We spent the day with a leisurely breakfast, fresh air and sunshine before taking a ride with Texas Mac and Texas Flower, first via Nederland and Tex Ritter Park, then to Cowboy Harley Davidson and on to Gladys City.
Spindletop – the first place oil was discovered in Texas. So named for the small bursts of escaping gas that rose, ghost like from the ground and appeared like spinning tops.
The actual gusher was called the Lucas Gusher which is actually situated across the highway from the reproduction on the Lamar University grounds. The reproduction gushes water during re-enactments and other celebrations.
Here on the University grounds sits the small replica town of Gladys City, representing businesses from the 1901 boomtown. The man behind the plans for this “industrial utopia”, Pattillo Higgins, never actually saw his dream realised. As the news of the oil strike spread, buildings seemed to spring up over night in a haphazard fashion for the workers and their families, in a seemingly unorganised vision of what Higgins intended.
The original town had no saloon, for he and especially his wife, were involved in the temperance movement. Stella Higgins wanted no part of any drinking, gambling or prostitution within town limits. Of course saloons did exist further on the outskirts of town where I'm sure many an oil man may have squandered some or much money on these pleasures.
Mac and Flower are involved with re-enactments of this part of history in their town. Whilst the reproduction Gladys City does have a saloon, it is often changed into a tea room during these shows where high tea, fan etiquette, and discussion about the temperance movement can be participated in.
When Spindletop (Lucas gusher) first gushed in 1901, it did so for 9 days before being capped. During that time an estimated 800,000 barrels oil were lost.
The buildings depicted within the city are – Walkenshaw Steelworks, Barber Shop, R.C. Grinnell's Log Cabin Saloon, Guffey Texas Post Office, A.L. Gibson's Dry Goods Store, General Store & Living Quarters, Beaumont Oil Exchange, Edgerton's Photography Studio, T.A. Lamb & Son Printers, Gladys City Drug Store, Gladys City Oil Gas & Manufacturing Co., Nelson & White Engineers, Southern Carriage Works, Broussard's Livery Stable and the Lucas Gusher Monument.
There are many artefacts within each of the buildings and is worth a quick little visit and walk through history.
After a quick bite at Depot Hamburgers it was back to the house for the men to take a nap and a quick spot of sewing.
This evening we went to Port Neches Wheelhouse Restaurant. A popular waterfront restaurant and tiki type bar huts that seemed to be well patronised for a Tuesday night.
The barges, tugs and later a ship came through the river access. When the ships come in the bell at the bar is rung and there are half price 'ship shots'! A blue concoction of vodka, gin, rum and something but surprisingly was pretty good!
So the views were great! The food spectacular!
Jack and I thank you Mac and Flower for an interesting and exceptional evening. Actually, a fabulous day!