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Pierce Junction Oilfield And Town Community


Otto Mation

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  • 1 year later...
  • 3 years later...

Reading up on the subject and I'm very intrigued.  Tell me more about Pierce Junction.

Texas State Historical Association says a small city called Myrtle Texas, originally known as Myrtle Turf became the Pierce Junction oilfield.

https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvmbh

MYRTLE, TEXAS. Myrtle, originally known as Myrtle Turf, was two miles south of Houston in what became the Pierce Junction oilfield in southern Harris County. A Myrtle Turf post office operated from 1839 to 1843. The community reported a population of 153 in 1940, when it was on the International and Great Northern line. By the 1980s only scattered dwellings remained at the town site.

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PIERCE JUNCTION, TEXAS. Pierce Junction was at the intersection of the Southern Pacific and Missouri Pacific railroads seven miles south of central Houston, but within the Houston city limits, in southern Harris County. The community was named in 1859 for its location at the intersection of what was then the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado and the Houston Tap railroads. Pierce Junction had a post office from 1876 to 1878. Ed Taylor found gas in his water well, and drilling that followed resulted in the discovery of oil in 1906. A much more extensive strike was made in 1921, and the Pierce Junction oilfield yielded 88,740,836 barrels through 1984. In 1939 the community had forty inhabitants and two businesses. By the 1960s Pierce Junction lay entirely within the city limits of Houston.

https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/htp12

Pierce Junction Oil Field in 1927 - Where the Astrodome and Reliant Stadium Sit Today

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https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2014/04/06/the-weekly-oil-gas-follies-29/#429de0753211

Solarized Effect of the Pierce Junction Oil Field, Houston, TX

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https://oilmanmagazine.com/article/solarized-effect-pierce-junction-oil-field-houston-tx/

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You won't see much action there. There are not many producing wells left in the field, and they are over by the golf course. The best place to see oil wells in the Houston area is off of 45 between Dixie Farm Road and El Dorado, which is the Webster Unit, operated by Denbury Resources. It was called the Friendswood Field at one time, and owned by ExxonMobil until a few years ago. You can see the well heads out in the open fields on either side of the freeway, but especially on the West side. I can't think of anything else reasonably close.

 

Here's an area with some wells Andrews, TX and here's another one in California, the Midway Sunset field, and further North of that, the South Belridge field. Back in Texas, here's a wide view of the heart of the Eagleford. Each of the spots is a well pad with 1 or more wells on it.

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Railroad commission- SSCI Environmental

https://www.sscienvironmental.com/tag/railroad-commission/

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The RRC map shows circular configuration at wells located at the Pierce Junction Salt Dome near State Highway 288 (SH 288) in south Houston (Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC), RRC Public GIS Viewer). The concentric rings of wells that radiate from the salt dome are shown extending towards SH 288 and Beltway 8 (Sam Houston Parkway), just north of Pearland.  

 

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Shown here is an aerial image of the Pierce Junction Salt Dome depicting the oil and gas activities in this area of south Houston in 1953 (Google Earth, 1953, Aerial Image).

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1 hour ago, hindesky said:

Workers on break at the Pierce Junction oil field, where NRG Stadium now stands, 1928. Sloane Gallery.

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I first thought that was a cable tool rig, but after more review, it's a rotary rig, one of the early ones. Somewhere, I've got a picture of my paternal grandfather working on a rig like that near Corsicana in the mid-1920's. They built the derrick for each new well, unlike today, where the derrick is part of the rig. Notice the 4 spade type bits at the lower left of the picture. Also notice the awesome protective fedoras the men are wearing to reduce the impact of falling items(that's humor, folks). The guy on the far left must be the company man or a manager, he's wearing a tie and isn't as dirty as the rest of them.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Tower 134 - Houston (Pierce Junction)

http://txrrhistory.com/towers/134/134.htm

The first railroad in Texas was constructed by the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado (BBB&C) Railroad from Harrisburg on Buffalo Bayou west to Stafford in 1853. In those days, Harrisburg's rival was Houston located on Buffalo Bayou a few miles further upstream, and the concerned citizens of Houston sought a railroad to connect their town with the BBB&C.

