Chapter 20 – Section 1. The Modern Era Begins. Into the New Century. In 1900 and 1901, two events involving water (Galveston Hurricane) and oil (Spindletop Gusher) had an impact in Southeast Texas . These events marked the start of a new Era – Age of Oil. OIL – TEXAS GOLD!.
The Modern Era Begins
a. Oil was discovered in 1900, only 100 miles from Galveston.
b. Lyne T. Barret drilled the first well in Texas, a few miles from Nacogdoches.
c. To process the crude oil, Joseph S. Cullinan built a refinery at Corsicana – the first one west of the Mississippi River.
d. He pioneered the method of using natural gas to heat homes, provide lighting; also using oil to power and run locomotives.
a. On Jan 10, 1901 – at Spindletop, south of Beaumont, a gusher began shooting out 100,000 barrels of oil per day until it was capped 9 days later.
b. Overnight, Beaumont became transformed, as oil prospectors and drillers flocked to the small city.
c. Oil companies like Texas Company (later TEXACO) began, and within a few months, Beaumont’s population grew from about 9,000 to over 50,000.
a. Early Boomtowns were noisy, dirty, crowded, and sometimes dangerous because some of the escaping gas fumes were deadly when inhaled.
b. A new settlement near the refinery joined with Goose Creek and Pelly to become the prosperous Baytown.
a.Houston became the center of the oil business industry.
b.Petroleum companies needed the banking, insurance, transportation, and legal services Houston could provide.
c.On Sept 7, 1914 – the Houston Ship Channel opened which allowed large ships and barges into the port.
a.The oil boom in southeast Texas created a demand for products needed by oil companies – such as lumber to build the oil derricks and buildings.
b.The derricks—high towers that held the drilling equipment—were made of wood.
c. Lumber operations created thousands of acres of deforested land, which some people believed should be converted into farmland.
d. Others, such as conservationists like W. Goodrich Jones urged replanting of pine trees for trees cut.