Gladys City creates remarkable encounters with the Spindletop story.
Originally envisioned by Patillo Higgins, treasurer and general manager of the Gladys City Oil, Gas and Manufacturing Company, which was founded in 1892, the town of Gladys City was to be a perfect industrial city, featuring factories, schools, churches, homes, parks and businesses. When the Lucas Gusher blew in on January 10, 1901, there was no more time to be perfect. Quickly, the Gladys City Company began leasing land to businessmen (and some women) who built quick, clapboard buildings to sell goods and services to oilfield workers and their families.
By the early 1970s, nothing much remained of the original Gladys City. In 1975, the re-created Gladys City Boomtown was built on lands once owned by the Gladys City Oil, Gas & Manufacturing Company as a Bicentennial project and in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Lucas Gusher. Once completed, the new Gladys City was given to the State of Texas and is governed by Lamar University. Through a self-guided tour, visitors to Gladys City experience 15 replica buildings filled with objects from the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries that depict life during the first Spindletop oil boom. From a saloon and post office to a general store and livery stable, visitors get a glimpse of what it might have been like to work and live in the historic Spindletop oilfield.