On January 10, 1901, the Spindletop well in Beaumont, Texas blew into history and started the modern oil industry in Texas. Spewing out into the East Texas sky at a rate of 200 feet high and 70,000 barrels per day, this huge gusher keep going till the 19th of January when it was finally brought under control.
This 1902 photograph of the Spindletop field is part of the Sam Houston State University Archives, J. L. Clark Collection. Dr. Joseph L. Clark was a History Professor at Sam Houston State Teachers College. Dr. Clark acquired a copy of this photograph from the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce to possibly use in his 1955, 4 volume book set, “The History of the Texas Gulf Coast; its History and Development.” This photograph never made it into his book.
In his book, Dr. Clark says that the most important product of Spindletop was men. The Spindletop Oil Field was the training ground for the oil industry at the time. From drillers to geologists to financers, most learned their trade from their experiences at Spindletop.
You can read more about Spindletop (in chapter 30 of volume II) and Texas related history in Clark’s multi-volume title. The main collection of the Newton Gresham Library has a set you can check out at call number F392.G9, vol.1-4.
This week in the lighter side of 100 years of BearKat football we have a BearKat who really enjoyed the game. The cover of the SHSU Media Guide of 1989 shows All-American Bearkat, “Sackmaster,” Andre Finley, looking ready for another great season of BearKat football.
The defensive end from Houston, played 1986-1989, was a senior majoring in criminal justice and the 1989 BearKat team captain. He was also a member of the 1986 Gulf Star Conference championship team.
In the 1988 season he earned first team All-American and All-Southland Conference. He had 59 total tackles, dropped enemy quarterbacks 15 times which was a new SHSU season record and the list goes on……
In 2003 he was inducted into the Sam Houston State University Athletic Hall of Honor.
To learn more or see other BearKat football media guides or game programs come visit the University Archives in Room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library.
The USO (United Service Organizations) Clubs in WWII were a major component of keeping morale up for those in the military, along with their dependents. From java hour, to wives craft club, to a class called Ball and Chain for military couples, to basketball at Paris Jr. College there was something to keep everyone occupied.
This 1944 USO Club program bulletin is from Paris, Texas. The bulletin is part of the Melvin Mason Collection. Dr. Melvin Mason taught English here at Sam Houston State from 1962-1991. In he was drafted into the Army from Roxton, Texas and sent to Chicago for training. WWII ended before he was sent overseas.
The Texas State University System Board of Regents approved at the February 19 & 20, 2015, board meeting the naming of the Health Services and Counseling Center after the late William R. Powell. The new building will be named the William R. Powell Student Health Services and Counseling Center.
William Powell was the first African-American Administrator of Sam Houston State when he was hired in 1972. Dean Powell was instrumental in the development of the Student Judicial System and the original University Counseling Center. He also helped start the Theta Mu Chapter on the SHSU campus.
He retired from Sam Houston State in 1987. After his retirement from SHSU he went back to work at Jarvis Christian College as Vice President of Student Affairs until he retired yet again in 1993. William Powell died on March 12, 2013 and is buried in Brooke Cemetery, Walker County, Texas.
The Huntsville Item article above is from June of 1993 and it about Williams R. Powell and his wife, Doris, and how important education was to not only him but his entire family.
To learn more about William R. Powell come visit the SHSU University Archives.
The Huntsville Item article is courtesy of The Huntsville Item.
The Miss Sam Houston pageant has been crowning lovely ladies for over 50 years. This photograph from The Alcalde shows the Miss Sam Houston court from 50 years ago in 1965. Janet Melaun of Dallas, who was a music education major, was chosen from 19 candidates. The theme for the pageant was “007” from the James Bond movies which were very popular at the time.
Come visit the University Archives to learn about Miss Sam Houston pageant history and other SHSU beauty contests over the years. The University Archives is in room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library.
This WWI poster comes from the collection of John Warren Smith. Smith’s uncle Boyce O. Smith was a solider in WWI and served in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany and took part in the St. Michael Offensive and Meuse-Argonne Offensive as part of the 5th regiment. He received this citation for his service. After being discharged, he returned to Huntsville and worked as a teacher until his death in 1933.
The poster reads :
Citation in the Order of the Army
5th Regiment of the Marines, American (Under the orders of Colonel Logan Feland)
“This regiment took a glorious part in the operations engaged in by the 4th (French) Army in Champagne, in October 1918. On October 3, 1918, it participated in the attack on the strongly intrenched German positions between Blanc Mont and the Medeah Farm, and pushing forward as far as St. Etienne-a-Arnes, made an advance of 6 kilometers. It took several thousand prisoners, captured cannon, machine guns and important war material. This attack combined with that of the French Divisions resulted in the evacuation of both banks of the Suippe, and of the Massif(high ground) of Notre-Dame-des-champs.”
Order No. 14.712 “D”-March 21, 1919
At General Headquarters
Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the East
View more of the John Warren Smith Papers, 1836-2009 : here
View Finding Aid for the John Warren Smith Papers, 1836-2009 : here
The BearKat Baseball team’s first game on February 13th at 6:30 will open their 10th season of playing at the Don Sanders Stadium. Come out and help celebrate this complex’s 10th year of operation.
Head over to the SHSU Athletics Department, Don Sanders Stadium 10th Season webpage for information on the history of the stadium and it’s namesake.
To see this complete 2006 Baseball & Softball Commemorative Program or other materials about SHSU BearKat Baseball come visit the University Archives, room 400, in the Newton Gresham Library.