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Updated by SharpCJ8 on Feb 19, 2017
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Spindletop Digital History Project

Bankers' Magazine 1927 Article on Spindletop and it's Impact

Provides an insight from 26 years after the oil discovery as to it's immediate impact.

Letter to the editor of Scientific American written in 1901

Provides a first hand account from a citizen of Beaumont, probably a worker correcting the editors of Scientific American on the some misinformation they printed about the events of Spindletop


The Lucas Oil Gusher at Spindletop 1901

The Lucas Oil Gusher at Spindletop 1901

A world famous photograph showing the Lucas Gusher when it struck oil in 1901.

Taken from American Petroleum Institute website. The site credits the American Petroleum Institute; however, a Texas roadside historical marker credits John Trost (June 24, 1868 - August 4, 1944)

Dallas Morning News Article from 1901 on the Widening Oil Circle of Beaumont

Provides a first hand account showing that the discovery of more oil wells and widening oil circle at the Spindletop site.

The Original Dallas Morning News Article on the Lucas Oil Discovery

This was the original article printed in the Dallas Morning News on the initial find at the Lucas Oil Geyser at Spindletop printed the day after the find.

© 2015
The University of Texas at Arlington.
University of Texas Arlington Libraries
702 Planetarium Place • Arlington, TX 76019


SPINDLETOP OILFIELD. The Spindletop oilfield, discovered on a salt dome formation south of Beaumont in eastern Jefferson County on January 10, 1901, marked the birth of the modern petroleum industry. The Gladys City Oil, Gas, and Manufacturing Company, formed in August 1892 by George W. O'Brien, George W. Carroll, Pattillo Higgins, Emma E. John, and J. F. Lanier, was the first company to drill on Spindletop Hill. Three shallow attempts, beginning in 1893 and using cable-tool drilling equipment were unsuccessful; Lanier and Higgins had left the company by 1895. Anthony F. Lucas, the leading United States expert on salt dome formations, made a lease with the Gladys City Company in 1899. Higgins and Lucas made a separate agreement a month later. With Lucas in charge of the drilling operation, another attempt was made on the John Allen Veatch survey on Gladys City Company lands. Lucas was able to drill to a depth of 575 feet before running out of money. He was also having great difficulty with the tricky sands of the salt dome. Despite the negative reports from contemporary geologists, Lucas remained convinced that oil was in the salt domes of the Gulf Coast. He finally secured the assistance of John H. Galeyqv and James M. Guffey of Pittsburg. Much of the Guffey and Galey support was financed in turn by the Mellon interest; their terms excluded Higgins and left Lucas with only a small share of the potential profits. Nonetheless, Lucas pressed ahead in his effort to vindicate his theories. Galey and Guffey played a crucial role by bringing in Al and Curt Hamill, an experienced drilling team from Corsicana. Lucas spudded in a well on October 27, 1900, on McFaddin-Wiess and Kyle land that adjoined the Gladys City Company lands. A new heavier and more efficient rotary type bit was used. From October to January 1901, Lucas and the Hamills struggled to overcome the difficult oil sands, which had stymied previous drilling efforts. On January 10 mud began bubbling from the hole. The startled roughnecks fled as six tons of four-inch drilling pipe came shooting up out of the ground. After several minutes of quiet, mud, then gas, then oil spurted out. The Lucas geyser, found at a depth of 1,139 feet, blew a stream of oil over 100 feet high until it was capped nine days later and flowed an estimated 100,000 barrels a day. Lucas and the Hamills finally controlled the geyser on January 19, when a huge pool of oil surrounded it, and throngs of oilmen, speculators, and onlookers had transformed the city of Beaumont. A new age was born. The world had never seen such a gusher before. By September 1901 there were at least six successful wells on Gladys City Company lands. Wild speculation drove land prices around Spindletop to incredible heights. One man who had been trying to sell his tract there for $150 for three years sold his land for $20,000; the buyer promptly sold to another investor within fifteen minutes for $50,000. One well, representing an initial investment of under $10,000, was sold for $1,250,000. Beaumont's population rose from 10,000 to 50,000. Legal entanglements and multimillion-dollar deals became almost commonplace. An estimated $235 million had been invested in oil that year in Texas; while some had made fortunes, others lost everything.

Spindletop launches Modern Petroleum Industry - American Oil & Gas Historical Society

The 1901 "Lucas Gusher” in Texas reveals the Spindletop oilfield, which will produce more oil in one day than the rest of the world’s oilfields combined.

Spindletop - the birth of the modern oil industry

The modern oil industry was born on a hill in southeastern
Texas. This hill was formed by a giant underground dome of salt as it
moved slowly towards the surface. As it crept, it pushed the earth that
was in its path higher and higher. This dome was known by several names,
but the one that stuck was "Spindletop". Through the later half of the
19th century, Pennsylvania had been the most oil-productive state in the
country. All that changed on January 10th, 1901.