that in the big warehouse llike building where N. Parking Place dead-ends on Circle Way? That was originally (or at least earlier) a Packard dealership. They may have also carried Studebakers -- somebody did but I can't remember who. When Packards went out of production, it became an Edsel dealership and when Edsel died I think he gave up on trying to run a car dealership in LJ. There was a Nash dealership on Oyster Creek Drive about where Huisache dead-ends, later became an auto body and paint shop. They also carried Hudsons and, for the short time they were on the market, Kaisers and Fraziers. All of the other car dealerships were in Freeport and Angleton. They were both small - 2, maybe 3 cars in the showrooms at most, and no hundreds and hundreds of models sitting there to choose from.
Wow, I didn't know any of that at all, and I'm a car and history nut. The Schwinn dealership in my time was Woodrum-Duensing Hardware. My parents bought their 1962 Rambler at a Rambler dealership in Angleton and had it serviced at an American Motors dealer right on the edge of Freeport. That dealer remained until the late '70s; the building is still extant -- I think it's a construction rental place.
I must have some sort of block on Woolworth's but by the time those stores went in I wasn't tagging along with my Mother on shopping trips.

No, I haven't seen the book. I was at the museum for the 60th anny reception in '03 with my Dad and looked around and I've browsed the website several times. I'll post some of what I have when I get some time to scan them and upload them. I'll start another thread since we've pretty well hi-jacked this one.

I'm a packrat, too.

EDIT: If you're talking about the Lake Jackson Chronicles, I have that. If you're talking about some sort of photo album compiled by the Society, no, I haven't seen that. Have been flipping through the Chronicles -- hadn't looked at that in some time.

Yes, a real shame it's gone. You can have CM, I'd rather have Jamail's back. The best part was the hot food deli where you could get great lunches to go. The line was always long. Then there were their prepared foods in the freezer section.

Sounds like the Weingarten/Woolworth center went in after you were gone. Just to be sure, I'm talking about right across from Restwood Cemetery. The book I'm talking about may be the Chronicles. I don't have it here right now. Green cloth cover, fairly substantial. I'll look at home tonight.

Re: Brazosport High School.

Yes, they disabled that picture now that the school has changed so much. But yes, I was talking about the BHS you graduated from. It looked like that, with the tall folded plate breezeway and the open-air mall. Sad to see it go. The old Freeport HS, later Freeport Intermediate, on ?Second? downtown across from the Baptist church, was torn down about a year ago after local preservation attempts failed. Curiously, the first Freeport School, next to the river, is still extant, being used as a warehouse.

Google Earth still has the old BHS shown. Pretty much everything east of the auditorium (the courtyard and the classroom wings) has been replaced by that blue-roofed postmodern McSchool. It has a nice food court, gotta give it that. :) And they have several well-maintained display cases of memorabilia and pictures of every graduating class.

Brazosport.jpg

marmer

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Don't know a great deal about the Brazosport area other than some friends of the family used to have a beach house in a place called Turtle Creek about a mile or two from Surfside. When we stayed there we went into Lake Jackson and Clute alot. Seemed like a really nice place to live. Probably won't ever contribute much to this thread other than that, but I hope some others who know about the area do as I'd like to learn more about Brazosport.

Good luck. I once had a thread on the Aldine area and was pleasently surprised how many people contributed to it before we pretty much exhausted the thread a few months later. There's a lot of smart folks on this board and I couldn't believe howe much they knew.

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My great Uncle owned the Root Beer stand near The Mystery.

Anybody remember the root beer stand?

Oh, yeah. Mr. Antonelli's. I remember when it was on Second Street near the shrimp boat docks. My parents had a boat when I was a kid and I remember seeing the sad-looking derelict Mystery half-sunken at the pier. Then they cleaned it up and put it on that display in the park.

marmer

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My aunt wrote a book about that place. I can't remember the name of her book right now.

Never knew it was in another location. I was born in 1969 so I just get all this info second hand ;-)

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My aunt wrote a book about that place. I can't remember the name of her book right now.

Never knew it was in another location. I was born in 1969 so I just get all this info second hand ;-)

This, maybe? :)

Antonelli's River Inn

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Wow, again before my time. But I can believe it was a jungle. I certainly remember motorcycle riding around Shy Pond. Talk about a jungle!

Wow, I didn't know any of that at all, and I'm a car and history nut. The Schwinn dealership in my time was Woodrum-Duensing Hardware. My parents bought their 1962 Rambler at a Rambler dealership in Angleton and had it serviced at an American Motors dealer right on the edge of Freeport. That dealer remained until the late '70s; the building is still extant -- I think it's a construction rental place.

Sounds like the Weingarten/Woolworth center went in after you were gone. Just to be sure, I'm talking about right across from Restwood Cemetery. The book I'm talking about may be the Chronicles. I don't have it here right now. Green cloth cover, fairly substantial. I'll look at home tonight.

Re: Brazosport High School.

Yes, they disabled that picture now that the school has changed so much. But yes, I was talking about the BHS you graduated from. It looked like that, with the tall folded plate breezeway and the open-air mall. Sad to see it go. The old Freeport HS, later Freeport Intermediate, on ?Second? downtown across from the Baptist church, was torn down about a year ago after local preservation attempts failed. Curiously, the first Freeport School, next to the river, is still extant, being used as a warehouse.

Google Earth still has the old BHS shown. Pretty much everything east of the auditorium (the courtyard and the classroom wings) has been replaced by that blue-roofed postmodern McSchool. It has a nice food court, gotta give it that. :) And they have several well-maintained display cases of memorabilia and pictures of every graduating class.

Brazosport.jpg

marmer

Shy Pond - that rings a bell, but I can't place it. Southern Oaks Drive was called Big John Drive when we built there and the short street parallel to Willow was Little John Drive, after John T. Suggs, owner and developer of the subdivision. EDIT: Sugg's company was Southern Materials as I recall, said to be the richest man in Brazosport.

The Packard dealership was closer to Oak than the hardware store; can't remember if they abutted. I remember the Rambler place in Freeport/Velasco - quonset hut type building as I recall. We looked at the Rambler wagon there; I really wanted one of those - I thought they were so 'cute' - and of course the Metropolitan out of curiosity. We did buy a 59 Hillman Minx there as best I recall. That would have been the first foreign car dealership in Brazosport. That was a cool little runabout. 5 speed on the floor, red leather upholstery, we had it air conditioned, 4 door sedan on a wheel base about the size of a Beetle. My brother liked to push it like a Porsche and speed shift; that car got a lot of hard use in the few years we owned it. That same year, we bought a Mercedes at Mosehart-Keller on Shepherd in Houston, the first Benz dealership here I think. Dad had always bought Olds from Wright's (Freeport, Angleton, West Columbia) but the 58 98 was an absolutely piece of garbage and he swore off American cars for years (except for Chevy pickups).

