A Day
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Day at Beaumont

(Galveston Daily News, January 21, 1901)

Beaumont, Texas, Jan. 20---Greatest Yet in The Number of Visitors Who Passed Guards in Their Eagerness---Went to Show---A Guard Says He Believes They Would Have Opened Valves Had They Found Them---The Galveston Excursion---Literally Cleaned up The Restaurants and Hotels And Then Made A Rush For Oil.

According to the number of visitors in Beaumont today, this has been the greatest excursion day in the history of the oil era so far. The Galveston excursion was a hummer so far, but particularly in numbers, and it was a complete surprise to the people of Beaumont. When it was known that the Lucas geyser had been stopped, everyone supposed that the Galveston excursion would be called off in the first place, but even those who thought it would come did not dream that it would bring the crowd that it did. The train consisted of thirteen coaches jammed to the very bottom step with people. It is estimated that there were no less than 500 excursionists on the train. They reached here about 1:00 o'clock, and by 2:00 o'clock were taken out to Gladys City to see the Lucas well. Of course there was nothing to it save the black and oily derick, which was used to drill the famous well. But the crowd were not daunted; they went to the outside fence which surrounds the well and hesitated here but a minute before they rushed over the guards, tore down the fence, and rushed to the inner fence, which encloses the well. Here the guards did their best to keep them back, but without success. They went through this fence and swarmed about the well, over the levees which held the lake of oil, and some even wanted to turn loose the spouter again by opening the valve. And this was prevented by the owners having covered the valves and pipe with a huge pile of sand to prevent fire. Thus the valves, which held the great monster, were hidden from sight, and one of the guards says that he believes that had the valves been in sight, the well would have turned on again. The excursion returned to Beaumont about 5:30 and left at 6:00 o'clock for Galveston, the crowd hilariously happy, and men clinging to the steps like monkeys.

In addition to the Galveston excursion, there were throngs of people from the neighboring towns of Orange and Lake Charles and all over East Texas, and the hotels and eating houses were fairly gutted today. When the Galveston crowd reached here about noon, they were anxious for something to eat, and they swarmed the hotels and restaurants in crowds and literally cleaned them out.

Altogether, it was a most exciting day. The weather was fine, and the Beaumont people were on the streets in thousands. All manner of carriages, buggies, and fashionable traps and automobiles were whizzing through the throngs, and the hum and noise of talk made the air so full of noises one could scarcely hear distinctly. It was certainly as unlike a Sunday as any day possibly could be and more resembled a great circus day or some big festival.

Even the best day during the last carnival does not compare with it. And strangest of all, the Galveston people seemed not the least disappointed not to see the gusher in its splendor. They appeared to be perfectly satisfied to see where the wonderful thing had been and to get small bottles of oil for souvenirs.

The crowds about the hotel today talked business as much as they would have been talking it during the week. Men stood about in little knots and studied maps, talked, gesticulated, and studied the maps again. Fortunately, there were a number of maps of Jefferson County which were made a number of years ago by Patillo Higgins, and which have never been of much use except to real estate men and interested parties, and were freely distributed to anyone who wanted them. Now, however, these maps have become very useful and are being sold on the streets by small newsboys at 50 cents apiece. These boys seem to be selling everything they can get their hands on. Pictures of the well, small bottles of oil, maps of the county and city, and everything that pertains to lands or oil finds a ready market. It was reported on the streets this afternoon that Mr. (John D.) Rockefeller, president of Standard Oil Company, was en route to Beaumont to see the great well, but the News correspondent made diligent inquiries of the various agents of the company here and could not confirm the rumor. To the contrary, the representative of the Standard scouted the idea as absurd, saying that Rockefeller was never known to visit an oil field for any purpose.

The largest crowd is jammed in the lobby of the Crosby House tonight, where headquarters have been established for everything. To see the crowd for the first time, one would ask what they are doing, but after a while, would know that they were not doing anything, but standing around and talking. and everybody is there simply because everybody else is, and no one wants the other man to get ahead of him. What the coming week will bring forth is beyond the ken of man. No one is assured that the future of the oil business will be any nearer to solution one week from now than it is now.

Perhaps by next Sunday, pipe line companies will be in the field, and the product of the Lucas well may by that time be en route to deep water ports of Sabine and Port Arthur.

The News correspondent has received a letter from Captain J. G. Reeve of Sabine Pass, stating that the item in the News recently that a fine hotel at Sabine, which is vacant, was to be used for Beaumont visitors who are crowded out of Beaumont, was unjust to Sabine. The captain says the hotel is not vacant, but is being run by him and is in first class shape. The News did not designate any certain hotel at Sabine. (Compiled by W. T. Block)

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