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Collegeport Day 2011

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Collegeport Day 2011 Newsletter


invite you and your family to join us for the 103rd Annual Collegeport Day Celebration.  This homecoming event is always observed on the last Saturday of May.  Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 28, 2011.  Dinner will be served at 12:00 Noon at Mopac House.  Please bring a side dish, salad or dessert to complement our traditional barbecued beef.  Iced tea and paper goods are provided.  Arrive early and lend a hand to help make this a memorable occasion.


 George “Sonny” & Sue Chiles
Lee Hall Pierce
Fredrick Pierce
Sally Pierce
Lee Edward Pierce
Jedie Pierce Zarate

THANK YOU TO ALL who give of their time, talents and support to continue this community tradition.

barbecued beef has been a Collegeport Day Tradition since 1945.
  In addition to the donations of individuals to purchase beef for the barbecue, the sale of barbecue at the pit is the primary means of meeting the expenses of sponsoring this event.  This year the cost of beef is up considerably, so please remember that it is through your free-will giving that this tradition continues.  The ladies at the registration table will direct you to the person you need to see about specific donations toward the barbecue, supplies/seasonings, paper goods and miscellaneous expenses, or to help fund building maintenance, repairs and other fixed costs.


Roberta Liggett Boyd
Elsie Maddox Eilbeck
Nina Paulk Hill
James Frederick Huitt
Jerry Kincaid Martin
Ruth Harrison Pierce
Ruby Jeanice Russell
Richard Clyde Ware, Jr.
Cecil Aloysious “Allie” Wolf


HAS BEEN a popular attraction in recent years, and will be set up in the Library.  Each year, more and more photos have been shared so that all can enjoy viewing our community’s historic past.  If you have photos or other documents that relate Collegeport history, please bring them with you on Collegeport Day.  We can scan things you want to share so you can return home with your originals.  An extensive collection of historical Collegeport information and photos is also displayed online and may be accessed through the following link:


On November 16, 2010, two groups of Van Vleck Texas History students toured the Mopac House and Library as part of a field trip to several Matagorda County communities. Yvonne Evans, a Texas History teacher, organized the tour.  Mason Holsworth, representing the MHF, and Carol Sue Gibbs of the Matagorda County Historical Commission greeted students.  Carol Sue narrated the PowerPoint presentation “Collegeport for Kids.”  This slide show was the prototype for a “Virtual Fieldtrip,” which will be

expanded to include many areas of the county.  The collection is entitled Matagorda County for Kids.

This collection of slide shows illustrates the history of Matagorda County towns and communities.  Since budget cuts and fuel prices limit field trips as a teaching tool, this program was designed to be used in the classroom to introduce students to their local history. Matagorda County for Kids was presented to all county schools and was one of several projects of the Matagorda County Historical Commission in 2010 for which it was presented the Distinguished Service Award by the Texas Historical Commission.  The presentations are available for viewing by everyone at:



Hattie Haisley and Hugo Kundinger
Married December 27, 1922

Among Collegeport’s most memorable and beloved residents were Hattie and Hugo Kundinger.  The couple was devoted to each other and to the Collegeport Community.  Many who never met Hattie or Hugo feel a deep affection for them because their memory lives on through those who knew them.  Everyone loved Hattie & Hugo!  Their impression on the Collegeport Community--and beyond is unmistakable.  Recently, Christina “Chris” (Hubert) Murat, a great-grand niece of Hugo Kundinger was ‘discovered’ through a genealogical piece she had posted about the Hubert Family on the internet.  Through correspondence, she related that her family had photos and stories of Collegeport to share.  Chris, her father and uncle are planning to attend Collegeport Day this year.  The photos herein are among those shared with us.  Chris also gave a copy of Dena Hurd’s book “The History and Genealogy of The Family of Hurd in the United States.” [Privately published in 1910]  The book was presented to Mr. & Mrs. G Hubert by the author at Collegeport Texas, August twenty-sixth, 1919.

