The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 42
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
called "the Hill" or "the Big Hill." The Beaumont Enterprise
of October 30, 1901, says:
The way this name [Spindletop] was switched from its original home
to its present one was remarkable and happened in the twinkling of an
eye. Indeed so quick did it happen that it must have been through the
means of the fertile brain of a newspaper correspondent or reporter that
it came about.
Spindletop was, before the great oil discovery, the name of a mound of
trees to the east of the oil field about a mile and a half and almost on
the river. The trees arose in the form of a mound and towered above all
the other landmarks in the county and could be seen easily from the
prairie where now stands Port Arthur. ... And why was it called Spindle-
top ? Years ago, a lone tree stood out above all the rest and right in the
center of the mound. It ran up in spiral form and the whole, picture was
like that of a top inverted and with the spindle in the center. ... The
old spindle tree is dead now and no trace of it remains but the large
green mound can be seen plainly from any point off to the south.
A suggestion of the supernatural was mentioned. Before the
discovery of oil, the Hill was in a pasture; and cowboys, cross-
ing the prairie at night, claimed to have seen a ball of light
near the spot where the Lucas gusher later was drilled. As
they approached, the light melted away. Sailors have told of
seeing a ball of fire high in the spars of ships at sea, and they
called such a manifestation "St. Elmo fire," from the patron
saint of sailors. Perhaps the light on the Hill was the equiv-
alent of the will-o'-the-wisp of European folk tales.
It was said that Captain Lucas himself had seen the light on
the Hill. He may even have been the last to behold the weird
glow, for no one since the drilling of the gusher has claimed
to have seen it.
Spindletop and its consequences transformed Beaumont from
a town of ten thousand persons to a throbbing city, changed
Port Arthur from a village in a marsh to the world's greatest
refining center, gave much of the impetus that has made Hous-
ton the metropolis of the Southwest and one of the greatest
ports of earth, was the beginning of such major companies as
the Texas, the Gulf, and the Humble, was the training ground
for many of the leaders of the petroleum industry of the nation
for the following forty years, and lifted Texas from a negli-
gible position in oil to foremost rank among the forty-eight
A shaft was unveiled on the site of the Lucas gusher in 1941
as the highlight of the convention of the Texas Mid-Continent
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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/m1/58/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.