Black Gold of Beaumont

January 06, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

After moving on from our adventure in Goliad County, we went in search of Black Gold, Texas Tea...Oil that is.  First though, we decided to take a side trip down to the lost city of Indianola.

Indanola, TX - StreetIndanola, TX - StreetOnce one of the most important settlements on the Texas Coast, Indianola suffered severe Hurricanes and tropical storms before becoming a ghost town in the late 1800's. Now only a few call the settlement home. Once one of the most important Texas ports along the Gulf of Mexico, the settlement was established in 1846 as Indian Point. Stage coach service began in 1848 as it became firmly established as a deep-water port. Soon, it was the chief port through which European and American immigrants flowed into western Texas.

Indanola, TX - OceanIndanola, TX - Ocean

Indianola Texas in the 1800's As Indian Point began to grow and merge with the nearby settlement of Karlshaven, the two towns became one and changed its name to Indianola in February, 1849. With its rapid growth, the town soon expanded three miles down the beach to Powderhorn Bayou when Indianola was chosen as the terminus to Charles Morgan’s New York-based steamship line.

In 1852 Indianola was made the Calhoun County seat, and at its peak had around 2,000 residents, but in 1875 it was practically wiped off the coast in a Hurricane. Another storm in 1886 would be the death knell of the city and the county seat was moved.

Today there is a chunk of granite from the original courthouse along the coastline

Calhoun County Courthouse GraniteOne of the few remaining remnants of the original Indianola is this chunk of granite put here as a monument from the original Calhoun County Courthouse. . It's inscription reads: 

Calhoun County Courthouse
Edward Beaumont Architect 1859
During the Storms of 1875 and 1886
precious lives were saved within its walls
of shell, concrete and lime.
Abandoned 1886

You can read more about Indianola HERE.

After a windy time in Indianola, we pushed our way to Galveston Island for a quick pass through on our way to find Oil.

Galveston, TX - Pleasure PierGalveston, TX - Pleasure PierAmusement on the Pier on Galveston Island Galveston, TX - Pleasure Pier - 3Galveston, TX - Pleasure Pier - 3 Sorry folks, no time to stop and explore in Galveston Island, but you can check out our little Galveston Photo Collection HERE.

Our primary destination for this portion of our journey was Beaumont, a city built by fortunes in Oil. Unfortunately, our timing for staying here on New Years weekend wasn't ideal as Mother Nature provided her own "gusher" and washed out many of our plans. However that didn't stop us from paying a visit to some pretty cool museums, including the Texas Energy Museum in downtown Beaumont. 

Beaumont, TX - Energy MuseumBeaumont, TX - Energy Museum The Texas Energy Museum opened in 1990 in the downtown district, and explores the history, various equipment used, and companies associated with the Texas Oil Boom of the early 1900's.

Beaumont, TX - Energy Museum - Western Co. Miss 101Beaumont, TX - Energy Museum - Western Co. Miss 101"Miss 101", the symbol of the Western Company, serviced areas of Texas from 1939 to 1948. Exhibits and videos walk you through the timeline of Texas Oil, and explain how the various products are gathered from the area's many Oil Refineries.

Beaumont, TX - Energy Museum - NeonSignBeaumont, TX - Energy Museum - NeonSign

Captain Anthony F. Lucas You'll really enjoy the animated exhibits with talking characters, including Patillo Higgins and Captain Anthony F. Lucas, and their roles in the nation's first big oil gusher at Spindletop, the Lucas Gusher. The characters tell the tale of how Higgins was mocked for insisting large amounts of Oil were just waiting to be found here, and how Lucas prevailed in finding it.

The Lucas Gusher began the boom for Beaumont, which grew from around 8,500 residents to 30,000 in just three months. 

The boom would also leave a lasting impact on the U.S., bringing in the nation's industrial age and spawning some of the most successful oil companies.

Beaumont, TX - Energy Museum - Texaco TruckBeaumont, TX - Energy Museum - Texaco Truck

You can read more about the Texas Energy Museum HERE

Once the rain stopped, we ventured on to Gladys City Boomtown Museum

Beaumont, TX - Boomtown MuseumBeaumont, TX - Gladys City Boomtown Museum A continuation of our education on the Lucas Gusher at Spindletop, this is a replica of what the old town of Gladys City might have been. The museum complex was built in in 1976 through the combined efforts of the Lucas Gusher Monument Association, the Heritage Committee, the Southeast Texas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and Lamar University. 

Beaumont, TX - Boomtown Museum BoardwalkBeaumont, TX - Boomtown Museum Boardwalk It's a fascinating look at the beginnings of the Texas Oil Boom in 1901 and how Gladys City and Beaumont were ground zero for building America into a true Super Power.

Read the incredible tale of fortune of Gladys City and the Spindletop Gusher HERE

We missed a lot in Beaumont due to the holiday weekend and pouring rain, but there is plenty to see and do here. From historic homes to wonderful family entertainment, learn about the attractions that make this historic city a must see in South Texas. Visit the Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau's Things To Do. They were most excellent hosts and welcomed us Texas Style. 

Here's a peek at more of Beaumont including the museums we visited

On our way to Beaumont, we stayed at a really nice RV Park in Bay City, Texas. 60 North RV Park is a great stop for RV'ers passing through or spending time in the area and we would put this one above all others in Bay City.  We gave them 4.5 out of 5 stars on RV Park Reviews.

In Beaumont we stayed at Gulf Coast RV Resort, another excellent choice for spending time exploring the rich history around the city.  They even served up a continental breakfast, had private showers and a fitness room (not that we used it LOL). We gave them 4.5 out of 5 stars on RV Park Reviews, however I would note that this place practically turned into a marshland after about 2 inches of rain. Thankful for concrete pads! 


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