Joints

September 17, 2020

 

 

Okeedokee; there were several  "joints"  along main street in Desdemona in North Central Texas in  1917; The Gusher looks to be the best spot. That's my kinda joint because a feller could walk right off the rig floor after his hitch and straight into the bar  for an ice cold Pearl. No saddling a damn horse, no hitching a ride in the supply store's truck leaving location...no dicking around. If you aimed to get drunk that night you were soon at it going wide open. 

 

If you needed some supper between cold beers you walked next door and bought a half pound of roughneck ribeye (baloney), a hardboiled egg and and some soda crackers. If you got twisted off  you could sleep out behind the joint, then be at work on time the next morning,  with your work clothes still  on. This is what you call urban drilling at its best; everything a hand needs is within walkin' distance. 

 

Including the houscow. If  you got thrown in jail in this boom town it wasn't much of a jail and you are likely to be packed in there like cord wood with some real  bad asses. Desdemona was also called "Hog Town" because in the brief 4 years of the boom there were outlaws, whores, swindlers, crooks, and other misfits under every rock; so bad it was at the height of the oil boom the Texas Rangers had to send six people up there to police the place. That term, "one riot, one Ranger"...that did not apply to Desdemona. 

 

On the left is the Duke No. 1 in 1915, the discovery well of Desdemona Field. This was the  3rd discovery in Eastland County, beginning in 1912; the great Ranger and Cisco oil booms of Eastland County were enormous and lasted many years. 

 

Desdemona, however, did not. It was shallower and there were so many wells crammed into such a small area  under rule of capture principles the boom did not last more than four  years. When it was over, it was over. In 1919 the field peaked at 7.6 MM barrels of oil for the year. 

 

I like to sometimes drive this way to Dallas, Fort Worth, thru Desdemona; there is hardly anything there anymore. Mobil had a yard just south of the town until just about 20 years ago, complete with one of those cool Pegasus signs out front. I am sure it's gone now. Ranger and Cisco still have a gazillion shallow stripper wells around it. There isn't much to see in  Hog Town.  

 

Main Street downtown Desdemona, 1918, was known for getting a little messy after a rain.  Here's a photo of bunch of outlaws (probably) stuck up to the axles  and waiting on mules to get them out. 

 

I am going to do a tribute to mules someday. I am convinced beyond any doubt whatsoever that America would not be what it is today if it weren't for mules. 

 

Sadly much of the Eastland County oil booms of the 1912-1922 era  were subject to a great deal of health risks including cholera and other stuff, mostly from poor, temporary  living conditions. Its believed as many as 5,000 people died in North Central Texas during the boom era from the Spanish Flu, likely brought over to America from Europe after World War I. 

 

 

 

 

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