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The Dow Chemical Collection - Founder’s Day Ceremony (1963)

Lake Jackson Historical Museum

Silent | 1963

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  •  The Founder’s Day program also included a parade, fish fry, frog-jumping contest, fiddler’s contest, scout sky divers, and costume contest. 
  •  Ernie Rae, Lake Jackson’s mayor, served as master of ceremonies during the program 
  •  Guest speaker Ben Ramsey, former lieutenant governor and then railroad commissioner 
  •  “I liken myself to the man in the football game who makes the kickoff, then leaves the game,” Dr. A.P. Beutel remarked. “I have let the citizens take over.” 
  •  Alden B. Dow speaks 
  •  Beutel chose the site for Lake Jackson in 1942, intending the city to serve as a community for Dow workers. Dow, a renowned architect, then designed the budding town and supervised its development. At the time of its 20th anniversary, Lake Jackson boasted a population of around 12,000. 
  •  Dow engineer Fred Latham oversees the plaque dedication ceremony. Latham suggested the Founder’s Day celebration during a meeting of the Lake Jackson Jaycees.  
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In May 1963, Lake Jackson residents commemorated the 20th anniversary of the city’s founding with a week-long celebration. Festivities included a carnival, king and queen contest, cake walk, pancake supper, as well as a screening of films and slides from Alden B. Dow’s personal collection documenting the building of Lake Jackson. The festivities culminated on May 18 with a Founder’s Day program, seen in this film. Lake Jackson’s two founders—Alden B. Dow, son of Dow Chemical founder Herbert Henry Dow, and Dr. A.P. Beutel, the head of Dow Chemical’s Texas Division—attended and delivered remarks to the crowd. While this footage is silent, records reveal the content of their speeches. Both men praised the citizens of Lake Jackson, with Dow urging its older leaders to ensure quality in the further development of the city’s commercial area. This film is produced by the Texas Industrial Film Company.
Dow Chemical, headquartered in Midland, Michigan, is one of the world’s largest chemical companies with numerous plants and facilities all over the world. Dow Chemical’s involvement in Texas began in 1940 with the construction of the Freeport Plant in Freeport, Texas. This plant was primarily tasked with extracting magnesium from sea water, a much needed resource America's military effort in World War II. The development of the city of Lake Jackson, which served as a home for Dow employees, coincided with the construction of the Freeport Plant and as such share a mutual history. Dow Chemical in Freeport became part of a larger transformation of the Texas Coast into a major center of the oil and chemical industry.