Spindletop
Overview
 
Spindletop is a salt dome
Salt dome
A salt dome is a type of structural dome formed when a thick bed of evaporite minerals found at depth intrudes vertically into surrounding rock strata, forming a diapir....

 oil field
Oil field
An oil field is a region with an abundance of oil wells extracting petroleum from below ground. Because the oil reservoirs typically extend over a large area, possibly several hundred kilometres across, full exploitation entails multiple wells scattered across the area...

 located in the southern portion of Beaumont
Beaumont, Texas
Beaumont is a city in and county seat of Jefferson County, Texas, United States, within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's population was 118,296 at the 2010 census. With Port Arthur and Orange, it forms the Golden Triangle, a major industrial area on the...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The Spindletop dome was derived from the Louann Salt
Louann Salt
The Louann Salt is a widespread evaporite formation that formed in the Gulf of Mexico during the Callovian in the mid Jurassic. The Louann formed in a rift as the South American and North American Plates separated, from an embayment of the Pacific Ocean...

 evaporite
Evaporite
Evaporite is a name for a water-soluble mineral sediment that result from concentration and crystallization by evaporation from an aqueous solution. There are two types of evaporate deposits, marine which can also be described as ocean deposits, and non-marine which are found in standing bodies of...

 layer of the Jurassic
Jurassic
The Jurassic is a geologic period and system that extends from about Mya to  Mya, that is, from the end of the Triassic to the beginning of the Cretaceous. The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic era, also known as the age of reptiles. The start of the period is marked by...

 geologic period. On January 10, 1901, a well at Spindletop struck oil ("came in"). The new oil field soon produced more than 100000 barrels (15,898.7 m³) of oil per day. Gulf Oil
Gulf Oil
Gulf Oil was a major global oil company from the 1900s to the 1980s. The eighth-largest American manufacturing company in 1941 and the ninth-largest in 1979, Gulf Oil was one of the so-called Seven Sisters oil companies...

 and Texaco
Texaco
Texaco is the name of an American oil retail brand. Its flagship product is its fuel "Texaco with Techron". It also owns the Havoline motor oil brand....

, now part of Chevron Corporation
Chevron Corporation
Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation headquartered in San Ramon, California, United States and active in more than 180 countries. It is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and production; refining,...

, were formed to develop production at Spindletop.

The strike at Spindletop represented a turning point for Texas and the nation.
Encyclopedia
Spindletop is a salt dome
Salt dome
A salt dome is a type of structural dome formed when a thick bed of evaporite minerals found at depth intrudes vertically into surrounding rock strata, forming a diapir....

 oil field
Oil field
An oil field is a region with an abundance of oil wells extracting petroleum from below ground. Because the oil reservoirs typically extend over a large area, possibly several hundred kilometres across, full exploitation entails multiple wells scattered across the area...

 located in the southern portion of Beaumont
Beaumont, Texas
Beaumont is a city in and county seat of Jefferson County, Texas, United States, within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's population was 118,296 at the 2010 census. With Port Arthur and Orange, it forms the Golden Triangle, a major industrial area on the...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The Spindletop dome was derived from the Louann Salt
Louann Salt
The Louann Salt is a widespread evaporite formation that formed in the Gulf of Mexico during the Callovian in the mid Jurassic. The Louann formed in a rift as the South American and North American Plates separated, from an embayment of the Pacific Ocean...

 evaporite
Evaporite
Evaporite is a name for a water-soluble mineral sediment that result from concentration and crystallization by evaporation from an aqueous solution. There are two types of evaporate deposits, marine which can also be described as ocean deposits, and non-marine which are found in standing bodies of...

 layer of the Jurassic
Jurassic
The Jurassic is a geologic period and system that extends from about Mya to  Mya, that is, from the end of the Triassic to the beginning of the Cretaceous. The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic era, also known as the age of reptiles. The start of the period is marked by...

 geologic period. On January 10, 1901, a well at Spindletop struck oil ("came in"). The new oil field soon produced more than 100000 barrels (15,898.7 m³) of oil per day. Gulf Oil
Gulf Oil
Gulf Oil was a major global oil company from the 1900s to the 1980s. The eighth-largest American manufacturing company in 1941 and the ninth-largest in 1979, Gulf Oil was one of the so-called Seven Sisters oil companies...

 and Texaco
Texaco
Texaco is the name of an American oil retail brand. Its flagship product is its fuel "Texaco with Techron". It also owns the Havoline motor oil brand....

, now part of Chevron Corporation
Chevron Corporation
Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation headquartered in San Ramon, California, United States and active in more than 180 countries. It is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and production; refining,...

, were formed to develop production at Spindletop.

