1840 Steam Engine Base

The above view is the east side of the 1840's Hartwell Iron Works Steam Engine foundation.

Steam Engine base shows notches where [first] the sugar juice and [second] the crushed cane were channeled.

Viewing the south side shows notches where [first notch] the sugar juice was channeled and [second notch] where the crushed cane was channeled.

The steam engine base raises the steam engine to allow room for the flywheel.

The steam engine base raises the engine to allow room for the flywheel.

Steam engine base showing flywheel slot and Carriage for boiler.

Steam engine base showing flywheel slot and Carriage for boiler.

Brick foundation to support steam boiler and firebox.

Top of the steam engine foundation [The cradle was for the steam boiler]

Steam Engine Name Plate

Steam Engine name plate.

Engine was manufactured in Houston, Texas by HARTWELL IRON WORKS.

          Entrance to firewood crawlway.         Note the side entrances to the fireboxes.

These crawlways enabled a worker to the keep the bottom end of the bolt from turning while tightening the top nut.


Two views of the same bolt. The left view is inside a crawlway and the right view is on top where the steam engine was bolted down. It took one man in the crawlway to keep the bolt from turning while another man on top tightened the steam engine down.

Entire Steam Engine Foundation


Arcola boilers in 1910

     Field steam locomitive in 1910


Arcola workers with sugarcane in 1910

Arcola engineers in 1912.

Read about the Osceola Plantation in Brazoria County

Read about the Jackson Plantation in Brazoria County

Read about the Chenango Plantation in Brazoria County

Yulee Plantation Sugar Mill in Florida


1861 Sugar Mill Steam Engine with it's foundation similar to the one at Arcola Sugar Mills.

Read the complete story about the above engine.

Watch the above engine run

This brick barn is next to the sugar syrup outdoor stove.

Brick barn next to the steam engine. This barn is made from homemade brick. Click for more photos.


This building was probably used to prepare food for the Arcola plantation workers.

This house was expanded from dismantaled house from Houston by the Scanlin sisters.  


In 1872, T. W. House, a former mayor of Houston (during the Civil War), purchased what had once been the Water's Plantation from Thomas Pierce.  He ran the plantation, producing sugar of high quality.  In 1913, T.H. Scanlan, another former mayor of Houston, purchased the plantation.  Scanlan made his fortune in the mercantile and real estate business, which his seven daughters inherited upon his death.  After a dispute in 1937 over the loss of a landmark oak tree at the front of their home at 1917 Main street in downtown Houston, the remaining Scanlan sisters had their mansion dismantled and rebuilt on the plantation.   They used materials from the mansion to double the size of the original foreman's residence on the plantation, which had been built around 1859.  The reclusive Scanlan sisters lived in the rebuilt mansion on the plantation from 1937 until their deaths in 1947 and 1950.

         Having no direct heirs, the sisters formed the Scanlan Foundation, a charitable trust benefiting Catholic charities.  During the 1950's and 60's, the Catholic Diocese of Houston used the plantation, and the area was known as the Cenacle Retreat.  The Cenacle, a religious retreat originally established for women only, operated at Sienna from the early 1950's until 1972.  The bell once used on the plantation to call the workers to dinner and to sound fire alarms was used during these years to call sisters to prayer.  The Cenacle Chapel was behind the 'mansion'. Also there, was a dormitory where the sisters stayed.


Attached is a photo taken on 9-12-1959 of the Sisters of the Cenacle and Mona Moyle Fenn. (Mona had taken her religious instruction in the Catholic faith from the Sisters, and she and her mother had been baptized in their little chapel.  Mona could not receive permission to be married in the little chapel.  Nor could she be married in the other Catholic church on the plantation, the little mission operated by the Basilian Fathers of Sugar Land, which was on another area of the plantation. She could not be married in either of these because she lived at Rosharon, thus making Angleton  her official parish. So, she was married in the Catholic church in Angleton.  After the wedding, she and Joe went to see the Sisters, and Joe took this photo.)

Mona Fenn on her wedding day.


Sacred Heart Church, originally in Arcola and now in Manvel, for many years was a mission of St. Theresa Church in Sugar Land.


Robert Prince marker at the large Arcola Mills cemetery.         Lizzie Woods 'A loyal servant'

Jim Elmer, Texas convict # 26832       Virginia Gilman at Arcola Mills cemetery.

The number 26832 on JIM ELMER's tombstone is his prisoner number


Three convicts were sent to Arcola Sugar Mill.




J. R. Fenn ran the plantation for T. W. House during the time House owned it. The photo above is prison trustee Merrick Boyce. The Texas Prison System leased their  prisoners to the Sugar Land Sugar Company who would sub lease the prisoners to various plantations. The prisoner lease program was a source for labor from 1867 to 1913.



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