Yes, that's the Weingarten's, now HEB (last I was there). Yes, that's the Chronicles book; I hadn't looked at that for some time and was thinking that was another Bill Colegrove work so I didn't flash on your reference. A lot better pics in it than Colegrove's book about Dow, which has some LJ pics. Have you ever checked out the pics on line at the Brazoria County Historical Museum site? Kind of difficult to navigate and find what you want and not that much about LJ, but fascinating stuff, especially of old Velasco.

Have you heard of Sugar, Planters, Slaves and Convicts by Joan Few? It's about the archeological digs at the Jackson plantation. I wanted to go to her lecture at BCHM but was ill that day; got the book from amazon.com but they probably have it at the museum. Haven't read it yet. Looks like I'm going to be up all night this weekend scanning and posting.

Sorry to hear that about Freeport High; I had seen the notices they wanted to make it into a cultural center or something but hadn't heard they gave up. Of course the old Freeport Hospital on Broad @ Oak where I was born is long gone. Poor old Freeport! Has anybody ever documented those Dow houses on 2nd -- the stucco ones?, probably designed by Alden B. Dow, too. My Dad worked on those as a carpenter working for Austin Construction Co., how he first became aware of the Brazosport area. There were also the Dow apartments on Broad and the Dow Hotel in the east end, the swankiest accomodations and eatery in the area; these were built for the influx of Dow execs.

Thanks for starting this thread; this is going to be so cool. Not that I don't enjoy reading every word you post but there are quite a few HAIFers with LJ/Bpt connections and I hope they'll join in.

Edited by brucesw

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My aunt wrote a book about that place. I can't remember the name of her book right now.

Never knew it was in another location. I was born in 1969 so I just get all this info second hand ;-)

Oh YES! Keg root beer in a frosted mug. I was so glad they saved that place. On 2nd across from where On The River is now, I think. That was a real treat when I was a kid - root beer at 'Aunt Nelly's.' I have an old Facts clipping I'll scan and post.

Ca. the early 1950s there was a 'Brown Derby' on 288 where Gulf Blvd. intersects, may have been called a Dairy Queen. We went there about once a week as a family. Everyone got a brown derby and we sat in the car and licked 'em.

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Wow! I didn't think there were any foreign car dealerships in the area. By the time I was a kid, one almost never saw anything except VWs. I never saw a Hillman or a Metropolitan (I have, but didn't as a kid) One almost never saw Mercedes'. Once at Bimco marina in Surfside I saw someone's privately owned Mercedes O-class coach. That was a real kick. Pretty sure Mercedes was distributed in the USA by Studebaker Packard in the late 50s. My parents had a '58 Desoto Firedome that my older brother laid a lot of rubber in before I was born. When I came along they got the Rambler and kept it until I was in college. (along with various Chevy trucks, and a somewhat asthmatic '55 Ford pickup.)

Shy Pond was a large pond sort of in the curve of Oyster Creek. It was in the undeveloped land bordered more or less by Forest Drive, Oyster Creek Drive, FM 2004, and Oak Drive. Yaupon continues northward over Oyster Creek now and goes right through that area. There is still a small section of Shy Pond remaining, I think.

My parents both came to the area to work at Dow. My father was actually here pre-war then returned to his home of North Carolina after Navy service. He moved back to Velasco again in the early 50s. He met my mother at the bowling alley in Freeport just east of 288; they both were avid bowlers. I still have vague memories of going to that bowling alley as a very very small child. When I was an infant, my father got his name in The Brazosport Facts for bowling 290-something.

I know about Joan Few's work and I have corresponded with her by e-mail. I work at Rice and went to Rice with her daughter Alice. Her husband is a professor at Rice. But I can't say that I have actually met her in person.

Funny about the Rambler wagon. When I was in HS I really wanted the little AWD Eagle or Spirit wagon which they had at that Freeport dealer circa 1977 or so. It's still a handsome car, at least by late 70's standards, and beat Audi and Subaru to the punch for car-based AWD.

Apparently the sale and development of Dow Park (which funded the historical museum) was a cause for major controversy in the community. There was even a brief article about it in Texas Monthly at the time.

There was an article about mod buildings in Brazosport in a recent issue of Cite. The mod houses on Second Street were specifically mentioned with pictures. I'll see if I can find something that I can post or PM you. Posting entire articles, as you know, is frowned upon here.

marmer

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That's the book. Uncle Henry! My Mom's side of the family goes way back down there.

Craig, Antonelli, Luke (and DOW) are my connection down that way.

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I couldn't find the first part of this clipping. When I find it, I'll come back and post it. I believe it had a picture of the stand in rather sad shape at it's orginal location on 2nd. I could post the article from Bill Colegrove's Episodes which I have both in book form and the serialized newspaper articles, for the benefit of those who don't have the book or a relative who knows the story.

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They shoulda put 'Antonelli's River Inn' on it.

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I've always thought this was kind of cheesy - I want to be able to climb on board and look in the wheelhouse. In fact, I was never sure it had been a real shrimp boat, maybe just a mock up. An acquaintance from hi school got into shrimping for some reason. As he said one time, if you want to make a small fortune in shrimping, start with a large one. But he loved it. I don't know much about the Mystery. I'm not sure if it was there in my time or just where it was. Was it above the Cherry Street Bridge (EDIT: this should be Velasco St. bridge)? If so, must've been there in my time. I'm not sure just when that bridge was built but I don't think you could get a shrimp boat under it. I wasn't that interested in Freeport then --- Jr. Hi rivals and all that. It galled us to have to be bussed to hi school in Freeport.

Marmer - re: your mention of the DeSoto Firedome -- I think that Rambler place in Velasco (I'll always refer to that part of Freeport as Velasco) had also been a Chrysler-Plymouth dealer earlier; I have memories of going with a friend to look at the '55 Plymouths, which I thought were cool looking.

Please do post what you think appropriate from Cite; I used to pick that up from time to time but do all my book shopping on-line now. I'll look around for back issues - which one was it?

Do you think we need separate threads for the towns? I have more on Freeport, Lake Jackson, and a little on Angleton at this time. I'll post some stuff on BHS on that thread.

Speaking of boats on the Old River (seguewaying nicely from topic to topic) - does anyone remember the boat that was being built by a Facts reporter or photographer who planned to go around the world? He was considered kind of a wacko in town; the boat was painted a horrid lime green. I don't think anyone ever thought he'd ever actually set out but he did; I saw one report from him - he had made it as far as Corpus - but never heard anything else.

