Sunday, February 24, 2008

Even Neiman Marcus...

I feel basically the same as most people who saw the exhibit – it was interesting to learn a little more about the history of Texas and its oil connection.

My boyfriend informed me that all children in Texas take a year of Texas history. Strangely, he learned virtually nothing about oil and Texas. It has been long time since he took the class and he can’t remember much detail, but I learned much more about Texas’ oil history at the exhibit than he ever while in school. Maybe someone with a better memory can fill me in on what children do learn during their year of Texas History?

Three things that struck me during the exhibit: The ingenuity and strength of the people who settled this country (and the particular type of people who chose to move west of the Mississippi River), that there was a clothing display in the oil exhibit and that Texas was the largest wind user in the US back in 1900. I’m sure virtually everyone knows what I mean when I comment on the type of people who founded this country. I am particularly amazed by the way they were willing to confront head-on the unknown.

The clothing display featured clothing once sold at Neiman Marcus and bought by the women with new oil money. It looks like even Neiman Marcus has some oil in its history.
According to the exhibit wind was used to pump much needed water to Texans for drinking and crops. The Rail Roads found them to be useful when they wanted to lay track across the US and needed to provide food and water for their workers. I have to wonder what the early entrepreneurs would have done with wind had oil not been discovered.


rk2 said...

Regarding Texas history, the bulk of the course is dedicated to the independence from Mexico, Texas as a nation, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston, Alamo, entering the Union, and some Civil War, etc. There's also a good chunk describing life and the living conditions during colonziation, and possibly a mention of Native Americans, I believe. It's been a while, but I don't think there was more than a chapter or so talking about oil, if at all.

Bonnie Beavers said...

As a Texan all my life, I can honestly say I don't remember much of anything regarding the history of oil in Texas as a part of the required Texas History course.

I found the Neiman Marcus information to be really interesting as well. Just think, if the oil boom hadn't occurred in Texas, would this fine department stort have sustained its business for all these years, considering that it originated in Dallas, TX.

Also, I was amazed by the images of the land completely covered with oil rigs. Growing up outside of Houston in a rural area, the sight of oil rigs was always present in car rides into town. My babysitter had an oil rig on her property and I always had this childhood dream that I would "strike" oil one day digging in the ground with a stick! Ha Ha! I see about 20+ active wells as I head out of my town towards Austin. I always thought that was a lot, but when I saw the images of rig after rig piled up right by each other I realized what an impact drilling had on the boomtowns. It changed the land drastically! I was just blown away that there were that many rigs in such a small area.

Overall, I enjoyed the exhibit and found it interesting to learn more about how oil impacted my home state in the 1900s.