Oil Began at Spindletop The Lucas Gusher By JAMES L.OVERTON BEAUMONT, Tex. (UPI) From a low mound on the prairie four miles south of town a wildcat test blew over the top of a derrick 75 years ago and with a roar heard around the world the Spindletop oil field was born. t That explosion of black fury at the Lucas Gusher created the nation's greatest oil field, opened the Gulf Coast for oil » development, began the modern petroleum industry and thrust America into the liquid fuel age. The gusher was the first major oil strike in Texas. In Titusville, Pa., 42 years before, Col E.L. Drake drilled a shallow well and began small- scale production. In those days 50 barrels a day was considered good production and the oil was used mostly to make kerosene * for lamps and for lubrication. Spindletop made 800,000 barrels in nine days before it was , even capped. "Spindletop started a real boom," millionaire wildcatter Michael T. Halbouty of Houston said recently. "Why, the potential there for one year (in 1901) was more than the entire world was producing. "Spindletop told the world there was enough oil in the ground to revolutionize industry and the standard of living for people. Spindletop stands as a fountainhead of American progress and prosperity," Halbouty said. Founders of three great oil industry giants - The Texas Company, Gulf Oil Corp. and the Humble Oil and Refining Co. — first entered the oil business at Spindletop. Cities like Houston, Dallas, Corpus Christi and Beaumont became commerce centers in the post Spindletop hysteria. Before Spindletop, Beaumont was a sleepy logging town of 10,000. Almost overnight the population doubled and the reek of liquor and gas fumes went hand-in-hand with instant millionaires who paid $6-a-barrel for water when oil was selling for 3 cents a barrel. Wildcatters, roughnecks, gamblers and others lived in tents, slept in the streets, settled arguments with six shooters and would pay $250 for a night's rest ina real bed. Halbouty said the initial Spindletop boom lasted about three and a half years, then ran on for another seven before petering out. A second boom hit the field in the early 1920s when he was a youngster. "The first job I ever had in my life was at Spindletop," Halbouty said. "I worked there in high school as a water boy. I carried water there from one rig to another and they gave me 50 cents a day." Today, Halbouty, who has a pretty good track record as an oil prophet, owns producing wells on the 250 acres that mark the original site of Spindletop. Since Spindletop, Texas oil men have drilled some 630,000 oil and gas wells, according to the Texas Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association. From these wells, more than 40.5 billion barrels of crude oil and 188 trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been produced. Come See Our Potential investors and visiting journalists often were treated to displays representing the tremendous potentital of the Spindletop field. "Gusher shows " which ended as oil men began to understand the need for conserving underground pressures, excited people, wasted oil and gas, killed mosquitoes, ruined clothes and created fire hazards. ' Spindletop Field More than 125.500,000 barrels of oil came from Spindlelop. For 40 years after its development, Spindletop had expenditures of $750 million a year or more than enough every nine months to build a new Panama Canal — built originally at a cost of $525 million. On Saturday Texas oil men and Gov. Dolph Briscoe commemorate the dream of amateur geologist Patillo Higgins who ran out of money trying to find the oil and the success of the interested Capt. Anthony Lucas, an Austrian mining engineer who proved to skeptical oilmen his theory that oil reservoirs were concentrated around salt domes. They will gather on the campus of Lamar University to dedicate Gladys City, a $340,000 replica of the 1901 boom town in Beaumont when the Lucas Gusher blew in. Officials of the outdoor museum, a product of the Beaumont Bicentennial Commission and the university, will recreate what happened at 10 a.m. on Jan. 10,1901—the exact moment Lucas' second drilling test literally blew up.