Edited by brucesw

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My parents both came to the area to work at Dow. My father was actually here pre-war then returned to his home of North Carolina after Navy service. He moved back to Velasco again in the early 50s. He met my mother at the bowling alley in Freeport just east of 288; they both were avid bowlers. I still have vague memories of going to that bowling alley as a very very small child. When I was an infant, my father got his name in The Brazosport Facts for bowling 290-something.

Apparently the sale and development of Dow Park (which funded the historical museum) was a cause for major controversy in the community. There was even a brief article about it in Texas Monthly at the time.

marmer

I had forgotten all about the bowling alley. It was much closer to 288 than Weingarten's/Penney's wasn't it? I'm not sure it was even there when I was at BHS.

I didn't find out about the sale of the park till many years later. A shame it's not open to the public but hopefully it's being kept up. I'll have some pics to post -- great memories of Dow company picnics and church and civic club functions. I had to spend a lot of time in LJ and the area closing my Dad's estate - I have the impression Lake Jacksonites (and Brazosportians - ?) are about as dedicated to preserving their heritage as Houstonians.

Edited by brucesw

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A few random replies. Sorry if I don't bother to quote.

There's a small pic of Antonelli's River Inn at the Second Street location in the link I posted above from the Museum newsletter.

The Mystery was definitely a real, albeit, mostly sunken and derelict, shrimp boat. I clearly remember seeing it at the dock about 1971 or so and I'm pretty sure it was past the Cherry Street bridge. It was not the only one that looked abandoned and sunk. I suspect the reason they chose that one was because either it was abandoned or a total loss, but structurally not too deteriorated. Upon a closer look at your photo, the sealing of the deck and the wheelhouse windows is fairly new. I don't actually remember seeing that before.

Yes, the bowling alley was in (north) Velasco (actually just across 288 from the Rambler dealership.) It burned down about 1967 or so.

The Dow Park land is completely developed with houses now, except for the plantation archeological site. Here's a Google Earth cap:

LJ.jpg

I don't remember the weird green boat at all. I do remember a rotting derelict wooden sailboat and a Korean War fighter jet both on display in Jasmine Park. The boat was for kids to play on, but it was full of wasp nests and rusty nails. It was a different time.

There is a nice article in the Summer 2004 Cite by Ben Koush about the early buildings in Lake Jackson and Freeport. It's too big to scan, and since it's fairly recent you should be able to find it. There are some pictures of the Ben Franklin building and some duplexes, and this picture with plans (from Architectural Record, May 1942) of the Second Street houses we discussed earlier (that your Dad worked on)

Cite.jpg

Yes, LJ thinks they have done their historical duty by building a museum, though there are starting to be some vestiges of interest in architectural preservation. By the way, the new McSchool Lake Jackson Intermediate has been built on the site of the former Little League fields at the corner of Oyster Creek Drive and Oak Drive. Some of the old Lake Jackson Jr. High buildings were still there last time I was there, but not all.

I don't think there need to be separate threads/topics/forums for the cities. Between you, me and MidtownCoog I don't know that anyone else is that interested. Maybe BenH?

marmer

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Okay I know the bowling alley; I thought you were talking about one across from BHS which I had totally forgotten. My parents were regulars at those lanes in the 50s, Wed or Thur night as I recall. I only went a couple of times.

Next time I'm in Fpt I'll get some pics of the houses. I have meant to in the past but usually have so many errands to run when I go down there I run out of time or forget. I didn't know they'd torn down parts of LJJH - I'll have to go by and look.

Agreed on the separate threads; I gave it some more thought. I have quite a bit of stuff I've been wanting to put somewhere in hopes of generating some interest and discussion (since I don't know of a similar forum for Brazoria Co.) but not enough to do my own website.

Here's part of the Colegrove article on The River Inn for others interested. Episodes was published as a limited edition book and was so popular the Facts publisher negotiated for the rights to serialize it in the paper. So as to not risk breaking the spine of the book, this is from the paper:

49j8qy8.jpg

The article goes on to mention Antonelli would put up extra shade covers and barrels filled with iced watermelons in season. Early 'drive-ins' were practically curbside. I can remember pulling up to the curb on 2nd and getting out and standing under the flaps; Mr. Antonelli would come out from the back, take a mug out of a cooler, put it under the tap and fill it to the brim as described. Sometimes we got Root Beer floats but I don't remember ever having any of the other food items. It was a real treat.

I found this is Creighton's A Narrative History of Brazoria County. I didn't remember reading that Dow had built a replica of the plantation house. I wonder what one has to do to see it?

2rp5ydi.jpg

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Yes, that's the bowling alley. I actually think it was one street east of Brazosport Blvd. (288) or on a cross street. My parents were also frequent bowlers in the 50s and that's where they met. I wouldn't be surprised if they knew/ran into your folks.

I too would like to do some photography in Freeport. There's a lovely little Art Deco pharmacy building in the Downtown, and a few other neat things.

Dow built the plantation house in 1974. You could see it across the lake from Dow Park; it was near Dr. Beutel's house. I went to a couple of honors dinners/receptions there in high school. I don't know if it's still there; probably is. It would probably only be open for events and stuff.

I knew Bill Colegrove, he published a folksy weekly called "The Brazorian News."

Were you there during the Lanier High School years? I suspect that the Brazosport area has an unpleasant racial history, since the original inhabitants were mostly black farmers and the surrounding plantations depended on convict labor from the nearby prison farms. I know there were black schools in Brazoria and Angleton, and the black Lanier High School, but there weren't any other black schools as far as I know.

marmer

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Forgotten Freeport --- I came across this first photo while perusing my old high school annual.

2isjtk3.jpg

That's the 100 block of W. 2nd, I think. Anyone who's been to Freeport in recent years realizes how astonishing that photo is. In 1960, Freeport was still the commercial and retail hub of Brazosport and may have still had more residents than Lake Jackson but now that has completely reversed. You can drive that stretch of downtown Freeport during the middle of the day now and not see a single car or person. Everything on the left side of the street has been razed (to make way for Intermedics, I suppose, which later abandoned Freeport for a campus north of Angleton, then got bought out by a competitor in 1999 and shut down). Everything on the right hand side of the street is closed and boarded up, as I recall from my last visit. There are still 3 businesses in the next block, though.

34zedt2.jpg

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The Showboat theater, 219 W. 2nd Street, Freeport. The man looking at me taking the picture turned out to be the owner; he came over to talk to me and told me the Showboat opened ca. 1940-41 and closed in 1970. He said they're getting ready to put a jewelry store in there -- I didn't ask if Lee's Credit Jewelers is moving from the corner. It's sad to see the marquee and sign gone; I hope they don't remove the ticket booth. I have looked extensively for a picture from the 50s or 60s but haven't found one.

