Issue 09...........February 2021
The Lake Jackson Historical Association provides Education relative to the
History and Culture of Lake Jackson, Texas.
The History Museum and Plantation Site
continue to mix the OLD with the NEW
NEW......................................Breaking News!

LJHA makes news in Houston!!! ABC-13 Plus has been filming in Lake Jackson for the past couple of weeks. Our city will be featured on ABC-13's various newscasts the week of February 15. LJHA's three sites will be highlighted in their segment focusing on the history of Lake Jackson. Stay tuned!!!!
Trailer, Texas
10,000 workers and not enough places to live!! That was the dilemma employer Dow Chemical faced as it established its presence in the Brazosport area in 1940. At the time, Dow was the United States’ largest supplier of magnesium. WWII was raging, and Britain needed the light weight metal in great quantity for the manufacture of its war planes. Dow responded by purchasing close to an 800 acre site in Freeport. On it, the company built its first magnesium plant, Plant A. Subsequently in 1941, Washington requested that Dow double its production effort. To meet the demand, Dow bought another 670 acre tract west of Plant A and constructed Plant B.
The shortage of housing in the area forced workers to sleep in cars, under bridges, in cow barns, empty rail cars, and even in chicken coops. Many would sleep in shifts at local boarding houses. To alleviate the problem, Dow opened a trailer park across the road from Plant B. By spring 1942, about 256 trailers were available and 400 additional government owned trailers were readied for rent. Four large service buildings at the park provided laundry equipment, showers and lavatories.

In 1943, a small post office opened on site establishing the new community as Trailer, Texas. It served as a branch of the Freeport post office.

After the war, Dow received approval from Washington to remove all temporary housing, including the trailer park. Today the area occupied by Trailer, Texas is consumed by chemical plants.
OLDIE, but Goodie...
Who remembers ….SPORTSVILLE?
Before Academy, Hobby Lobby, and Target came to Lake Jackson to service our sports and craft ambitions, there was SPORTSVILLE!!! I’m sure the town was filled with excitement in the early days when there were very few retail stores – to hear a sporting goods store was opening! The original location was on North Parking Place, near the current location of Bushwackers, and was owned by Elmo Mays and George Morgan. They carried all types of sports equipment, games, and plastic models.

In the early 1960’s, the store expanded and moved to a new, larger location in what was formerly a “5 and dime store” owned by Ernie Rea, on This Way, in what is now the Lake Econo Washateria. By this time, they added ceramics, art supplies, model airplanes, and all types of crafts. A popular activity during the late 1960’s/early 1970’s was painting designs on wooden purses, for which all of the supplies could be found at Sportsville!
Jim Carter was a later owner, and was gracious enough to provide the input for this article. An interesting little tidbit he shared with me is that the official name of the store was SPORTVILLE, but that everyone called it SPORTsVILLE! Who knew?!?

Another future owner was Bobby Legler, who added a special camera supply section, which grew in popularity during those years. Another popular feature was a racetrack in the rear of the store for racing model electric cars – quite the entertainment during the day!

As a pre-teen and teenager during the late 1960’s and 1970’s, I have fond memories of riding bicycles downtown with my friends and strolling for hours up and down the aisles looking at all the fun crafts, games, balsa wood, and paints. Although we now have the big supercenter stores, they can’t be replaced by the atmosphere of that quaint, little hometown hobby shop we called Sportsville! 
Alden B. Dow...................Born to Build
Alden B. Dow had a precarious entry into the world. In the end, however, he left an indelible mark on it. He was born prematurely and incubated in the family’s kitchen oven. By the time he was eight years old, he had designed and built a three-room outdoor playhouse. By age 14, he had designed and created a motorized go-cart. Instead of pursuing a career in engineering, like his father, Herbert H. Dow, he graduated with a degree in architecture from Columbia University at the age of 27. Alden Dow was born to build!!!
He could be aptly called the “Father of Lake Jackson.” From his office in downtown Lake Jackson, he produced a variety of residential floor plans. Some were characterized by vertical columns and enclosed attached garages. He drew up plans for the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, as well as the Lake Theater. He designed the buildings that housed Lake Drug (now Tammie’s Touch) and Sportsville (most recently the Lake Econo Washateria). He designed the first school building now known as Elizabet Ney Elementary. The pavilion and restrooms on the picnic grounds of Dow Park were also his creations. 
The National Registry of Historic Places lists eighteen residences designed by Mr. Dow. He also won the coveted Diplome de Grand Prix for best residential design in the world. The LJHA Board of Directors plans to renovate and reopen Dow’s office to the public in 2021. Watch for ways that you can make this effort happen!! 
NEW...................................Marketing Coordinator
Hi, my name is Deborah Duty, I am the new Marketing Coordinator. I am excited to learn more about Lake Jackson. I am a native Houstonian and Texas history was instilled in me from a young age. My ancestors came to Texas with Austin’s Old 300, fought in the Battle of San Jacinto, participated in the Meir Expedition and they eventually settled in Fort Bend County.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Sam Houston State University and continued my education in Accounting and Computer Science at the University of St. Thomas. I have worked over 20 years in the communication field, managing social media, media relations and managing websites.

I have a love for the water and animals. My mother was a diving coach so I spent my childhood next to the Shamrock Hotel pool and my father was an avid horseman and had me in the saddle with him at eight months old. I spend my spare time either near the water or training my three vizslas, Delta, Kai and Kara.  
Leave your lasting imprint AND support the LJHA at the same time.

Pave the walkway to the museum or the Jackson Plantation Historic Site with your personalized brick.Order a Brick here.
A Word from the Executive Director
This month, I want to take a moment to speak about member support and a few simple ways that might seem small but actually make a big difference. If you receive the newsletter, then you clearly support the Historical Association and Museum, but did you know that there are ways to help besides donation of time and money? One of the big challenges facing every history museum these days is visibility and new visitors. As it turns out there is a simple way for you to help solve this issue. LJHA's new Marketing Coordinator, Debbie Duty, will be making posts and updates to the organization social media regularly. I would like to ask everyone to please follow the organization's on all social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Please be sure to ‘like’ the organization's posts, then SHARE them. Doing this will help get the word out to people who follow your activity but may not be aware of LJHA!

The second thing I want to remind everyone about is institutional fundraising tools. LJHA has a relationship with Kroger Community Rewards, so if you shop there please designate LJHA as your preferred nonprofit and link your card to the organization. When you shop, we receive a percentage as donations. These days many people do a lot of their shopping online. Please remember to use ‘AmazonSmile’ and designate LJHA as your preferred charity when shopping through Amazon.

These small steps can add up and make a big difference for the organization! Thank you for your continuing support of LJHA!
David Thomas
LJHA Executive Director
Trivia Answer:
Businessman John Rapanos donated the Alden Dow
property to the LJHA in 2006..

New Trivia Question:
Who inspired the naming of the streets, "This Way" and "That Way."
A Special Thank You to Our January Contributors
  Brent Bowles, Baker & Lawson, Inc.
Executive Director
David Thomas
Angela Villarreal

Deborah Duty
Marketing Coordinator
Call Us at 979-297-1570