Texas Spindletop

On this day in 1901 an enormous geyser of oil exploded from a drilling site at Spindletop Hill, a mound created by an underground salt deposit near the city of Beaumont, in southeast Texas. Reaching a height of more than 150 feet and producing close to 100,000 barrels a day, the “gusher” was more powerful than any previously seen in the world. The drilling operation in Beaumont represented the persistence of self-taught geologist Pattillo Higgins, a one-armed mechanic who believed that a great deal of oil lay underneath the salt dome. His idea had long been ridiculed, and early drilling efforts had failed, but a last-ditch attempt was spectacularly successful. A booming oil industry soon grew up around the oil field at Spindletop, and many of the major oil companies in America – including Gulf Oil, Texaco, and Exxon – can trace their origins to that spot.

Colin Powell said, “Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.” No one personified persistence more than the one-armed mechanic named Pattillo Higgins. Because of persistence, oil became king in Texas.

Persistence. Nothing great is accomplished without it.

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