I went to the Showboat only a handful of times. We had our own theater in my hometown, Lake Jackson, the Lake. I remember thinking the first time I went there it was quite luxurious compared to the Lake, which was rather spartan. I saw Bwana Devil there, the first 3-D movie, and, fittingly enough, Showboat. By the time I was old enough to go to movies on my own with my friends, we mostly went to the two drive-ins in the area, the Surf and Tradewind (or Tradewinds). The former was where the movies featuring Bridget Bardot, Gina Lollabrigida and Sophia Loren played, anyway.

Marmer - is the pharmacy the one on the corner of Oak and Broad next to the former Wright Chevy-Olds-GMC (Bat-Wing Mowers in it's last incarnation) - I seem to remember that, a lawyer's office now, I think. Used to be a grocery across from that which was a local operation. I have a photo of another old movie house I'll post soon.

I was away from the area for most of the 60s except for the first 2 summers when I came home and worked summer jobs; from 63-70, I was in Austin. I remember some harrumphing and snorting in the halls of BHS when the first talk of integrating the schools there began, even a couple of teachers who were quick to add they'd obey the law, though. I imagine there were others who had stronger feelings but kept them to themselves but I never heard of any incidents. I remember reading of the first sit-ins in Houston but never anything about Brazosport that I can remember.

Lanier - was that the one on the old Angleton-Velasco road, now called FM 523? It was pretty contemporary with BHS as I recall, but I never went inside. I can't even remember if that was just a hi school or where all Blacks went to school. I remember reading once about the first Black family to move into Lake Jackson but I don't remember when it was or any particulars. I just wasn't that involved at all with Brazosport for the whole decade.

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I've mentioned the mods down there on this site before. My couisn had one in Lake Jackson back behind the Methodist church. Pretty neat little area.

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Yes, during my time in the area (1961-1985, more or less) the commercial shift from Freeport to Lake Jackson happened. Of course, things like boating and fishing supplies were still found in Freeport. But when I was a little kid we had to go to Freeport for everything. By the time I was in high school, my Freeport/Brazosport High girlfriend really resented the fact that we had to go to Lake Jackson for movies, shopping, restaurants, etc.

I remember the Showboat and the Beacon in Angleton. Both of them finished their lives by showing pretty seedy movies. I never went to either of them but I remember the Showboat looked pretty nice. I think there was another theatre, maybe called Freeport or Velasco? I thought the Showboat lasted longer than 1970 because I thought I remembered some friends about my age talking about rats running around the seats when they went to movies there.

Lee's Credit Jewelers may very well be moving in there. They had a devastating fire in their building on the corner but they plan to re-open. I think the little Art Deco pharmacy with its Rx ornamentation is the one that is near there, and I think it is a law office.

Lanier High School was the building on the east side of town, on 523. It was the first campus for Brazosport College and now is a training center for Dow. Yes, it was for blacks only until approximately 1966. I'm pretty sure they were a state football champion in the Prairie View Interscholastic League in the early '60s. -- probably the Brazosport area's first state championship! I've been able to find out almost nothing other than that -- it's though the culture of that high school has completely disappered. The Davis family moved to LJ about that time. Their daughter graduated from Brazoswood a year before me in 1979! Yes, LJ was basically lily-white in the '60s

I remember Krause Office Supply and I'm pretty sure that that's the Grant's store I mentioned earlier that is barely visible across the street on the far left of the picture.

MidtownCoog -- yes, there are several excellent mods, especially along Oyster Creek Drive. One of those days I need to go take pictures.

marmer

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The Beacon - now that rings a bell. On the Brazoria Co. Historical Museum website there are some pics of the Angleton Theater, opened in 1935. The tag says it was on S. Mulberry but of course Mullberry runs east/west (Hwy 35). I found a building on Velasco, right around the corner, which resembles the pictures. I'll upload it when I get time. I do not remember the Angleton but 'Beacon' rings a bell. We would have passed right by that every time we went to Houston.

Yes there was a Velasco theater, on Ave B in the 100 or 200 block. I went there only once, to see Days of Wine and Roses just after it was released. It was a small place, dark red brick building, as I recall, not seedy but not in good shape. Threre were only a handful of other people in the auditorium that night; at least there were no parking problems. Just about all of that in those 2 blocks has been razed. There is a pic on the BCHM site purporting to be the back of the Velasco after a snowfall but I can't even tell if it's looking at the theater or out the back door.

I agree the date 1970 seems rather early for the closing of the Showboat but I have no way of knowing. Perhaps it was known as something else in its seedier days?

While browsing the BCHM site looking for old pictures I came across this, identified as the Ora Theater in Freeport:

e24886b.jpg

The listing says it was Freeport's first movie theater and opened in 1949 - bull! No way Freeport didn't have a theater until 1949 (plus the claim of the owner of the Showboat that it opened in 40/41). In fact the BCHM has another pic on line of a much earlier theater, although it may not have been a movie theater. The movie on the marquee was released in 1947 I think. The thing is, I don't remember this at all. I went looking for it my last trip there and found this:

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This is in the 200 block of E. Park. All the businesses along there were closed and only one had a street address so I can't pin it down more than that. I was on Park street many times -- we sometimes shopped at the Tobey Hardware on the corner, Griff's Men's Wear across the street; the Facts was located in the 300 block (as was a Pontiac dealership) and the photographer who took many photos for school annuals had a studio there, but I just don't remember this at all so I have no idea of the actual dates. Looks like it might have been a nightclub in another incarnation.

I did not remember the Black school was named Lanier. I've tried to think of another Black school in the area but can't come up with one. The Black population of Bpt was quite small, actually. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more Hispanics than Blacks back then. I didn't know it had been the BCC campus.

We shopped at Krause's; I went to hi school with the son of the owner of Willenberg's Pharmacy -- can't remember his name right now. Everybody talks about Grant's and Woolworth's on HAIF. Fie! Nothing will ever beat Ben Franklin's for me -- of course I knew Ernie Rea who owned the LJ Ben Franklin.

Midtown Coog - do you perhaps mean the Episcopal Church at the corner of Oyster Creek Drive and Circle Way? Behind the Methodist Church would be Hwy 332 and across from that a newer portion of town where I can't think of any mods. There are mods along Circle Way and OCD as I recall.

Also, what's the pronunciation of Antonelli? We always understood it was pronounced as a 3 syllable word, hence the Aunt Nelly above. Was it pronounced as a 4 syllable word, i.e., was the 'o' elided or not?

