Weatherwise, we have a slight risk for some strong thunderstorms on Thursday. It should mainly be east and south but could affect part of the viewing area if it materializes. This is by no means a slam dunk but we will monitor it. I’ll have more later with an updated map. Sunday may be interesting regarding rain possibly turning to snow. It depends on the track of a southern storm. We’ll keep tabs on that as well as we get closer to the event.
On This Date In History: One man prospered on another man’s given up dream. In Southeast Texas, near the present city of Beaumont, there was a large rise in the otherwise flat landscape. It was known to the locals as Big Hill. It was known for its natural gas that seeped from it. People would have fun striking matches and igniting small, brief infernos. When it rained the puddles would bubble. In 1888, Captain George Washington O’Brien bought up much of the land surrounding and including the hill because he thought there was oil there.
Beaumont resident Patillo Higgins went to Pennsylvania to study the oil business there and became convinced that there was oil under the hill, then designated as Spindletop Hill. Higgins was looking for ways to fuel his brick factory and knew that in Pennsylvania that brickmakers used oil. George Washington Carroll believed in Higgins and the two formed a partnership. Higgins and Carroll bought the remaining land around Spindletop and eventually partnered up with O’Brien and JF Lanier to form the Gladys City Oil Company and had dreams of Gladys City becoming a booming industrial town.
To make a long story short, Gladys Oil didn’t find oil and they gave up, signing a lease-sell agreement with Anthony F. Lucas. After two years of failure, on this date in 1901, Spindletop blew. After spewing all of the drillpipe and mud skyward, a 6 inch wide stream of oil flowed 200 feet in the air. There had never been a gusher like that before and it took them 9 days to cap it. The 800,000 barrels of oil formed a lake of oil…I don’t remember how many acres wide it was or how many feet deep. And remember, a barrel of oil is 30 some-odd gallons. Beaumont tripled its population in 3 months and the modern oil business took off. Exxon, Texaco, Chevron and Mobil all have their roots in Spindletop. On that date America’s annual oil output was 64 million barrels a day. By 1909, because of Spindletop, it was near 200 million per day.
O’Brien, Carrol, Higgins and the rest gave up on their dream. Don’t you make the same mistake.
Oh..by the way….note that Lucas is not listed among George Bush’s “Oil Buddies.”