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Texas State Historical Association
Giant Under the Hill: A History of the Spindletop Oil Discovery at Beaumont, Texas, in 1901

Giant Under the Hill: A History of the Spindletop Oil Discovery at Beaumont, Texas, in 1901

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How did a profligate who killed a deputy sheriff before reforming, a mining engineer who went AWOL from the Austrian navy, and three East Texas drillers join forces with other equally colorful characters to drill on Spindletop Hill? The answers are all here—the challenge and frustration of the search, the excitement of the discovery, the euphoric chaos of the boom, and the genesis of the giant companies.

In this scholarly work firmly rooted in the narrative tradition, and using material collected over decades, the authors bring to life the efforts of Pattillo Higgins, Anthony Lucas, Al and Curt Hamill, and Peck Byrd to master the Spindletop salt dome—efforts that culminated in the discovery of the great Lucas Gusher. Their find subsequently transformed not only the state of Texas but the entire oil industry.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780876111826
Publisher: Texas State Historical Association
Publication date: 04/28/2002
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 344
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Southeast Texas native ELLEN WALKER RIENSTRA is a violinist and historical consultant with undergraduate and graduate degrees from Lamar University.

Rienstra’s sister, JUDITH WALKER LINSLEY, also earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Lamar University and is a researcher for the McFaddin-Ward House, a history instructor at Lamar, a newspaper columnist, and editor of The Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record.

The collaborator on this book, JO ANN STILES, is a retired associate professor of history at Lamar University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Preface     xi
Prologue     1
The Early Seekers     5
The Hometown Boy     23
Gladys City     37
The Outsider     53
The Brothers     71
The Well     89
Spindletop     111
Boomtown     133
The Oil Field     153
Foundations     185
Spindletop: A Retrospective     211
Selected Bibliography     235
Notes     245
Index     281

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