Edited by brucesw

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Awesome thread. My grandparents lived in Oyster Creek, my dad & aunt went to Brazosport HS. I stayed many a time with them and have many fond memories. My granny would always take me to Antonelli's for a root beer float........YUMMY! I was down there a couple of times when something blew up at Dow (my grandfather's employer).......Thanks for this memory jogging thread!!

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Brazosport/Quintana Folklore

BZZPORT on the Llano

On slab road near kingsland, Mr. Bee built what looked like it was meant to be a small outdoor concession stand and picknic tables on the banks of the llano river. The sign said "BZZPORT" and the rumor was that he moved here from Brazosport. He was eccentric and died over 10 years ago. Last time I drove down slab road the BZZPORT sign still hung over the gate of the property.

Missing bar patrons found in canal

In the 1970s I heard a piece of folklore about the Freeport/brazosport area. There was a road to quintana beach that made a sharp turn before a canal. There was a bar up the road. Many people dissapeared from the bar never to be seen again. A fisherman snagged the roof of a car in the canal and it was discovered that the many missing people were in cars that sank in the canal when they could not make the turn on the way home from the bar.

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Yes, I seem to remember that theatre building downtown being a nightclub when I was in college. Nice to see it looking so good.

I don't remember the name ORA, but it may have changed later.

I remember the Rea and Suggs families, just barely. As far as I know, the root beer place was always called An-to-nel-li's, though it could have been elided to three syllables by some folks.

Yes, I heard the urban legend about the canal on the way to Quintana, and it's probably true that there were some accidents there. There was indeed a deep canal and a sharp turn in the road on the way to Quintana up until the '80s but the new bridge and Hwy 36 to Jones Creek fixed that. As far as several people disappearing and several cars missing, I find that a little difficult to believe.

Of course in 1971 the hijacked airliner made an emergency landing at the old Lake Jackson airport, and young Houston TV reporter Jessica Savitch got thrown in jail for trying to get too close after the sheriff's deputies/Lake Jackson police told her not to.

The "big explosion" of a tank car happened in December 1967, I believe it killed about ten people but I'm not sure.

A couple of very credible unexplained UFO sightings took place in the area but are almost forgotten now. One, in 1959, occurred as a group of women were driving from Freeport to Jones Creek (probably Hwy. 36). A bright light crossed in front of them and disappeared into the heavily wooded area beside the road. The car engine died temporarily and the frightened women called the sheriff's office. According to the sheriff's report, there was a light visible back in the woods but the brush was too thick to allow searching. The better known one happened near Damon or Bailey's Prairie between Angleton and Brazoria in September 1966.

Two sheriff's deputies chased a gigantic craft at speeds exceeding 100 mph on the country roads in the area. One of the deputies had an alligator(!) bite he had received earlier in the day which was apparently healed by purple light beams from the craft.

marmer

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Re: Quintana, right at the mouth of the old Brazos, across from Surfiside, where Stephen F. Austin's first colonists sailed in. AIR, some people tried to ride out Carla in a shed there and didn't make it. The canal was the Intracoastal Waterway.

4fvedyh.jpg

This was at Surfside but there were 2 bridges south of Freeport, one for Bryan Beach and one for Quintana. Quintana was just about the most remote place there was and there was a bar there. I can remember when all three bridges were one-way. When the bridges had to open for barge traffic on the canal, which always had priority, the wait could be quite lengthy. When the bridge was just one way, traffic on the beach was allowed off before anyone was allowed to cross in the other direction. The Surfside bridge was just down from the entrance to Dow Plant A and is now dead-end. You went out Gulf Blvd. in Velasco to get there. The two bridges south of Freeport were accessed by going out the same road past the Port of Freeport as you use now; they were replaced by one two-way bridge eventually but it's only been in the last 15 years or so that a span replaced that.

I never heard of anyone driving off into the canal and not being found but there were (urban) legends of the bridge tenders drinking heavily to while the time away, especially south of town where hours might pass without any traffic, and failing to take all the steps necessary to safely allow auto traffic over the bridges before raising the crossarms, leading to some plunging into the canal.

Just a couple hundred yards or less from the Surfside bridge in the direction of the old river was what I think we called the Freeport or Velasco light.

2hcp8ns.jpg

It still stood in my childhood but I never saw it in operation because we never went to the beach at night. The turret and Fresnel lens from the light are on display at the Brazoria Co. Historical Museum in Angleton along with a history.

These pictures are from James Creighton's A Narrative History of Brazoria Co. but I believe they, and more like them, can be found on the BCHM website. Pictures there are small, so I chose to scan the book.

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This is waaaaaay before my time but I just had to post it. I never saw anything like this at Surfside and I know nothing about what happend in the Brazosport area during the storm of 1900.

4catd91.jpg

(Also from Creighton).

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In 1950 the Houston Chronicle discovered Lake Jackson and their Sunday Rotogravure magazine did a feature.

2vw9wlf.jpg

The big building lower left is the Lake Theater, apparently one of the first buildings completed. It faces Circle Way; along the side of the theater is North Parking Place. Marmer, looks like this might be before Nowlin's and the Lavelle shop were there. The baseball field at top left is where the state champ Lake Jackon Gators played. The short esplanade just below center is Other Way Street; the two streets approaching it are, from the bottom center, That Way, and from the right, This Way. The intersection of This Way, That Way and Other Way made Ripley's Believe it or Not. Architect and city designer Alden B. Dow's office was in the strip on South Parking Place, on the other side of Other Way from N. Parking Place. The strip along This Way included a Humble station, Lake Drug, Ben Franklin Store, Style Mart and and early grocery store that became a Piggly Wiggly.

4gfml1w.jpg

2lo0nkj.jpg

I have so many fond memories of picnics at the lake. The covered area included large pits. Dow held company picnics here as did churches and civic groups. Many times volunteers prepared the food, but sometimes Dow hired Lennox BBQ of Houston. The street scene is taken from North Parking Place looking across the Other Way esplanade. I didn't remember the building on the right, which I think was an appliance store at first but Marmer remembers as a washateria, was there as early as 1950. Between the oak in the foreground and the light pole, you can see the entrance to the Ben Franklin.

46y5lkj.jpg

And we all went out and played in the DDT fog. Between that, all the pollution Dow released in the early days, working one summer at Ethyl Dow checking the bromine cleansers everday (and getting a real strong blast of fumes every time you opened one) and the radium treatments I received as a child for sinusitis, it's a wonder I'm alive and don't glow in the dark.

Edited by brucesw

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You made me curious so yesterday I had my Mom say "Antonelli". They definetly don't say the 'o'.

