Birth of Oil Industry in Texas

Did you ever see the movie There Will Be Blood starring Daniel Day Lewis?

It's about a man who hears about oil seeping from the ground and goes to the town where that's happening.

He becomes an oil baron, but he also becomes morally bankrupt. (Same old story, right?)

I watched it a couple of weeks ago, and I remember in American History class a very long time ago about the first oil well. I looked it up to see if I remembered correctly.

A lot of people think that first well was in Texas, but it wasn't. The first successful oil well was drilled at a site called Oil Creek near Titusville, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania? Pretty far from Texas, isn't it? That well produced on August 28, 1859.

Texas Oil

Seven years later on September 12, 1866, Lyne Barret drilled at Oil Springs and struck oil. Barret and his Melrose Petroleum Oil Company struck oil at a depth of only 106 feet.

That well went on to produce 10 barrels a day, but Barret's company shut down due to lack of financial backing.

The truth is oil had been seeping from the ground in that part of Nacogdoches County for centuries. Native Americans used it for medicinal purposes. In the 18th century, Spanish and Anglo settlers used it to grease the axles on wagons and as a salve for livestock.

The Gusher

Most people think of gushers where the crude came shooting up the rig and out the top in an immense explosion of oil. That's because of Spindletop and the Lucas Gusher on January 10, 1901.

Spindletop, a salt dome oil field near Beaumont in southeastern Texas, was a major gusher that started the Texas Oil Boom. Famous photographs of the event embedded the image of what a gusher was in everyone's consciousness.

Takeaway Truth

Spindletop is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

No comments:

Post a Comment