Beaumont, TX - 02/24/2012

Published at 8:46 PM in ,

In front of the blacksmith

Today we had a chance to go around Beaumont a little more.  We started off at the Spindletop/Gladys City Boomtown Museum, run by Lamar University.  This is a recreated little boomtown, as it would have appeared in 1901 when the Lucas Gusher happened.

The Spindletop oil derrick

The Lucas Gusher was the first successful drilling in the area after many failed attempts.  In fact, it was so successful that the drillers were completely unprepared for the gusher that erupted.  It took 9 days to get the oil flow under control.  Two engineers developed a way to cap the flow and get it under control on the spot.  Several of the techniques developed and used at Spindletop are still industry standards today around the world.

Fun in the saloon

Photography studio

The boomtown replica,  Gladys City, wasn't terribly unlike other replica cities we have seen from frontier days.  The most notable difference, however, were the printing offices, attorney offices, and the oil company offices.  You didn't see those in Boonesborough, Kentucky!  All those offices were necessary in an oil boomtown, though.  It was especially necessary in Gladys City, where the population grew from 9,000 to 50,000 people in two weeks!  Land had to be divided up, and everyone wanted a piece of the oil action.  Some plots of land were 1/64th of an acre - basically large enough to put up an oil derrick.

Spindletop changed the oil industry, and it was neat to see that part of American history.  We loved this little museum, and I think it was one of Jim's favorite things so far.

Nederland windmill at Tex Ritter Park

After we finished up there, we drove a little ways south back to Nederland, where the Dutch windmill is.  This little museum highlights the Dutch settlers of the area and how it has grown through the years.  The museum also had a section dedicated to Tex Ritter, who is from the Nederland area.  Next door is a little French settlers home, illustrating the lifestyle of the French settlers that followed the Dutch into the area.  We enjoyed talking to the man who was running the French home, who just happened to be Dutch.  He was quite knowledgeable about the time period and history of the area.

Inside the windmill museum

It was a great day! We are looking forward to heading into Houston tomorrow.

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