The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 28
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
people and the get-rich craze that swept the country, many men
of small means came into the field and bought acreage. In
many instances land in as small amounts as one-sixteenth, or
even one thirty-second, of an acre was sold. The result was that
the greater part of the field was soon a forest of derricks. As
quantities of water are required to run a rotary drill, the slush
which spread from these hundreds of wells and which was
stirred up by the men working in it made the place a sight
As the oil field was the important feature of the Sour Lake
scene as a whole, so was Shoestring the center of interest of
the oil field. Shoestring was a long narrow strip of land in the
middle of the oil-bearing district, where development was most
intensified. In many ways it was the pulsing life center of the
oil field. Here the wells were thickest; here the mud was deep-
est; here the gas was strongest; here the boilers roared the
loudest; here the efforts of men had the fullest play. Things of
magnitude went on in other parts of the field, in the Cannon
tract, and in outlying leases, but they were overshadowed by
the activity at Shoestring. This was the place with which men
with pride of action liked to identify themselves. As the elect
viewed it, no one was deemed worthy of being connected with
Sour Lake unless he had undergone his period of seasoning in
Not all the men in the field were in the mud wading around
like turtles; not many of them, to be accurate, were reduced to
that. Most of them were up out of it, or at least trying to stay
out of it. The constant effort to stay clear of the mud added
no little to the interest of the scene. The derrick floors were
high, if not always dry; and other places absolutely essential
to the drilling, like the ground around the boiler and engine,
were by a never-ending effort kept comparatively clear. But
always near by, even on the holdings of the larger companies,
was the waste from the overflowed slush pits, giving the place
the appearance of a freshly drained pond.
The struggle between mud and men was close-locked. There
were no roads, that is high, dry roads in Shoestring. The only
way of getting around in that part of the field was by whatever
means one could devise. A network of large pipes, not unlike
a badly constructed spider web, ran about over the field. They
had been laid without any regard to system, but they were
usually up out of the mud, and these, to some extent, served as
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947, periodical, 1947; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/m1/44/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.