Picture of the Day: January 10 | HistoryNet
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Picture of the Day: January 10

6/12/2006 • Picture of the Day


Spindletop
In 1889, self-taught geologist Pattillo Higgins became interested in Spindletop Hill, just south of Beaumont, Texas. Believing that Spindletop covered a vast pool of oil, Higgins joined two other men in 1892 to form the Gladys City Oil, Gas, and Manufacturing Company–one of the first oil companies in Texas. Higgins, lacking proper drilling equipment, failed in his efforts, and the Gladys City Company leased land to a team led by Austrian mining engineer Captain Anthony Lucas in 1899. They too experienced difficulties, but at 10:30 a.m. on January 10, 1901, the Lucas Gusher, flowing at the rate of 80,000 to 100,000 barrels per day, blew in. By 1902, 285 wells were operating on Spindletop Hill and over 600 oil companies had been chartered, but overproduction ruined the field. By 1903 the boom was over and within 10 years Spindletop Hill was practically a ghost town. Spindletop enjoyed a resurgence in 1926 when technology made possible the recovery of more oil through deeper drilling. This photo was taken in 1943 near the end of Spindletop’s productive life.

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