SUGARLAND TEXAS | JOHNNA JOHNSON | SALE OR BUY | 713.558.2515 | ReMax Top Realty
Sugar Land History
The land in and about the City of Sugar Land was originally owned by the Mexican government and was granted to Samuel M. Williams through Stephen F. Austin. There were several factors which governed Williams receiving this grant, among them was the fact that he spoke Spanish, was well educated, and wrote a fine Spencerian hand. Williams called this land “Oakland Plantation” because there were many different varieties of oaks on the land - Pin Oak, Post Oak, Water Oak, Red Oak, and Live Oak. During this period of time, land grants were measured from one oak to another.
Sugar Industry Sugar became a part of life in the area when S. M. Swinson, captain of a small freight boat, made a meandering journey along the United States coast from New York to Velasco. Along the journey, commodities were picked up at various points and dispensed of as the journey proceeded. One of the stops was Cuba, and as it happened, it was during the height of sugar cane season. A small load of sugar cane stalks was taken on board and later delivered to Samuel M. Williams. The next time Swinson came to the area, he saw sugar cane growing “as high as a man on a horse” and immediately returned to Cuba to purchase more stalks. Soon after, a mill was built to squeeze the juice from the stalks.
Today, the present refinery is located approximately on the spot where the first mill was built. After the death of Samuel Williams, the family attempted to keep the mill alive; however, this was not possible, and the mill was sold to Benjamin Franklin Terry and William Jefferson Kyle. Kyle was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee, in 1803, and Terry was born in Kentucky in 1821. In 1849, both Kyle and Terry, who were living at the time in Brazoria, left Texas along with 20 or 30 others to go to the gold fields of California. By the time they reached California, they had increased in number and had approximately 60 wagons, two companies of pack mules and two sets of engineers. Terry and Kyle prospected gold in California, making quite a fortune.
Sugar Land In 1853, they returned to Texas and with a portion of the fortune purchased the “Oakland Plantation” from the S. M. Williams family. The land, rich in sugar cane, was appropriately renamed “Sugar Land.” The mill was operated using rollers and mule power and the open-kettle process. Molasses was drained off in troughs to 1,000 pound hogsheads for shipment. The railroad from Stafford to Richmond was built by Kyle and Terry. Plans were to run the railroad from Stafford, where the timber met the prairie, direct to Richmond and would have missed Sugar Land; however, Kyle and Terry paid $25 per acre for 2,500 acres of land, paying $7,000 in cash, with the remaining balance due in a series of notes up to year 1858 at which time the notes were fully paid. The big bend, which is currently in the railroad between Stafford and Sugar Land, is a result of this land purchase and Kyle and Terry's desire to have the railroad run through Sugar Land.
In 1860, the Kyle and Terry properties were valued at $250,000. The Sugar Land plantation passed through other hands in years to follow and was finally purchased from the bankrupt Colonel E. H. Cunningham interests by I. H. Kempner and W. T. Eldridge in 1907, at which time the sugar refining process was expanded to what is now known as Imperial Holly Corp. In 1907, the town of Sugar Land began growing at a rapid rate, with operating expenses amounting to around $50,000 per year.
In the fall of 1959, the heretofore company-owned town began the process of incorporation and on Dec. 15, 1959, T. E. Harman was elected the first Mayor of Sugar Land to serve with five Aldermen. The first City Council meeting was held on Jan. 19, 1960.
Home Rule The City of Sugar Land was incorporated in 1959 as a “General Law” city and remained such from 1959 until Jan. 17, 1981, at which time a special city election was held for the purpose of establishing a home rule municipal government. Voters approved the adoption of a home rule charter in accordance with the constitution and statutes of the state of Texas. The type of municipal government provided by this charter was known as “mayor-council government,” and all powers of the city were invested in a Council composed of a mayor and five councilmen.
In January 1985 pursuant to charter requirements, a five-member charter review commission was appointed and charged with the responsibility of reviewing the operation of the city government and determining whether such Charter provisions required revision and, if deemed advisable, to make recommendations to City Council for amendments to the Charter. As a result of this review, the commission recommended that several areas of the Charter be amended.
A special city election was held Aug. 9, 1986, to submit the proposed changes to the electorate for consideration. By a majority of the voters, amendments to the Charter were approved which provided for a change in the city's form of government from that of “mayor-council” (strong mayor) to that of a “council-manager” form of government which provides that the city manager be the chief administrative officer of the city.
Approval of this amendment provided for the mayor to become a voting member of Council, in addition to performing duties as presiding officer of the Council. An amendment on May 5, 1990, changed the composition of the City Council to a Mayor, four council members to be elected by single-member districts and two council members by at-large position. This composition remains in effect today with term limits of eight consecutive years.
Past Mayors There have been nine mayors in Sugar Land's history:
T.E. Harman (1959-1961 and 1964-1968)
Bill Little (1961-1964)
C.E. McFadden (1968-1972)
Roy Cordes, Sr. (1972-1981)
Walter McMeans (1981-1986)
Lee Duggan (1986-1996)
Dean A. Hrbacek (1996-2002)
David G. Wallace (2002-2008)
James A. Thompson (2008-present)
One of the fastest growing cities in Texas, Sugar Land’s residential real estate market is growing to meet demands of the developing population. The city boasts numerous, exceptional master-planned communities, with new developments in the works. The housing is affordable, and the property values remain strong. The master-planned communities offer complete community and protect asset values.
Master Planned Communities
Avalon: A 427-acre waterfront community of four neighborhoods and more than 70 acres of lakes. Custom and semi-custom homes ranging from 2,200 to 6,500 square feet priced from $200,000 to $1 million.
First Colony: Extensive greenbelts, lakes and landscaped boulevards pave the way to a private country club, athletic fields, lakes, an aquatic center, 3.5 million square feet of retail and 2.5 million square feet of campus and garden-style offices. Currently home to 16,799 houses, apartments and town homes with 17,200 projected. Home prices range from the $130,000 to more than $1 million.
Lake Pointe Town Center: A downtown neighborhood located in the heart of Sugar Land. The 190-acre mixed-use development features a variety of residential offerings, including gated waterfront villas and courtyard homes on private streets, elegant brownstones, exciting mid-rise condominiums, urban stucco town homes for living and working, and spacious Italian Renaissance style town homes with lake views. Homes are priced from the $400s to over $1 million.
River Park: Direct access to more than 163 acres of Brazos River-front property, set aside as a natural park with densely wooded trails, wildlife reserves and open meadows that border the river. The 790-acre community features homes priced from $120,000 to the $250,000s.
Sugar Creek: Two private country clubs with 27-hole and 18-hole golf courses, community park, playground, pool, banks, churches and restaurants. The 1,200-acre community is home to 1,592 households. New housing prices range from the $130,000 to $1.9 million.
Telfair: - A new 2,018-acre master-planned community with 300 acres of recreational space, including a 70-acre lake, park and trail system that will meander through the community. Located at U.S. 59 South and University, just south of Texas 6, Telfair offers new homes priced from $250,000 to over $500,00
Parks & Recreation
The City of Sugar Land Parks & Recreation Department seeks to create and maintain unparalleled recreational opportunities and unique, high quality parks and public spaces enhancing our community, with exceptional customer service.
Bike Safety Learn more about proper helmet use and other tips to keep safe while bike riding.
Youth Programs Learn more about our exciting Day Camps and so much more!