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Relive Boomtown’s past

Spindletop director Troy Gray shows the Lion Coffee poster in the general store at Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum, Friday. UP photo by Vy Nguyen

Spindletop director Troy Gray shows the Lion Coffee poster in the general store at

Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum, Friday. UP photo by Vy Nguyen

Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum will host the second annual Gladys City Live, Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors will experience what life was like during the boomtown era of the early 1900s.

The event is free, but visitors can make donations in exchange for currency from 1901 to spend at the event.

“I want people to see and experience what life was like back then, and to think about when the oil blew — this city grew very quickly,” director Troy Gray said. “That’s kind of where this event is coming from. It’s showing you a hustling and bustling city.”

Gray said the idea came from his vision of seeing the buildings within the replica city come to life.

“When people come around, they really enjoy the buildings, but there’s nothing really going on in them,” he said. “We’re trying to put people in the buildings to make it appear like an active city.”

Actors and actresses in period costumes will interact with visitors. 

“Many of the actors and actresses are from my regular reenactment group,” Gray said. “I also know a member in the community that’s kind of connected to actors and actresses in the city, so we have a couple others that are coming outside of the reenactment group.”

People can imagine the different types of people who populated the boomtown, Gray said.

“(You will be) sitting in a saloon that was filled with lots of talk by mostly men,” he said. “Of course, it won’t be a smoke-filled saloon like it was back then, but the men will talk about where to drill the next day or about something that happened during the day and stuff like that.”

Gray said people always wondered what the money looked like, and this is the perfect opportunity for them to satisfy their curiosity.

“It’s really taking people back to 1901 prices, and not only using 1901 prices, but also seeing the money that they actually used back then,” he said. “In a city like this, when you have a lot of outsiders that didn’t do a lot of bartering, they probably had a lot of cash.”

Visitors can spend their 1901 money on items being sold in various shops, Gray said.

“In the saloon, they’ll get root beer, in the doctor’s office they’ll get ice cream, and, in the store, they can buy things like coffee, candy, hairpins and bandanas,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.” 

The museum will introduce the Lion Coffee, first made in Toledo, Ohio, in the general store, Gray said.

“The company was bought by the Hawaii Coffee Company, so I took an initiative to approach them and asked if they could send some samples for our event,” he said. “I’m thinking that they’d send some samples, but they sent over 15 regular sized bags. The company is very excited about us using their coffee.”

Gray said the museum had more than 200 people in attendance last year.

“We’ve gotten a lot of comments online, and a lot of people are planning to come,” he said. “I think we’re going to equal or surpass last year’s attendance.”

Participants include families, children and senior citizens, Gray said.

“That was a lot of fun seeing them out, eating ice cream and stuff like that,” he said. “Senior citizens are a lot of fun as well, because they remembered some of the stuff, or they at least have some memories of what life was like back then.”

The replica Spindletop gusher will be set off at noon and again at 2 p.m.

“Spindletop is very important, not only to Beaumont and Texas history, but to American history, as well,” Gray said. “Without Spindletop, you wouldn’t  have the great amount of oil that would’ve run the cars that were being invented at the time.

“This event is important, because Beaumont was put on the map because of what happened here.”

Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown museum is located on 5550 Jimmy Simmons Blvd.

For more information, call 880-1750.

Category: Features