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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Gusher of the Day

This Day in History: January 10, 1901

The Modern Oil Industry Was Born

The Lucas gusher at Spindletop, January 10, 1901.
This was the first major gusher of the Texas Oil Boom.
Listen to a story about a man named Jed, a poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed, then one day he was shooting at some food, and up from the ground came a bubbling crude. Oil that is. Black gold. Texas tea. Beverly Hillbillies, 1962-1971
Crude. Oil. Black gold. Texas tea. All are synonymous with the term "gusher." Of course, by the time the popular television series Beverly Hillbillies premiered, the oil industry was booming with Jed Clampett's gusher already having been preceded by thousands of others. One of those precedents was the First Great Texas Oil Gusher discovered at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas. A well at Spindletop struck oil ("came in") on January 10, 1901. As a result...

The modern oil industry was born on a hill in southeastern Texas. This hill was formed by a giant underground dome of salt as it moved slowly towards the surface. As it crept, it pushed the earth that was in its path higher and higher. This dome was known by several names, but the one that stuck was "Spindletop". Through the later half of the 19th century, Pennsylvania had been the most oil-productive state in the country. All that changed on January 10th, 1901. Read MORE...

The 42-gallon standard was adopted by
the Petroleum Producers Association in 1872.
The gusher flowed at an initial rate of approximately 100,000 barrels of oil per day and took nine days to cap. This oil strike was a turning point not only for Texas but for the nation signaling the start of the U. S. oil industry. Its discovery led to the establishment of Gulf Oil and Texaco, which are now part of the Chevron Corporation.

No previously-discovered oil field in the world had ever been so productive. The frenzy of oil exploration and the economic development it generated in the state became known as the Texas Oil Boom. The United States soon became the leading oil producer in the world.

Part of the Spindletop-Gladys Boomtown Museum in Beaumont,TX.
This is a re-creation of the Lucas Gusher only with water instead of Oil.

Historical Note: The Lucas Gusher monument, derrick simulator and Historical markers are located at the museum, but the actual location of the gusher that started it all is about 1.5 miles south of the museum at an out of the way place named Spindletop Park which is at these coordinates N30° 00.718 W94° 04.626. There are no structures or markers at this location to indicate its significance and (as of April 15, 2012) there was no sign on the main road indicating where you should turn off to reach this remote nondescript park.

Spindletop's Boiler Avenue, 1903
photo courtesy of the American Petroleum Institute