New exhibit opens at Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum

In the newest building of the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum, community members along with Lamar University President Jaime Taylor and Beaumont mayor Robin Mouton gathered to see the newest exhibit, Cawley’s: From Machining to Automation, on June 11.

According to museum director Troy Gray, the new exhibit features four model steam engines, as well as a model robot from Sage Automation, located on Fannett Road in Beaumont. It also features a video presentation on how steam engines were used on the oil fields and how Don and Cliff Cawley took their experience on the oil fields, made these steam engines and eventually made the company that is now Sage Automation today.Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum

“The new exhibit will allow visitors to trace yesterday’s technology of steam engines to today’s robots,” Gray said. “It will show how one man and his son’s fascination with mechanical engineering led them from the oil fields to automation.”

Following the ribbon cutting, the museum director added that there has been nothing but positive feedback from more than 85 visitors that joined the ribbon-cutting celebration, despite a head index of more than 100.

“I have led tours in there of both senior citizens and children and they find the machines fascinating,” Gray said.

In addition to the new exhibit, the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum will be hosting a slew of upcoming events such as a food truck night, slated for July 30 and Aug. 27.

“It is a relaxing time to eat, see the museum, possibly some entertainment and, of course, the gusher,” Gray said. “We will have tables out and we just want families to enjoy themselves.”

Among other upcoming events is the Beaumont Amateur Radio Club Field Day on June 25 at Gladys City. Beginning at noon, visitors will be able to learn more about this hobby and how to get started.

“This is an annual and national event for the radio clubs around the U.S. and they are also competing for prizes,” Gray said, adding that the museum also hosts its food drive next month called Gushers in July. This is an opportunity for the community to donate food and support the Southeast Texas Food Bank every Wednesday in July at noon. “We will blow the gusher and kids can cool down under the water if they would like.”

The new exhibit and events come on the heels of extensive renovations to the museum. According to Gray, new sidings were put on the buildings, new heating and cooling systems were installed inside and a roof was put over the gusher motor area.

“Some of the buildings had extensive termite damage and so the new sidings were very important,” he said. “Also, the building where the new exhibit is had to be totally replaced.”

Renovations began in late February and wrapped up in May, Gray added.

These renovations were made possible by several grants totaling $387,000 from various foundations, including the Mamie McFaddin Ward Heritage Foundation, as well as grants from the Summerlee Foundation, the Foundation for Southeast Texas, YMBL, the H.E. & Kate Dishman Charitable Foundation Trust and City of Beaumont HOT grant.

Despite the many renovations, Gray said there is still work to be done. Individuals can help the museum by becoming a member or if you would like to select an item from its wish list, call the museum at 409-880-1750.

The Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday-Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays. For more information and to stay up-to-date with the latest events, visit the museum’s Facebook page or