Like most of Texas, Sugar Land’s early influences were Native Americans, the Spanish, the Mexican government and Mexican immigrants, and American pioneers. In 1823, Stephen F. Austin was given the charter to settle 300 American families in Texas. The land granted in Fort Bend County was very fertile and set the stage for Sugar Land’s rich agricultural heritage.
Sugar Land found its strength in sugarcane production. As these settlers began farming and creating plantations, sugar became the primary industry. In 1908, a sugar cane refinery built in 1896 was purchased and renamed Imperial Sugar. It was the Imperial Sugar Company that developed the town, modernizing the refinery and building houses for the employees and their families.
The growing of sugar cane ended in 1928. The economic foothold it gave the city has helped increase the population from less than 2,000 back then to today's 117,869 residents.
Since its incorporation as a city in 1959, Sugar Land’s residents live in a master-planned community with many parks and recreational facilities, first-class shopping and medical facilities, and a safe environment, ranking as one of America’s safest cities since 2008. Sugar Land has been recognized as one of America’s Best Places to Live and has been named a Community of Respect by the Anti-Defamation League.
For more information on Sugar Land's history, please visit the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation. Visitors can also visit the Sugar Land Heritage Museum & Visitor Center located in Imperial Sugar's old Container Warehouse. Admission is free and the museum's hours of operations are: Mondays from noon to 5 p.m. and Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The museum is closed on Sundays. Visitors can read all about Sugar Land's past and see documents, maps, and equipment from the Imperial Sugar Refinery. Visitors will also be able to purchase books on Sugar Land and other Sugar Land branded items.