But she sure has a way with the "elli". You should have heard my grandmother say "Italian".

Like a Native Texan.

Anyway...

Related to DOW, my grandfather worked there of course. My Mom said they'd go crabbing in the canals near DOW in an area only the employees had access to.

That sounds kinda toxic but no real health problems on that side of the family other than getting old.

They rode out Carla in a DOW building and kept having to move up floors becuase of the water.

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Yes, that's the washateria. Now Domino's pizza, and across from it when I was a kid, Lake Drug and Sportville. The area by the esplanade was never called Other Way to my knowledge, always a continuation of Center Way. Here's a cap from a Sanborn map from 1951 that seems to confirm it.

LJ-1.jpg

The Lavelle building is not there either on the map or in the picture. Now that I think of it, it is a beautiful rendition of what would later be called a strip center. The stores are several feet above the street level and there is a continuous set of steps up to a covered arcade in front of the stores. I've never seen anything like that anywhere else.

No DDT spraying when I was a kid, thanks to Rachel Carson. Maybe the later sprays didn't work as well, or we were just used to a comparatively lower skeeter population, but we always thought there were lots of the damn things.

I wasn't quite born yet for Carla, my parents evacuated to Central Texas and their house on Acacia had little damage. A few downed limbs, a few shingles blown off, the aluminum awnings torn up. No significant water or wind damage.

Of course I well remember the draw bridge to Quintana but not a separate bridge to Bryan Beach. We always turned left at the end of the drawbridge to go to Quintana or right to go to Bryan.

I'm pretty sure I remember the Freeport light. A new one went in when I was pretty small, though. The picture caption says 1967 and that sounds about right.

I thought there was a significant resort area in the late nineteenth century at what is now called Surfside, but don't remember the name. Maybe Quintana? Apparently the whole town was a total loss after the 1900 hurricane, sorta like Indianola farther up the coast.

WRT toxicity, I don't know anything specific; I know my former high school girlfriend died of cancer at thirty and she spent a lot of her growing-up years drinking well water from her grandmother's place on 36 between Freeport and Jones Creek. It wouldn't surprise me if there was a connection but there's no way to prove anything. On the other hand her grandmother lived there for fifty years, smoked like a chimney, and lived past seventy.

I remember when the intersection of 288 and 332 was a stop sign, right there by the Surf drive in. It was replaced with the area's first cloverleaf in about 1968.

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I rememer the water in Jones Creek stunk when I was a kid.

So speaking of death one has to mention Gulf Prarie Cemetary in Jones Creek. That's where my grandparents are burried.

It was the original burial site of SFA until the moved his remains to Austin. Neat old plots on the side by the church.

http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online...s/GG/hvgnj.html

http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasGhostTown...rairieTexas.htm

Edited by MidtownCoog

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So speaking of death one has to mention Gulf Prarie Cemetary in Jones Creek. That's where my grandparents are burried.

It was the original burial site of SFA until the moved his remains to Austin. Neat old plots on the side by the church.

She is too. Seems appropriate, since she spent so many happy hours so near there. And, yes, there are lots of neat old plots there, the Perry family for one. I knew some Perrys when I was growing up and they were related to some of the original settlers.

marmer

Edit: "She" meaning the high school girlfriend mentioned in Post #27 above. May she rest in peace.

Edited by marmer

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I just found this thread. It is very fascinating to me as I grew up in Brazoria but practically lived in Lake Jackson during my formative years of the 70's and 80's. Unfortunately, I went to high school in West Columbia (poorest school in the county) although I lived closer to Brazoswood HS. I always resented that. I loved the root bear stand in Freeport. I used to go to Quintana beach all the time. It was nicer than Bryan beach but not as expensive as Surfside.

I saw many a movie at the old Lake I and II theaters in Lake Jackson. Does anyone remember the old drive in between Angleton and Freeport on the old 288? I saw 9 to 5 there back in the day.

My dad worked for Dow for 30 years before retiring. He stills lives down in Brazoria. Ever time I visit it seems nothing ever changes. I love living in Houston but my roots are in the love it or hate it little area known as Brazosport.

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I just found this thread. It is very fascinating to me as I grew up in Brazoria but practically lived in Lake Jackson during my formative years of the 70's and 80's. Unfortunately, I went to high school in West Columbia (poorest school in the county) although I lived closer to Brazoswood HS. I always resented that.

Did you know Dauri Reimer? She lived just outside of Brazoria but went to Brazoswood. She was a classmate of mine in the 1980 graduating class and she then went to A&M.

I loved the root bear stand in Freeport. I used to go to Quintana beach all the time. It was nicer than Bryan beach but not as expensive as Surfside.

I remember it well, both on Second Street and then in the park, but I never went there. I didn't really like root beer and neither did my parents, so we never had any reason to go. I did like Bryan Beach because you could drive on it and there were no glass container restrictions (good beer didn't come in cans back then.) Also it wasn't usually very crowded.

I saw many a movie at the old Lake I and II theaters in Lake Jackson. Does anyone remember the old drive in between Angleton and Freeport on the old 288? I saw 9 to 5 there back in the day.

Brazos Twin. Sure. I went a few times. I believe either Hurricane Allen or Alicia put the screens down for good in the early 80s.

My dad worked for Dow for 30 years before retiring. He stills lives down in Brazoria. Ever time I visit it seems nothing ever changes. I love living in Houston but my roots are in the love it or hate it little area known as Brazosport.

Mine, too, though he died in 1995. My mother still lives there in our old house on Acacia Street. But I can't say nothing ever changes. Of note:

The relentless suburbanization and chain-store frenzy of the area around Brazos Mall on 332.

The sale and residential development of the Dow Park at the lake.

The advancing deterioration of most of the original housing stock in Lake Jackson. (Most of the older neighborhoods are somewhat seedy now)

The major restructuring of 288 through Angleton.

New highways and bridges between Freeport, Jones Creek, and Quintana.

Surfside Beach Park, Quintana Beach Park, and the LNG terminal at Quintana.

Thanks for re-opening the thread!

marmer

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Hurricane Carla in Brazosport:

2dkzndz.jpg

The article says water got up to the first floor of the administration building. As I recall the ground level is mostly parking. Plant B and Lake Jackson were flooded because the storm surge came so far inland it came around the end of the levees erected to protect Plant B (the one along Hwy 288 for those not familiar with Brazosport). Lake Jackson is approximately 10 miles from the coast.

2cf8g28.jpg

The Ammonia plant is right across 288 from the Administration building.

4g8ncd0.jpg

Whew!