The Columbia Tap served the sugar plantations south of Houston, one of which was owned by Thomas W. Peirce (who used the uncommon "ei" spelling) at Arcola.

In 1859, a small community was founded at the junction of the two railroads and was named Peirce Junction.

The contractor that had built it, William Sledge, acquired the railroad in a judgment, and in 1870, Peirce became part of small investor group that purchased the railroad from Sledge under a new charter, the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio (GH&SA) Railway. Peirce soon bought out the other investors, and the line was commonly known as the "Peirce Line".

For the GH&SA, the departure point from the main line was officially known as "Stella", but it was located near "Pierce" Junction, a revised spelling from the way Thomas Peirce spelled his name. [It appears that this spelling change was forced by the Post Office when the town of "Pierce Junction" (spelled "ie") was granted a post office in 1876. Although the town of Pierce Junction didn't last long - the post office was closed in 1878 - the Pierce Junction name with the revised spelling stuck.] In 1918, the GH&SA opened a new route into Houston (via West Junction and Tower 13) and abandoned the line from Stella to Chaney Junction (Almeda Road appears to be constructed on the former GH&SA right-of-way). It is not known whether there was ever a manned railroad tower to control Peirce Junction in the early days. Railroad Commission records state that Tower 134 with a 10-function cabin interlocker was commissioned at Pierce Junction on March 27, 1929. A cabin interlocker would indicate that at least one of the lines was seldom used, and this was the case for the Columbia Tap rail line by the late 1920s. As railroads developed more favorable routes into town, the Columbia Tap was abandoned some distance north of Peirce Junction.

The former GH&SA line is still intact and sees regular Union Pacific traffic through Pierce Junction. A major oil field that was discovered beneath the rail junction in 1906 (in what, ironically, is known as a "shallow PIERCEment salt dome", so-called because heat and pressure have forced the dome to rise enough that it "pierces" overlying sediments.) The Pierce Junction Oil Field has produced more than 90 million barrels of oil, some of which undoubtedly must have moved by tank car through the interlocker at Pierce Junction.

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On 6/8/2020 at 2:27 AM, hbcu said:

 

Kennedy Heights is nowhere close to Pierce Junction. There were no wells in the Kennedy Heights area, according to the Railroad Commission maps. There were demolished storage pits that allegedly caused issues.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A Trip to the Oil Fields, 1921

https://ricehistorycorner.com/2015/10/27/a-trip-to-the-oil-fields-1921/

They also visited the Pierce Junction field, which was quite a bit closer to Rice, roughly where the Astrodome was later built. You could actually see it from campus if you got up on top of a building.  It was also a big find and it was brand new in 1921:

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  • 8 months later...

I'm confused.  Several of the pictures mention the oil field was exactly where NRG stadium exists today.  But the actual salt dome and production wells that I have seen are all a fair bit south, more or less where Reed Road intersects Almeda Road.  That's not really close to NRG stadium.  Anyone?

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42 minutes ago, cdenker said:

I'm confused.  Several of the pictures mention the oil field was exactly where NRG stadium exists today.  But the actual salt dome and production wells that I have seen are all a fair bit south, more or less where Reed Road intersects Almeda Road.  That's not really close to NRG stadium.  Anyone?

There may have been a few wells over towards the NRG site, but the actual oil filed is further South. Scroll up to Highrise Tower's post that has a Railroad Commission map of wells, plus an aerial phot.

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  • The title was changed to Pierce Junction Oilfield And Communities
  • 2 months later...

What were the roads and freeways like back when Pierce Junction was booming? I would like to take a look back at the life style back then.  I know a few key roads were Almeda and Holmes.  Were there any other big roads around back then? What about Airport Blvd? I believe West Bellfort/Willowbend/Buffalo Speedway wasn't even constructed yet. 

I did hear about a fatal car wreck near Pierce Junction, on the San Antonio Highway.  Where exactly was that? Modern day Highway 288?

