Heritage, Volume 12, Number 3, Summer 1994 Page: 20
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additions, the Hotel Scharbauer provided
oil and cattle men with lodging until October
1973, when the structure was demolished
to make way for the Midland Hilton
By February 1928, the Home Building
and Loan Association of Midland was organized
and housed in the Oil Exchange
Building on Main Street. During 1927 to
1928 John Scharbauer built 12 office
buildings while his brother Phil Scharbauer
contracted to build 10 rent houses.
By 1928 Gulf Production Company and
Magnolia Petroleum Company had tank
farms just east of Midland. In June 1929,
there were 54 oil companies with Midland
offices and nine more had moved into the
city by October 1930. The population of
Midland rose from 1,795 in 1920 to 5,484
The third structure in Midland's trinity
that made it an oil center was the magnificent
Petroleum Building, built by
Montana's ex-Senator Thomas S. Hogan
and his son Fred T. Hogan. As an oil man,
it is said, that the Senator probably knew
that the office center of an oil boom goes to
the town with ample modern hotel and
Announcing the construction of a 12story
office building in 1927, the Hogans
guaranteed the transfer of title power from
San Angelo to Midland.
Constructed at a cost of $1 million in
1929, the Petroleum Building, when it was
formally opened on July 3 and 4 of that
year, leased 87 percent of its space to more
than 34 major and independent oil companies
A few months later in October 1929,
things changed dramatically with the stock
market crash of Wall Street. Under orders
from their headquarter offices, oil companies
and independents vacated the Petroleum
Building, many moving out quietly in
the nights that followed. Leased office space
dropped significantly, and with this loss of
lease monies and tax difficulties, the Hogans
surrendered the building to The Mercantile
National Bank of Baltimore, which
held the $600,000 mortgage on the structure.
The bank carried it at a loss until 1936
when economic conditions improved and
the building was sold to a Texas investor,
who in turn leased it to Shell Oil.
Despite these frightening times, Fred T.
Hogan, an oil scout, saw a good future in
Midland and stayed, where he operated
successfully as an oil producer and continued
as a promoter and builder of Midland.
In the early '30s, oil activities moved
from the Permian Basin to East Texas.
Events that would have a most far-reaching
effect on the entire oil industry were taking
place in Rusk County where C.M. "Dad"
Joiner brought in the third well on the
Daisy Bradford farm.
With the cessation of drilling activities
in the Permian Basin in the early '30s,
Midland became the exploration and administration
capital of the Permian Basin
Although oil was not discovered in
Midland County until 1945, two additional
oil booms occurred - one in the early '50s
and another from 1973-83. Midland remains
today the Oil Headquarters City of
the Permian Basin. The visions of those
early leaders remain a guiding force as the
city prepares itself for the next boom.
Betty Orbeck is the director of archives at The
Petroleum Museum in Midland.
20 HERITAGE * SUMMER 1994
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 12, Number 3, Summer 1994, periodical, Summer 1994; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45412/m1/20/: accessed December 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.