The strike at Spindletop represented a turning point for Texas and the nation. 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
Texas Oil Boom
The Texas Oil Boom, sometimes called the Gusher Age, was a period of dramatic change and economic growth in U.S. state of Texas during the early 20th century that began with the discovery of a large petroleum reserve near Beaumont, Texas...

. The United States soon became the leading oil producer in the world.

History

There had long been suspicions that oil might be under "Spindletop Hill." The area was known for its sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

 springs
Spring (hydrosphere)
A spring—also known as a rising or resurgence—is a component of the hydrosphere. Specifically, it is any natural situation where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground...

 and bubbling gas seepages that would ignite if lit. In August 1892, George W. O'Brien, George W. Carroll, Pattillo Higgins
Pattillo Higgins
Pattillo Higgins was a businessman as well as a self-taught geologist. He earned the nickname the "Prophet of Spindletop" for his endeavors in the oil business, which accrued a fortune for many...

 and others formed the Gladys City Oil, Gas, and Manufacturing Company to do exploratory drilling on Spindletop Hill. The company drilled many dry holes and ran into trouble, as investors began to balk at pouring more money into drilling with no oil to show for it.

Pattillo Higgins left the company and teamed with Captain Anthony F. Lucas
Anthony Francis Lucas
Anthony Francis Lucas was a Croatian-born oil explorer. With Pattillo Higgins he organized the drilling of an oil well near Beaumont, Texas that became known as Spindletop...

, the leading expert in the U.S. on salt dome formations. Lucas made a lease agreement in 1899 with the Gladys City Company and a later agreement with Higgins. Lucas drilled to 575 feet (175.3 m) before running out of money. He secured additional funding from John H. Galey and James M. Guffey of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

, but the deal left Lucas with only a small share of the lease and Higgins with nothing.

Lucas continued drilling and on January 10, 1901, at a depth of 1,139 ft (347 m), what is known as the Lucas Gusher or the Lucas Geyser blew oil over 150 feet (45.7 m) in the air at a rate of 100000 oilbbl/d(4,200,000 gallons). It took nine days before the well was brought under control. Spindletop was the largest gusher the world had seen and catapulted Beaumont into an oil-fueled boomtown. Beaumont's population of 10,000 tripled in three months and eventually rose to 50,000. Speculation led land prices to increase rapidly. By the end of 1902, over 500 companies were formed and 285 active wells were in operation.

Among those drilling at Spindletop was W. Scott Heywood
W. Scott Heywood
Walter Scott Heywood, known as W. Scott Heywood , was a member of the Louisiana State Senate who earlier headed a family-owned company which struck the first oil well in Louisiana on September 21, 1901 near Jennings in Jeff Davis Parish.Heywood was born in Cleveland, Ohio. As a young man, he...

, a native of Cleveland
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...

, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

, who later in 1901 made the first oil discovery in nearby Jeff Davis Parish in southwestern Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

. In 1932, Heywood was elected to a single term in the Louisiana State Senate
Louisiana State Legislature
The Louisiana State Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is bicameral body, comprising the lower house, the Louisiana House of Representatives with 105 representatives, and the upper house, the Louisiana Senate with 39 senators...

.

Production at Spindletop began to decline rapidly after 1902, and the wells produced only 10000 oilbbl/d by 1904. On November 14, 1925, the Yount-Lee Oil Company
Yount-Lee Oil Company
The Yount-Lee Oil Company, founded in 1914, was the successor to the Yount-Rothwell Oil Company which had been formed earlier by Miles Franklin Yount and Talbot Frederick Rothwell. Yount headed up the new enterprise and counted among his partners Thomas Peter Lee, William Ellsworth Lee, Emerson...

 brought in its McFaddin No. 2 at a depth of about 2500 feet (762 m), sparking a second boom, which culminated in the field's peak production year of 1927, during which 21000000 barrel were produced. Over the ten years following the McFaddin discovery, over 72000000 barrel of oil were produced, mostly from the newer areas of the field. Spindletop continued as a productive source of oil until about 1936. It was then mined for sulfur from the 1950s to about 1975.

Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum

In 1976 Lamar University
Lamar University
Lamar University, often referred to as Lamar or LU, is a comprehensive coeducational public research university located in Beaumont, Texas, United States. Lamar confers bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees and is classified as a Doctoral Research University by the Carnegie Commission on Higher...

 dedicated the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum to preserve the history of the Spindletop oil gusher era in Beaumont
Beaumont, Texas
Beaumont is a city in and county seat of Jefferson County, Texas, United States, within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's population was 118,296 at the 2010 census. With Port Arthur and Orange, it forms the Golden Triangle, a major industrial area on the...

. The museum features an oil derrick and many reconstructed Gladys City building interiors furnished with authentic artifacts from the Spindletop boomtown period.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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