Barbecue Central and much more: Luling, TX

Entering Luling from Interstate 10, you’ll notice the world’s largest watermelon rising up 154 feet from a melon patch. Never mind that this impressive specimen is made of steel and comprises the tank portion of the town’s water tower. The horizontal green and white stripes combine with the shape of the 56-foot-diameter storage tank, to create a great watermelon effect.

‘Cow Jumping Over Moon’ is located in a field on Pierce Street. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Located on the banks of the San Marcos River, about 45 miles south of Austin, Luling has all the elements of the perfect Texan small town—historic buildings, great barbecue, quirky history, viable downtown, lively harvest festival, a noon whistle, vintage stop signs, and eclectic shopping.

However, there’s more. The center of this rural town lies along railroad tracks where oil field workers first pitched their tents—and freight trains continue to rattle on through.

This is Texas as it used to be!

Old oil pump jacks around town are decorated with quirky plywood paintings of animals and a variety of characters—a cow jumping over the moon, a shark, see saw kids, and a yokel devouring a large slice of watermelon. Many of the wells are still active, sucking up black gold under people’s lawns, in local parks, and near businesses and train tracks.

The 1885 Walker Bros. Building, in the heart of downtown, houses the Central Texas Oil Patch Museum, which pays tribute to the area’s oil industry and chronicles the boom years in Luling. One of the first buildings constructed in Luling, the former mercantile played a central role in the town’s social fabric. The spacious, two-story structure has been restored and now showcases early oil-field machinery and memorabilia, displays of photographs that date back to 1910, and a scale replica of an old wooden oil derrick. The Oil Tank Theater presents a 20-minute film about Luling’s colorful history and current attractions.

The center of Luling lies along railroad tracks where oil field workers first pitched their tents—and freight trains continue to rattle on through. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 1922, Edgar B. Davis brought in Rafael Rios #1, which proved to be one of the most significant oil fields ever discovered in Texas. Perhaps his greatest legacy was the discovery of the Edwards Lime. It set off vigorous exploration to find the lucrative shallow production. Almost overnight, Luling was transformed from a railroad town of 500 to an oil boom town of 5,000. By 1924, the field was producing 11 million barrels of oil per year.

Over 180 producing wells have now been drilled within the city limits alone! Three major oil fields surround the town.

The Walker Bros. Building also houses also houses the Luling Area Chamber of Commerce where you can pick up a map and brochures about the Pump-Jack tour, historic sites, and other attractions.

Texas Spoken Friendly

The Central Texas Oil Patch Museum pays tribute to the area’s oil industry. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To be continued tomorrow…

See you on down the road and happy RVing!

Worth Pondering…
Words of wisdom from an Oklahoma Cowboy
Will Rogers was quite the cowboy, with all the wisdom of simple, honest folk. His words still ring with common sense today…
Will Rogers, who died in a 1935 plane crash with his best friend, Wylie Post, was probably the greatest political sage the country ever has known.
Enjoy the following:
1. Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.
2. Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.
3. There are two theories to arguing with a woman…neither works.
4. Never miss a good chance to shut up.
5. Always drink upstream from the herd.
6. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

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