Harman Center Honors Sugar Land’s First Mayor
Sugar Land, TX -- Sugar Land City Council named the Senior Adult and Community Center after the City’s first mayor.
The T.E. Harman Center, 226 Matlage Way, is being reconstructed to accommodate senior programs in addition to activities previously offered at the Community Center.
Harman was elected the first mayor of Sugar Land in 1959 and served until 1961. He served a second term as mayor from 1965 to 1967.
During the 1950s with the City of Houston annexing everything in sight, I.H. Kempner went on the offensive with annexation plans for his company town.
To ramp up for incorporation beginning in 1957, company houses were sold to employees living in them, creating homeowners who could vote to become a “General Law” city. Imperial Sugar recruited Harman, the manager of the mercantile dry good store and a Presbyterian Church trustee/elder, to run for mayor.
An election was held in 1959, and Harman became the City’s first mayor. He and five new aldermen held their first City Council meeting on Jan. 19, 1960. The newly incorporated City spanned four square miles with a population of approximately 2,500.
Throughout the 1960s, the company began transitioning services to the new City government. Under Harman’s leadership, the City hired its first City employee - City Secretary Hazel McJunkin - and scheduled two Council meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of each month, a practice that continues today.
Other accomplishments follow:
● Imperial had put in streets, sewer lines, gas and electric lines
and built a network of levees and canals. With developers poised to build homes, City Council began creating building, plumbing and electricity codes.
● The creation of a comprehensive plan in 1961 paved the way for
zoning. The plan was the first of many that charted an orderly, planned and systematic development of the City.
● An important step during Harman’s tenure during the 1960s was
the creation of a City police force. Sugar Land hired Joe Burke to the newly created position of city marshal. When the City assumed responsibility for the water and sewer system, a third employee was hired.
Harman came to Sugar Land from Gonzales, and his family was part of the early settlers of Texas. He lived on Brooks and Guenther Streets.
Harman Bridge that spans Oyster Creek to connect Mayfield Park and Main Street is named for him. He enjoyed hunting and fishing.
Photo 2: Harman, right, with former Alderman Bud Little, who also served as Sugar Land’s second mayor.