As students have learned more about the economy of Texas, they likely have become familiar with the name "Spindletop"the location of the discovery of oil in Texas. Ever since the tapping of that historic well near Beaumont, Texas, the economy of Texas has depended heavily on oil. In this activity students will take a closer look at the people and events surrounding the Spindletop well by exploring daily entries from the Galveston Daily News written during the time of the discovery.
Students will visit a Web site of newspapers entries compiled from the Galveston Daily News that documents the discovery of oil near Beaumont, Texas, the birthplace of the Texas oil industry. They will explore several articles detailing the key players in the oil discovery as well as how the oil discovery changed the town of Beaumont, and will then apply what they have learned to compare Beaumont of the past to Beaumont today.
- Students will be able to analyze the importance of location in the production of an economic good.
- Students will be able to evaluate the changes in Beaumont over time by comparing and contrasting.
Student Web Activity Answers
- The newspaper account describes the people as "childishly happy" and feverishly excited, and the oil geyser was the sole topic of conversation among the residents of the town.
- Captain A.F. Lucas of Washington, D.C.
- Immediately after the discovery, business was disrupted all over town because of the excitement. Other industries were all but forgotten in the wild rush for oil land. The price of land skyrocketed and representatives from all over the country, including the Standard Oil Company, arrived in Beaumont.
- The Beaumont well was located near the coast and therefore its oil could be shipped at much less cost than oil in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or West Virginia which had to be piped to the coast. While it required millions to develop the fields in those states, it would only cost thousands in Beaumont.
- Students' essays may vary but should accurately reflect information gathered from the Web site and/or additional sources.
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