What was Spindletop?
If one had asked a Beaumonter on January 1, 1901, what big news of recent months had most interested him, he would have said the great Galveston hurricane of September 8, or the dawning of a new century. If one had asked him on January 10, he would have said the great gusher at Spindletop - a salt dome about three miles south of Beaumont. Dubbed "The Lucas Gusher," the oil discovery on Spindletop Hill changed the economy of Texas and helped to usher in the petroleum age. Read more.
About Gladys City
Originally envisioned by Patillo Higgins, treasurer and general manager of the Gladys City Oil, Gas and Manufacturing Company, which was founded in 1892, the town of Gladys City was to be a perfect industrial city, featuring factories, schools, churches, homes, parks and businesses. When the Lucas Gusher blew in on January 10, 1901, there was no more time to be perfect. Quickly, the Gladys City Company began leasing land to businessmen (and some women) who built quick, clapboard buildings to sell goods and services to oilfield workers and their families.
By the early 1970s, nothing much remained of the original Gladys City. In 1975, the re-created Gladys City Boomtown was built on lands once owned by the Gladys City Oil, Gas & Manufacturing Company as a Bicentennial project and in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Lucas Gusher. Once completed, the new Gladys City was given to the State of Texas and is governed by Lamar University. Through a self-guided tour, visitors to Gladys City experience 15 replica buildings filled with objects from the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries that depict life during the first Spindletop oil boom. From a saloon and post office to a general store and livery stable, visitors get a glimpse of what it might have been like to work and live in the historic Spindletop oilfield.
Gladys City complements and enhances the educational, social and cultural missions of Lamar University through stewardship of the Spindletop story, and the acquisition, conservation, interpretation and use of artifacts, representative structures, and other items of social and cultural significance to Spindletop, 1892-1951.
We aspire to be the educational and cultural leader in the preservation of Spindletop history.
Gladys City kindles the wildcatter spirit in everyone through rich, shared experiences inspired by the history, significance and legacy of Spindletop.
Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum
5550 Jimmy Simmons Blvd.
(formerly University Drive)
Beaumont, TX 77705
P.O. Box 10070
Beaumont, TX 77710
Author Talk & Book Signing: "Texas Oil & Gas" by Jeff Spencer
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2014, 6 p.m.
Dishman Art Museum Auditorium,
Free and Open to the Public
As part of our celebration of the 113th anniversary of the oil discovery at Spindletop, author, oilfield historian and petroleum geologist Jeff Spencer will give a talk about the photographers who captured the Spindletop boom and made their images available on popular postcards of the time. Mr. Spencer will be available to sign copies of his book during a reception following his talk.
The newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Postcard History Series is Texas Oil and Gas by local author Jeff A. Spencer. The book boasts more than 200 vintage images of the petroleum industry in Texas and documents in postcards the rapid growth of the Texas petroleum industry from its beginnings near Corsicana in the 1890s through the next several decades of oil booms throughout the state. The young 20th century opened with the Lucas Gusher at Spindletop in 1901. Thousands rushed from the oilfields of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to find work and riches. Continued drilling success along the Texas Gulf Coast transformed Houston into a major city and the Beaumont area into a major petrochemical center. Through the 1910s and 1920s, oil booms occurred in North Texas, the Panhandle, Central Texas and West Texas. The giant East Texas oilfield, the second largest North American oilfield to Alaska’s North Slope, was discovered in 1930. Texas oil replaced coal as fuel for the nation’s railroads and provided fuel for our military in two world wars.
Highlights of Texas Oil and Gas include: