Towers at Imperial Sugar refinery reduced to rubble

SUGAR LAND, TX Dozens of residents of Sugar Land, the town named for the Imperial Sugar Company's refinery, gathered with their cameras to witness the end of an era.

"My dad, Antonio Reyes, worked there for 48 years and only missed 11 days out of the 48 years," said Mayfield Park resident Janie Gonzales. "We spent Hurricane Karla when I was a little girl in that refinery."

They watched and listened, some with happy nostalgia and others with sadness, as a piece of history came tumbling down.

"There were some people who worked here 30, 40, 50 years, you know good hard-working people that worked here to make an honest living and taught me quite a bit," said former employee James Willis.

The implosion did not go exactly as planned. Two towers were actually supposed to be demolished at 7am. Instead, just one came down. At 8am, a second attempt also failed. Finally at 8:30am, the second building gave way, catching some spectators off guard.

The reason for the demolition is redevelopment. Part of the land is the site of the new stadium for the Sugar Land Skeeters baseball team.

"It's something new, something exciting," said Sugar Land resident Michael Duty. "Hopefully, it will be something better."

While residents understand progress is a part of life, their sweet memories of the facility made Sunday bittersweet.

"Growing up here all my life, it's a part of history," said Sugar Land resident Brandi Shane. "It's a part of change."

The char house is one part of the original refinery that will stay in place and become part of the redevelopment.

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