Issue 06............November 2020
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
On November 13th, A.P. Beutel would be 128 years old.
Remembering A.P. Beutel
November 13 marks the 128th birthday of Lake Jackson co-founder, A.P. Beutel.
Dr. Beutel, or "Dutch" as some people knew him, originally came to the Freeport area in 1940 to oversee the construction of a plant for the Dow Chemical Company. 

The plant would extract bromine and magnesium from seawater. Bromine was an essential ingredient in a product manufactured by Dow. It effectively reduced the knocking in automobile engines. Magnesium was in high demand at that time due to the outbreak of WWII. It was used to make flares, incendiaries and aircraft.
Beutel was known as a man who could get things done and done quickly. Within ten months, the new magnesium plant on the Texas Gulf Coast was up and running. In addition to fulfilling domestic needs, the plant supplied this lightweight metal called magnesium to Britain for use in its effort against Germany's Luftwaffe.  
Beutel became the first general manager of Dow's Texas Division, located in Freeport. Faced with a housing shortage for his plant workers, Beutel decided to build a new town.

He engaged the services of an architect named Alden B. Dow, the younger brother of Dow's president. Together on horseback they canvassed acreage once a sugar plantation, land covered in thickets and crawling with snakes. They mapped out streets, and Lake Jackson was born.
Not only was Dr. Beutel an industrial magnate, but he was also a friend to local youth. He raised cattle in Lake Jackson, and from time to time would give some of his calves to 4-H students for them to show in the County Fair. He was also supportive of the Boy Scout program. Its local council presented Dr. Beutel with the Silver Beaver Award for his distinguished service.

Dr. Beutel died in Freeport in 1972, two weeks after his 80th birthday.

Kaytlyn Fitts, a fourth generation Lake Jacksonite, recently married Dylan Word beneath the historic Enchanted Oak tree at the Jackson Plantation Historic site. She is the great-granddaughter of two Lake Jackson pioneers: Grady Fitts, Sr. and John T. Suggs, Sr.

In 1942, the Fitts family moved into a new house on the corner of Azalea and Circle Way. Mr. Fitts was active in the Little League Association.

The Suggs family initially moved into the existing government duplexes. Mr. Suggs, who worked in Dow's Engineering Department, was the first surveyor of the land that became Lake Jackson. He walked the woods with architect Alden B. Dow. As Dow planned the city, Suggs drafted the streets. Two baseball fields in the Lake Jackson area, Webb-Fitts and Suggs Field, bear the name of Kaytlyn's ancestors. 
Kaytlyn's grandmother, Sharon Suggs White, served on the Lake Jackson Historical Association board of directors for approximately 12 years. Her husband, Don White, greeted visitors at the Plantation site for 15 years.
After developing magnesium production for America's WW II aircraft in the early 1940's, Dow Chemical executives touted numerous household uses for the metal. 
The first consumer article manufactured from magnesium was a griddle suitable for both indoor and outdoor cooking. Because heat distributed evenly over its entire surface, food cooked uniformly to the same color and texture, whether placed near the edges or in the center of the griddle. Hence, more food could be cooked simultaneously, and with less energy.
The lightweight, but sturdy, griddle had versatility. It could be used for broiling, baking, and grilling, and the handle could be removed.
Initially, Dow made 10,000 of these utensils prior to 1945. The federal government, however, banned their sale, much to president Dr. Willard H. Dow's consternation. Therefore, many were given away. Subsequently, in mid-September 1945, Dow's magnesium griddle was introduced for sale in 1,700 cities across the U.S.

The historical museum's collection contains the smaller version, called "Sunday Nite Chef Junior," thanks to Sanford Thompson. Mr. Thompson, a career employee in Dow's magnesium department, made his donation in 2002. If any reader knows when Dow ceased the manufacture and sale of this product, please call curator Angela Villarreal at
(979) 297-1570.
Did your family own one of these griddles?
OLDIE, but Goodie.....
Early Entertainment - SADDLE UP!!
How much fun would it be to ride on horseback through trails around the city of Lake Jackson? That’s exactly what the first residents of Lake Jackson did! In 1943, when Alden B. Dow was in the beginning stages of the construction of Lake Jackson, and World War II was still in progress, automobile gas and tires were being rationed. The citizens of Lake Jackson needed to find entertainment nearby that did not require cars. What to do, but begin a horseback riding club!!
In October, 1943, a mere 77 years ago, the Lake Jackson Riding Club took its first ride of the season, leaving from the corral at Lake Jackson Park, and riding to Flag Lake and back. The Lake Jackson Corral was located at the site of the pavilion in the former Lake Jackson Park area. The members of the Riding Club actually built the corral themselves - working weekends using the hard live oak timbers – requiring holes to be drilled before being able to drive a nail! 
There were 368 adult members – with 47 privately owned horses, and 21 horses for rent. A single membership cost $2.50 per year, and a family membership was $5.00. A horse rented for 50 cents the first hour and 35 cents for each additional hour.
Many of the members of the Riding Club were from Michigan, having moved down from the corporate location of the Dow Chemical Company, who had recently chosen this site for a city to support their new plant location in nearby Freeport, Texas. These “northerners” jumped at the chance to wear cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, and ride a horse!

There were several popular rides, all leaving from the Lake Jackson Corral:

  • One ride went through the woods to Flag Lake, where the riders often had a picnic before heading back to the Corral.
  • Another ride was to the old syrup mill. It was located in the pasture towards Brazoria near McFadden’s Slough, north of what is now Highway 332. Brickwork was still left from when the syrup mill was in operation at the original Lake Jackson Plantation.
  • A favorite of the Riding Club were the Sunday morning breakfasts on the trail. Earl Collins was entertainment chairman, and he arranged several of these outings. The riders would start out on horseback about 7:00 a.m. Earl would go on ahead and get a fire started. By the time they arrived at the breakfast site, Earl had coffee ready in a 15 gallon aluminum kettle, and was frying up bacon and eggs for the hungry riders. After a delicious breakfast in the open air, they would mount up and continue the ride through the forest, getting back to the corral a little before noon. SIGN ME UP!!!
Once the war ended, and gasoline and tires became more readily available, the Riding Club started to decline. But those early pioneers had fond memories of weekend trail-riding through what was to become the future city of Lake Jackson.
Written by Fran Hammond, information from an article written by an actual Riding Club member, Bill Colegrove, in The Lake Jackson Chronicles
The Lake Jackson Historical Association (LJHA) will participate in Giving Tuesday 2020. Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on December 1. LJHA has set a goal of $1,000 dollars to buy a new scanner to digitize its archival collection. Digitization allows for the preservation, protection, and public access to historic photographs, documents, and films related to the town of Lake Jackson,Texas.

Make history and donate today.

Funds in excess of $1,000 will be applied to the general operational budget.
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.
Trivia Answer:
The first practicing physician in Lake Jackson was Dr. Robert C. Miller.

New Trivia Question:
What was the name of A.P. Beutel's horse?
Select an answer below:
A Special Thank You to Our October Contributors
Dave Mayberry, Nancy Freshour, and Sharon Suggs White
Angela Villarreal

Cecilia Abad
Digital Programming Specialist
Call Us at 979-297-1570