A picture from the Facts special edition:

2jcgegz.jpg

The Surf Drive-in in the lower left, I guess that's Plant B in the background -- I think this was before Dow Badische (now BASF) was built. The drive-in across from the Surf was Boddiddlies or something like that; never went there. The interchange of 288 and 332 would be just off to the right; I guess it wasn't built then. I guess we lived in Lake Jackson when the only way in was on Oyster Creek Drive, a shell road coming off of the old Angleton-Clute road, but I don't remember it. Later, you could go to the foot of Azalea, jag over to Plantation and go out thru Clute, either following Plantation all the way to 288 or take the 'short cut' out Commerce. I don't remember when 332 came through from Brazoria -- originally that was just an extension of Oyster Creek Drive and didn't branch off to go to Surfside.

I took a trip to Brazosport recently and came back very depressed. I took a lot of pictures but not as many as I wanted as I ran out of space on my card. I'll get around to posting some of them.

Some corrections: above I referred to the Cherry St. bridge in Freeport -- there probably never was one. I should have been saying Velasco St. bridge. I'll go back and correct the posts.

I think the Velasco theater was probably on Ave A, not B. Just about everything there has been razed.

Quintana was on the south side of the mouth of the Old Brazos, Surfside on the north. The original site of Velasco in the early 1800s however was right on the coast. It moved inland after storms.

I've never heard of North Center Way or South Center Way; we always called it Other Way. Thought I even had a pic of a street sign but can't find it. I guess Sanborn should have passed out free maps to all the residents.

P.S. Lee's in Fpt has been razed and is now in a small space on Broad in the same block; looks like only one counter inside. They must've lost a lot of merchandise. There's nothing yet in the old Showboat.

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So that must be the same administration building my mom and her family rode out the storm in.

Not sure how they ended up at DOW. I'll have to ask. Her father was with DOW Security and I think he may have had to be there.

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As I mentioned earlier in the Brazosport High School thread in Houston Mod, the Dow Administration Building (now called A.P. Beutel Building) is by Mackie and Kamrath. :)

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The swing bridge on the Old River at Freeport

v5anhf.jpg

I happened to see a story about this on 13 last night and couldn't believe it when the reporter said the bridge is still used. Hard to believe it still rotates much less would support a train and I thought all the tracks south of the river had been taken up. So I looked it up in The Facts.

The land bridge at the west end of Freeport was built before I was born but we still used this occasionally and it always scared me. It was narrow and cars and trains shared it and there always seemed to be a switch engine sitting at the north end of the bridge and I swear the engineers would always toot their horn when a car got on the bridge, even if they weren't going anywhere. I'm sure there were crossing arms to prevent cars from entering the bridge if there was a train but I wasn't old enough to understand that.

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I graduated Brazoswod in 1979. When my family moved to the Brazosport area in 1969 a person still had to go to Freeport to get many items. In Clute the Old wooden Reck's store was still being used but they had just layed out the plans for the one now in use. Clute at one time had a theater but it was torn down years before I moved there. I was told that Freeport during it's boom had three four theaters. I went to the Velaso once but to the Lake all the time in Lake Jackson. The Brazos Mall was supposed to be in Clute on Dixie Drive.

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Bumping this thread. I went to the Houston Arts and Media History Book Fair in the Heights today and saw a presentation by Harry Sargent on his new book on Lake Jackson, part of the Arcadia Press' Images of America series just released last month. I'll be up late tonight poring over the pictures and I'm looking forward to meeting with Harry soon in LJ to share some of my memorabilia with him.

Edited by brucesw

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My great Uncle owned the Root Beer stand near The Mystery.

Anybody remember the root beer stand?

WOW You're related to Mr. Antonelli??? I loved that man ... all of them. All the way back to the late 40s and my mom before me. I used to work at the Weingarten's across from Restwood when I was in the tenth or eleventh grade at BHS. So glad to find this spot. Are you still living there?

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I started doing some genealogy a few years ago when I realized that I had nothing to do between 2 and 4 a.m. It made me realize how connected I still am to that area, even though I moved away after high school and have not been back since the 70s. I think nearly half of Restwood is made up of my relatives. I was born in the Dow Hospital. We lived in LJ, Freeport, Clute, Oyster Creek and Surfside at one time or another. My maternal grandfather was a brick mason and builder and built a lot of the beach houses in the 30s and 40s. My uncle owned one of the department stores in Freeport and was a Chamber member and all that. My mom and her siblings all graduated from Freeport High School (my junior high), which is the one that is used for storage now, I guess. My family moved to Freeport/Oyster Creek back a little after the turn of the century (20th) and before 1920. I have and have had aunts, uncles, cousins, great aunts and uncles, grandparents and great grandparents all there. Though you never get away, so I understand why they stayed...now. Didn't then. I couldn't wait to move to the 'city'. Now I miss it. At least my particular slanted memories of it. :o)

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OK. Now I can't shut up about it. This nostalgia can be a bit overwhelming sometimes when you find others with similar memories. I used to ride my bike to the LJ theater every Saturday afternoon. My Girl Scout hut was only a block away as well so I would sometimes drop by to see if one of the moms were there and needed any help. When I went to the theater it cost less than a quarter to get in and candy was a nickle. So was the Coke and pc. My dad used to give me thirty-five cents every Saturday morning and I would race out and get my bike and ride around until the box office opened. What was the woman's name who worked there? I know she was a friend of my parents and was very nice. I quite liked her. I sure remember that coke machine. I used to almost drop my popcorn and candy (Zero bar) trying to time digging the cup out of it's slot where it seemed to nearly always stick in time for the coke to hit it instead of the drain. I managed about half the time. I had to hurry so I wouldn't miss any of the serial before the movie. Of course, I'm talking about truly great movies like Forbidden Planet, The Blob and Space Children. I just may be a tad older than you. Ha!

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I only just now read about Bodiddle's and The Surf drive-in. Just FYI, since your interested in area history. Bodiddle's was an interesting idea. About a third of it was like a little 7-11 before 7-11s, the middle was a bar that was open front and back. When I was about six, my mom sent me inside that part one time after my dad so he could pick up our order. They used to have a big jar of oysters on the counter and a sign that said, "Win $1 if you can swallow one whole." Then way down below in tiny print, it said, "The last guy couldn't, as you can see." It was supposed to be a grand joke. Most of the men were on more than their first beer and thought it really funny. The rest of the place had a jukebox and a fast food type place. There was no place to sit inside and you placed your order at the one window they had and they would announce your name when it was ready over a loud speaker. There was a huge hand-painted sign outside it that was the menu and included hamburgers for twenty cents and BBQ burgers for twenty-five. Most of the guys there worked at Dow like my dad. He was in accounting. But everyone stopped going for a long time once when we drove up and the sign said 'Hamburgers 25 cents and BBQ burgers 35 cents." That was the last time I was allowed to go for the BBQ burger.

