Texas, they say, is so rich you can pull money right out of the ground. It must be true, because in a West Texas town called Thurber, the Texas Pacific Coal & Oil Company. grew rich digging coal, drilling oil, and making bricks from the clay soil. The Texas Pacific Co., or TP, as it was known at the beginning, was born in 1888 just seventy-five miles west of Fort Worth and took its name from its only customer, Texas Pacific Railroad. Employing mostly immigrant workers in the coal mines, the company prospered, creating a town—eventually called Thurber—and adding a brick works in 1894. For several years Thurber rivaled Fort Worth as the largest population and cultural center of the region. The discovery of the famous Ranger oil field in 1917 by a TP employee began not only a whole new chapter in the development and expansion of the company, but also in the growth of Texas. Through photographs, newspaper articles, company archives, and oral recollections, Woodard gives the reader a glimpse of the life and times of the people and events that shaped the socioeconomic growth of the region. The latter part of the book offers a tantalizing glimpse of the post–World War II development of Fort Worth, including the political maneuverings of the last chairman of the company, H. B. Fuqua. Oil money, cattle barons, politicos—the history of Texas Pacific Coal and Oil is a story not only about a company, but also of the people whose dreams and actions moved a fortune from the dusty ground of the prairie into the new bustling frontier economy that created twentieth-century Texas.
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