Frank Trost's famous photo of the Spindletop gusher in 1901.
BEAUMONT – After Hurricane Rita shut it down for more than two years, the replica of the oil well that put Beaumont on the map is ready to blow its top once again.
The Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum will reopen its doors to the public with a ribbon-cutting and special grand reopening event Saturday, Jan. 12. Activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. will be open to the public without charge.
One of the featured speakers will be former Beaumont Mayor Evelyn Lord, who spearheaded the Centennial Celebration of the Lucas Gusher with a visit from President George H.W. Bush in 2001. Lamar University President James Simmons and LU Executive Director of Continuing and Distance Education Richard Bothel are also scheduled to speak.
Darrell Jacob, plant manager of Total Petrochemicals in Port Arthur, will give a keynote address. The ribbon-cutting is planned after the program.
At 10:30 a.m., the museum's replica gusher will blow, complete with costumed re-enactors. From 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., the "boomtown" buildings of the museum will be open for visitors to tour. Activities throughout the afternoon will include historical "skits," an old-time piano player in the Log Cabin Saloon, continuous showings of a short film about Spindletop history, and a performance by the Spirit of Southeast Texas Chorus.
At 2 p.m. in the museum's Visitor Center, history professor Joe Pratt of the University of Houston will give a talk on the history of the oil industry, entitled "Texas Oil: From Spindletop to the Last Drop."
After the grand-reopening date, the museum will resume its regular hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum is on U.S. 69 at University Drive on the Lamar University campus in Beaumont. For more information, call (409)835-0823.