Dow Badische has been around many years. it was there when I was growing up. Uhm, not that I'm old or anything. In fact, I was quite young all my life. I have to ask, what do you mean that one beach is less expensive?? There's a charge? And what happened to the bridge? I can't find out anything except it's gone.

It's too bad you never tried the Root Beer stand. Mr Antonelli made it himself. There was no root beer like it. The recipe had been handed down for generations, at least two that I know of. My mom and her sister used to walk over there after school and get some whenever they could. He made some ice cream at one time, too, all handmade. When I was about three he gave me some pistachio. I wasn't sure about eating green ice cream, but he could always hug me into anything. I was thrilled when he was still running the stand so I could take my own boys to see him when they were young. He still remembered me even after I was gone for ten years. He was really getting on up there at that time. Still made the root beer. Didn't want anyone else to touch it. My mom had a lot of affection for him and we used to visit pretty frequently. I remember being upset after meeting him the first time and hearing people calling him, "Old Man Antonelli". I thought it was just his name. So I called him that. I told him, "Pleased to meet you, Mr. Old Man Antonelli." (I thought I was Shirley Temple.) He was always gracious to everyone that I knew of and just laughed and laughed when I said it. Then he told me what it meant and I was no longer pleased, I was embarrassed to meet him. But of course, he talked me out of that, too.

Going in to LJ was always the same when I lived there from, well, we're not going there, remember? From 288 up past the roller rink and Restwood and then on into town. I'm not great with street names as I was traumatized as a young tike dealing with streets called This Way, That Way, Center Way (though no north or south), Winding Way, Which Way and Thatta Way (kidding.) But there were, I think, seven of those names like that in downtown LJ. I always thought that Lake Drug was downtown. It used to really intimidate me to go there by myself. It was so BIG. ha! I would get turned around and sometimes when I was with my mom I would lose her. I was very, very young at the time. I knew about every grown-up who worked 'downtown LJ' , though.. The barbers, the guys at Piggly Wiggly, the ladies shop that had the terrible word 'brassieres' painted in gold lettering on the bottom of one of their windows. I had no idea what that was exactly, but the place was full of all kinds of underwear and I hated going there.

We also lived on Acacia. Right down the street from one of my friends, Kathy Greenburg. Her dad, Jack, owned the photography studio. There was a great little bitty park on the corner there where I and Kathy and a couple of other friends could play softball. Or at least we could throw the ball and try to hit it before we got tired of that and went in to play dolls. (Kathy had this amazing collection of dolls plus international dolls covering the top of every wall of her room still in their boxes. Her mom wouldn't let her play with those. That always broke my heart. I was always determined to get Mrs. Greenburg to change her mind about that, but I never did.

Are there no places online where there are just miscellaneous photos of Freeport and all the other towns from the beginning of photos? Of people doing various things, just being people. Kids playing, the mosquito man spraying the DDT and all us kids riding our bikes right inside the big cloud of 'fog' right behind him? Or the long lines at the elementary school in Angleton getting the shots, then later the sugar cubes of, maybe, polio vaccine and parents sweating bullets until they found out if their kids got the shots or the water? (They just knew that getting the vaccine would give the kids polio. It was a little scary and a few kids had polio already.) The schools the way they were I was there: Freeport Junior High Indians and BHS? Or Main street in Clute with the Dairy Dream or King? Kids swinging on the grapevines at the Lake Park? Teens from the 40s going to Antonelli's? The old Avenue B when it was a long row of shotgun houses and Dow was moving families in with families who were already living with families? The ultra cool Woolworth's that gave goldfish away to all the kids when they opened? And the fire?Some shots of 'Skid Row' by the levee of the River, that little street that at the time didn't even have a real name to it? Lots of homeless men with brown wrappers all up and down the street? The old skating rink in the tent off of 288 or the newer one in Clute? Or that little library in Freeport where the older lady would let you stay all afternoon and read? The one that was so dark and cool and felt so good to bare feet after they had been hopping across the hot pavement all the way to town. Or Bubba Rape? Whatever happened to Bubba Rape? My aunt was once engaged to him. I have noticed that other towns have set up or someone there has set up a site like that and hoped there was one somewhere for Brazosport.

Thanks for the patience.

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The railroad bridge below was originally the only bridge that connected Freeport to Velasco.  It carried foot, car, and rail traffic.  A span bridge was added in the early 1950's on Velasco Blvd.  And, this bridge was reduced to rail and foot traffic.  Yes, it carried rail until only a few years ago, Circa 2008.  It was replaced by a used vertical lift rail bridge shipped from Houma, LA.  This is the only rail route to Port Freeport,   Later, about 1966, another span bridge was added on Pine Street, (now officially Industrial Blvd) to better serve the port. 

 

The other swing bridge, for cars, was located near Brazosport High School.  It had the distinction of being constructed over dry land in the mid 1920's before the Brazos River was diverted around Freeport.  That brdge has been removed and replaced by a span bridge south of Freeport. Hwy 36 was rerouted behind Freeport in the early 1980's.

 

 

 

 

The swing bridge on the Old River at Freeport

v5anhf.jpg

I happened to see a story about this on 13 last night and couldn't believe it when the reporter said the bridge is still used. Hard to believe it still rotates much less would support a train and I thought all the tracks south of the river had been taken up. So I looked it up in The Facts.

The land bridge at the west end of Freeport was built before I was born but we still used this occasionally and it always scared me. It was narrow and cars and trains shared it and there always seemed to be a switch engine sitting at the north end of the bridge and I swear the engineers would always toot their horn when a car got on the bridge, even if they weren't going anywhere. I'm sure there were crossing arms to prevent cars from entering the bridge if there was a train but I wasn't old enough to understand that.

 

Edited by Wharf_Rat

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Bumping this thread again.  I found this site today while surfing around.  Some great old pics including Antonelli's in it's original location on 2nd street, the JC Penney's, Bodiddles, the Surf Drive-In, the entrance to the AP Beutel Building at Dow and more, all mentioned up-thread, and some images lifted from this thread.

 

Also, I recently visited the relatively new Freeport Museum.  Many of the displays relied quite a lot on framed newspaper clippings, still, there were some great images of the aftermath of hurricanes, some nautical relics, etc.  Worth a visit if you're down that way.

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Going off of Google Earth, the bridge looks to be still in service, but the roads leading up to it have been blocked (can't believe it shared road and rail traffic--that sounds incredibly dangerous)

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