What about schools and other landmarks? I believe the city "Myrtle, Texas" was a long Almeda road.  I bet they had schools.  

Lastly, just how vast was the Pierce Junction Oil Field? Was it thousands of acres spanning all the way to Missouri City and Stafford, TX? Or was it more localized to the Astrodome area (Almeda/Holmes/Etc.)

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  • 1 month later...

Thread title: State of Buffalo Speedway & Holmes Road.

What's the next phase of this valuable land? UT's land is worth $200 million and TMC's (failed) land is also worth $200 million.

3 proposals have failed.

- Europa At Houstonian Lakes; the 500-Acre Residential Mixed-Use Development.
- University of Texas' Data Research Center.
- Texas Medical Center's TMC BioPort.

As I've said previously: It would be an easy transaction between the University of Texas and the Texas Medical Center to trade/sell the land. Both corporations are looking to develop the land. Just sell it to one another, at cost!

I read once on HAIF, and I hope it's true, that the land is too expensive to build single family homes, town homes, or multifamily apartments. The 800-acres is suited for corporate campuses. Like an Exxon headquarters.  * I really wish these parcels would be sold for life science use .

Reference:

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On 10/17/2022 at 1:23 PM, Highrise Tower said:

What were the roads and freeways like back when Pierce Junction was booming? I would like to take a look back at the life style back then.  I know a few key roads were Almeda and Holmes.  Were there any other big roads around back then? What about Airport Blvd? I believe West Bellfort/Willowbend/Buffalo Speedway wasn't even constructed yet. 

I did hear about a fatal car wreck near Pierce Junction, on the San Antonio Highway.  Where exactly was that? Modern day Highway 288?

By our standards no freeways in 1920s Houston.  Not sure when Wayside Drive was completed but that was neither a road to another part of Texas, nor a regular multimodal city street, so it may have been viewed as the equivalent of a strange traffic bypass — even though development including single family homes still occurred along it in convenient areas.

My guess is that San Antonio Highway was our Old Spanish Trail, and got there via two-lane asphalt at most.  Remember that the first mile of concrete pavement in the world, in Detroit, was completed in the 1910s.

Edited by strickn
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A little fact checking amends Detroit's claim a little bit but they were still the first network of more than just a couple miles of modernish concrete and they reached 60+ miles of it during the early years of that decade.

Their famed first milelong stretch of Woodward Avenue between Six Mile and Seven Mile was done in 1909.

But I haven't sought any similar archives about where were the very early driveable parkways in Texas.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/27/2023 at 10:34 PM, strickn said:

By our standards no freeways in 1920s Houston.  Not sure when Wayside Drive was completed

You might also look up how Holmes Road-Griggs Road connected to Ship Channel area suburbs, parkways and ferry crossings, back before even the Washburn and Baytown Tunnels were opened 70 years ago.

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8 hours ago, strickn said:

You might also look up how Holmes Road-Griggs Road connected to Ship Channel area suburbs, parkways and ferry crossings, back before even the Washburn and Baytown Tunnels were opened 70 years ago.

Prior to the Baytown Tunnel being opened, drivers would take a causeway from the extension of Lee Drive through the Goose Creek oil field to Hog Island, then take a ferry to Morgan's Point. The pilings for the causeway were still in place in this 1978 aerial. I've seen a website where someone explored Hog Island and found some remnants of the ferry landing and such. I'll see if I can find it again. Here's some stories from the Baytown newspaper https://ourbaytown.com/hogisland.htm

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  • 6 months later...

The thing that made me even think about this was I heard a jet pass over my condo last night ( I live under the long final for runway 13 at Hobby). It sounded very weird so I looked it up on Flightradar24 and saw it was a private jet. But I then saw this Cessna plane flying a very weird flight pattern a little west of there, it was at 2400'. Made me wonder what the hell it could be doing, thought maybe it was looking for pollution emanating from Pierce Junction, salt dome and lots of pipelines here. The plane came from Wayne Hooks airport and when finished it went back there.

https://www.flightradar24.com/29.74,-95.39/7

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  • The title was changed to Pierce Junction Oilfield And Town Community

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