According to the Hubert family history, Hugo Kundinger’s sister, Clara, married George A. Hubert.  George was a traveling tire salesman based out of Oklahoma in 1918.  When the influenza epidemic broke out there, George became aware that at one point everyone in the home office had died, and he wanted to protect his family.  He was terrified his family would get sick so he left the company car, telephoned the home office its location, and resigned his position. He had sent his brother-in-law, Hugo Kundinger on a trek to find a good place to relocate. When Hugo found Collegeport, he wrote back that he had found "heaven on earth.”  George, Clara and Hugo, along with George, Jr. and Clara’s daughter, Ruth. settled in Collegeport.  Once there, the family lived in a tent until



they had better accommodations.  Hugo bought the Collegeport Pharmacy from the Hoffmans, and the 1920 Census listed Hugo as living in Collegeport with George and Clara (Kundinger); Hugo listed as Retail Merchant—Drug Store; age 46.  The whole family would have stayed, but Clara was stricken with breast cancer, so George moved his family to Houston where she could see better doctors. They started a furniture business in what is now downtown Houston.

In the early 1920’s the Turner Rice and Irrigation Company took over the Collegeport Warehouse and Commission Company and built several homes for laborers just south of Collegeport.  This area became known as Turnerville.  The plan was to develop rice production on the lands south of Collegeport.  Hugo moved the Collegeport Pharmacy to its site at Turnerville on Oyster Lake Road where most remember

it.  This shifted the town center South  and East.  Hattie and Hugo were married in the Presbyterian Church in 1922 by Rev. Buchanan.  They were civic-minded and active in their church.  Hattie had come to Collegeport as a girl with her father and step-mother, V. R. and Ida Haisley, and two of Mr. Haisley’s nephews, Haisley and Luther Mills.  Hattie and her family were Charter Members of the First Church of Collegeport—Federated and later of The First Presbyterian Church of Collegeport.  She was an active member of the Woman’s Club and the King’s Daughters organization, where she served as its Treasurer.  As a girl and throughout her life, Hattie enjoyed sports.  She was an avid baseball player in her youth and in later years enjoyed bowling—sometimes taking the Johnson twins bowling in El Campo.  She would pick up the teenagers and away they’d go.  They were amazed that Miss Hattie bowled with a 12-pound ball.  As an Elder, Hugo served as Clerk of Session and as Treasurer.  He was also a Director of the Collegeport Industrial League, and at one time served as its Treasurer.  He was an original Trustee of the Mopac House Foundation, and served as its first Treasurer.  Hugo painted the “MOPAC HOUSE” sign for its grand opening in 1935 that still hangs over the entrance.

H. A. Clapp described his friend Hugo as genial and goodhearted in one of his columns, and often referred fondly to Hattie as well.  Hugo was also Director of the Collegeport Telephone Company and Postmaster.  He enjoyed fishing.  News articles noted that he cooked oyster stew for many civic occasions.  He once baked and decorated a birthday cake for Mr. Clapp.  Clapp reported in his news articles that Hugo “invented” soda fountain treats—the “Collegeport Special” is one in particular.  Hattie and Hugo, though they had no children of their own, held a special place in the hearts of many.  Their nieces and nephews affectionately remember visiting the drug store and being treated to candy, ice cream and sodas. 

The fountain drinks settled many an upset tummy and many remember getting candy when their mom or dad came in to pay the monthly account.  The Drug Store had a telephone and Hattie received and delivered messages to those who didn’t have telephones.  The Post Office was inside the Drug Store, and it has been said that Hugo was once heard asking, “Hattie, are you done with the post cards?”  A slight giggle could be heard from behind the window when something of interest was ‘posted.’        


Hugo & Hattie Kundinger

 The Collegeport Pharmacy's specialty was Hugo and Hattie's "Sodalicious Ice Cream."  The recipe for their pineapple ice cream appeared in the 1956 Collegeport Cookbook and was reprinted in the Collegeport Treasures Cookbook in 2003. The compilers of the first cookbook, after finally convincing Miss Hattie to give them the ice cream recipe, always suspected that she withheld a secret ingredient. After all, a recipe is a trade secret, and Hattie, being a shrewd business woman wanted to keep her ‘edge.’

Chris Murat, great-granddaughter of Hugo's sister, Clara, has finally solved the recipe mystery. She said Hattie reduced the amount of milk by one pint and substituted it with heavy cream.  She says that they make the treat for special occasions and think of Hattie & Hugo.  Many of you have memories of Hattie and Hugo that could be recorded for posterity.  Please relate your memories and stories so that we may compile them into an album for the Mopac House.  In this way, all may know this memorable couple, and how they touched our lives!

The following article about Hattie and Hugo was published in Historic Matagorda County, Volume II, pages 297-298.

