HOLIDAY TRAIL OF LIGHTS
Holiday Trail of Lights includes Kilgore,
Marshall and Jefferson
in East Texas and Natchitoches and Shreveport in Louisiana
the 1940s, a drive through Kilgore
was unlike any other excursion into East
More than 1,000 wooden oil derricks -- perhaps the most visible
evidence of the East Texas oil boom
-- lined the town’s streets. During the Christmas season, lights were hung on
many of the derricks. And one plot of ground was known as “the world’s richest
the underground oil pools played out. Kilgore’s
oil derricks began to disappear and Kilgore
soon looked like any other East Texas community.
steel replicas of the old derricks are back, thanks to the work of the Kilgore
Historical Preservation Society. And the Christmas lights are back, too.
view of the "the world's richest acre" |
TE photo 5-02
Christmas, Kilgore lights up
its derricks and produces a sample of what the town looked like some sixty years
ago. The lights are turned on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving and remain
lit until after January 1.|
Stars top the sixty replica derricks, helping
the city maintain its title as the state's official "City of Stars." Kilgore
is also among the stops on the Holiday Trail of Lights, which includes
Marshall and Jefferson
in East Texas and Natchitoches
Oct. 3, 1930, in a Rusk County pasture, 70-year-old "Dad" Joiner brought in the
Daisy Bradford 3 and unknowingly tapped into the world's largest pocket of oil.
The resulting oil boom brought thousands of producers and drillers into
East Texas, turned the quiet little
communities into raucous boom towns and made millions for oil producers.
The boom also brought con men, prostitutes, thieves and other criminals before
Texas Rangers were assigned to clean up the area.
When the Rangers filled
up the jails, they chopped a hole at each end of an old church building, ran a
chain the length of the building, and chained and padlocked prisoners to the chain.
If a prisoner need to use a restroom, a bucket was passed down the chain.
Even though the oil patch isn’t as prosperous as it once was, oil remains
a big part of the economy of Kilgore
and the city remains a popular destination place for tourists who want to learn
how oil in Texas began.
has carefully preserved the legacy of its boom years with the East Texas Oil
Museum near the campus of Kilgore College.
Visitors from more than
120 countries have visited the museum, which is not only the cornerstone of oil
history in East Texas, but one of
the leading destinations for tourists in East
This Christmas, if you remember the old wooden derricks from
East Texas’ past, come to Kilgore
for a hefty dose of nostalgia from the forties.
Hotel Here >
19, 2005 Column
A weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers
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