In a small town called Gladys City just south of Beaumont, the first year of the new 20th century hadn’t delivered much promise. The Texas coastline suffered a devastating hurricane, taking the lives of thousands and destroying businesses and homes up and down the Texas Gulf coast. But on January 10th, 1901, everything changed, not only for the citizens recovering from the natural disaster but for Texans across the state. An exploratory oil well located on nearby Spindletop Hill blew, sending six tons of four-inch drilling pipe into the air, followed by an oil geyser reaching over a hundred feet in height. Spindletop may have signaled the beginning of the oil boom for Texas but it spelled the end of Gladys City as citizens once knew it. Seven decades later, nothing remained of the original Gladys City, a heritage dilemma resolved by the creation of The Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum. Fifteen of the community’s original buildings have been replicated and filled with objects from the late 19th and early 20th centuries depicting life during the initial Spindletop days. Saloon, post office, general store, and livery stable join an archive of artifacts and memorabilia representing the wildcatting heyday of Gladys City and serves as a tribute to the gusher that permanently changed the state of Texas.
The Lucas Gusher/Spindletop Oil Field was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966.