Hugo and Hattie "Miss Hattie" Kundinger lived in their home attached to their Drug Store on Oyster Lake Road about a mile east and south of Collegeport. The Drug Store was famous in the area for its marble soda

fountain and for its "ice cream" tables and chairs. The soda fountain had a carbonated water faucet growing out of the marble counter like a tree, curving up gracefully and becoming a lamp. They had a buzzer hooked up on the door so when opened, the buzzer sounded off in their living quarters. Mr. Hugo died in 1952 and Miss Hattie continued to run the Drug Store.  In 1959, Leon Hale of the Houston Post interviewed her for his column. Following are some quotes from the column:

"I can't get parts for this fountain equipment any more," said Miss  Hattie... "That faucet won't fizz any more, you see. And when I run out of carbonated gas I put the tank on a set of rockers and mix it up."



Miss Hattie came with her family in 1908 to Collegeport, when it was being developed. "Burton D.  Hurd was the main developer of Collegeport." Miss Hattie said: "When the town was beginning, Mr. Hurd would take people around, show them this piece of land and that piece, and stop and gather everybody around him and make a speech. My, how that man could talk. That's his home down there, the black one, close to the Post Office. Mr. Bob Smith from Houston bought it and had it remodeled."

"Lots of people think Collegeport was blown away by a storm. No such thing. We've had storms, but I don't know of a single building that ever blew down.

"Why, we had three hotels here at one time, and a big pavilion on the bay, and three lumber yards and the Missouri Pacific Railroad and about 1000 people. We had a basket lunch at the pavilion one day, with a table for each state, and there were so many people at the Kansas table I had to sit with the Texas folks. The reason Collegeport went down, the rice land played out, and the farmers left and took all the young folks with them. They came back and started the rice up again in 1922, and learned to fertilize it, and now they keep it in rice. The hotels are gone now. Man named Weborg, Albert I think his name was, tore down his hotel, hauled it to Houston and rebuilt it just as it was here.

Leon Hale asked, "What would you do, Miss Hattie, if a hurricane came whistling in, aimed right at Collegeport?" "Why," she said, "I'd just button up and stay right here."

September 11, 1961 Hurricane "Carla" destroyed Miss Hattie's Drug Store and home. The tidal wave washed away and damaged the property. She built a small home with attached garage on her store property and lived there until her death, May 23, 1964.

Where, now, can you get a real "soda?" Where can you sit in a curved back chair at a tiny round table in a drug store, windows and doors open for ventilation, dust from the southeast breeze on the floor the smell of old medicines and coke fizzing in your nose?

Colleen Claybourn – 1984

The following excerpts from the
Matagorda County Tribune, Century of Progress Edition, August 26, 1937, Section  7, Pages 1 and 7, tell about the first scout troop in Matagorda County which was organized in Collegeport by H. A. Clapp in 1912.

by Harry Austin Clapp

In 1912 the Scout movement was only two years old in America and as I read about it in the press I had a desire to organize a patrol in Collegeport, so made application. It was granted and in July, 1912, I received my commission as a Scoutmaster. A troop was organized and we had two patrols. Every member was in uniform and fully equipped with such items were required.

This was the first Scout organization in Matagorda County and I was the first Scoutmaster. I taught the boys how to make an Indian fire, to make damper bread and stick bread, to make coffee in a tin can, to broil beef on a willow stick, how to pack corn in the shuck, with potatoes and a chicken or fish heavily coated with clay and all packed in a red hot pit. I took them on hikes and taught them how to tie the bowline, braid and splice rope. First aid was given special attention and many other things too numerous for my space.  We took long hikes, sometimes twenty to fifty miles, each boy packing half a pup tent with their outfit. No hard roads those days. Most of the hike was cross country and we used the scout pace. We hiked fifteen minutes, rested five, and made good time. At a river we shucked off our duds and had a splash. 

