Gladys City in Beaumont re-creates the boomtown and gusher at Spindletop
Gladys City thrived as long as the oil from Spindletop flowed and until the oil companies moved to neighboring Beaumont. The re-creation of the historic clapboard boomtown gives a fair representation of life in 1901.
There were earlier oil booms in Texas, but on Jan. 10, 1901, a well at Spindletop changed the game forever with its abundant and cheap oil. The Lucas well blew a stream of oil 100 feet high from an oil field that continues producing black gold. The supply center of Gladys City was half a mile from Spindletop, and their names are forever linked.
Named for a girl the town's founder met in Sunday school, the town was originally envisioned as an industrial center powered by local gas deposits. Gladys City may have been the epicenter of the boom, but it was crushed in the stampede.
Opened in 1976 near the original site, the museum re-creates the boomtown based on old photographs. Visitors gaze back to 1901 through the doorways of 13 buildings including a working print shop, a saloon that doubles as a banquet hall, and a photo studio housing a collection of early Kodak cameras.
Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown is at 5550 Jimmy Simmons Blvd., off U.S. 69 on the south side of Beaumont. Lamar University manages the site and the interpretive displays. Call 409/880-1750 or go to www.spindletop.org to find when the next re-creation of the Lucas gusher will shoot water high over on the museum grounds.
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