Our most pretentious hike was a trip to Galveston when the Intracoastal Canal was opened. We hired a boat and the trip was financed by the business men of the burg and easily financed. We started early Saturday morning with Mrs. Clapp as hostess. Some of the boys had never been outside the county and were amazed at street cars, elevators, etc…We made Galveston without any trouble but high sea and took our place in the water parade reviewed by the governor and staff from the deck of an anchored ship. Tied up at dock and marched to the Galvez Hotel where, with the management's permission, we made camp on the lawn close to the hotel. The manager gave us free toilet and bath privileges in the hotel.  Strict discipline was exacted and no boy was allowed to leave camp alone. Always two. Bathing, picture shows and other entertainments furnished recreation. The Scouts stood at attention and were addressed by Governor Colquitt and C. S. E. Holland, president of the canal association.  The night of the grand parade was an exciting evening. The parade was on the sea wall boulevard and from Galvez Hotel to Fort Crockett. First the U. S. Army Band of about 100 pieces--then the Scoutmaster in uniform with Roy Miller at his side leading the Scouts, and then about 2, 000 U. S. soldiers with perhaps two more bands. Say, Boy Scouts, that was a grand parade and we were a proud bunch. When we returned, the Army gave a drill to music and my Scouts gave their staff drill to the strains of "The Trail of the Lonesome Dove."  Nine days of great fun, never an accident, no illness, great fun at all times.  World War I broke up my troop, for about all the boys joined some branch of federal service.

Troop No. 2 Boy Scouts of America
Collegeport, Texas

This photo of Collegeport Boy Scout Troop #2 was recently shared with us via the internet.  The person who has the photo was curious about the identities of the scouts and when the photo may have been taken.  Please let us know if you have information regarding this photo or if you have more information about Boy Scouts in Collegeport.  Russell Corporon related that W. L. Ellis and U. S. McMillan were the Scoutmasters when he was a Boy Scout in the early 1950’s.  We’d like to hear more about the scouting program in Collegeport.  Please share your stories, photos or other recollections so that they may be included in our archive. 



Improvements at Mopac House

It has been a busy year since last Collegeport Day.  The cracked and buckled dining hall floor is no more!  For a number of years, the strategic placement of tables has masked the irregularities in the floor that had developed over the 75 years that Mopac House has been our community center.  Thanks to the planning and work of both the Mopac House Foundation Trustees, the Marshall Construction Company, and through the generosity of The Trull Foundation of Palacios for a $22,000.00 grant, the replacement and enhancement of the foundation and floor of Mopac House is now a reality!  The original shell-crete floor was replaced with a steel reinforced concrete slab for a cost of $26,871,08.  Some of the sill plates still need repair.  Much volunteer work went into the project to clear out the building. Furnishings, tables and chairs were stored at Franzen’s barn during the construction process.  After the floor had cured, volunteers helped move everything back in and re-hang the pictures and other items that were removed.  Thanks to Precinct 3 Commissioner James Gibson’s crew for loading and hauling off the rubble.  Once this project was completed, a second phase of renovations to the walkways began.  Through the generosity of the Palacios Community Foundation, a grant of $10,000.00

was awarded to the MHF in December, 2010.  This spring, the outdoor walkways and sidewalks were replaced with new steel-reinforced concrete walks, and a sidewalk was extended to the east parking area.  Many hours of volunteer labor and equipment use helped reshape the lawn to implement drainage. The entire lawn was tilled and leveled and volunteers laid new sod to complete the walkway project.  At one point, 18 volunteers and workers were on hand to lay out the sod.  Then came weeks of watering amid the arid conditions to establish the new lawn. 

THANK YOU to all who participated in these improvement projects.

Pouring the new floor

Forms and re-bar in place

Russell Corporon & Gary McKenzie at work

Mopac House with new walks and lawn.

The Mopac House Foundation a non-profit corporation, recognized by the IRS as a public charity. Its mission and purpose is to manage and maintain the Mopac House and grounds for the benefit and use of the residents of the community.  The Mopac House Foundation is exempt from Federal Income Tax under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and contributions to the MHF are deductible under section 170 of the code. 

Early picture of Oyster Lake Road Business at Turnerville 

(1.) Matagorda Bay Warehouse & Commission Company founded by F. D. Yott & C. G. Mapes with (2.) railroad boxcar on the siding. (The railroad shut down in 1933) (3.) Store and hardware business operated by Verner Bowers, and later by W. V. & Vera Batchelder. Possibly J. R. Murry had a Meat Market here.  (4.) A. G. Hunt blacksmith shop. (5.) Collegeport Pharmacy owned by Hugo and Hattie Haisley Kundinger, moved to this location from Central St. (c 1922.)

Photo courtesy of the Hubert family.

We look forward to seeing you on May 28.
Please direct any correspondence to share ideas, news, information or photos to or mail to:

                             The Woman’s Club
                              c/o Ida Mae Franzen
                              P. O. Box 151
                              Collegeport, TX 77428


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