Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monahan, Texas

Before I tell you about our trip to Monahan, I want to first mention St Stephen's Episcopal church where we worshiped Sunday. It is the oldest Protestant church west of the Pecos. It is not at its original location, however. There were only about 12 members in attendance Sunday, and they were very welcoming to us.  They invited us to stay for a light lunch after services and attend their Lenten Bible study afterward. The study was one of a series they will be having for the next several weeks on centering prayer. It is a form of contemplative prayer, or meditation, which I have had some interest in. I am very thankful for the time we spent at St. Stephen's church. Today we drove to Monahan to check out the Million Barrel Museum. In 1928 there was an oil boom in west Texas and a need to find a place to accommodate all the crude oil before it was shipped to the refineries. Outside of the town of Monahan they dug a large earthen dish which they cemented over. It could hold 1,084,000 barrels of oil and they used it only once. It was abandoned in 1930 because it leaked and the Great Depression hit. In 1956 it was filled with water for boating or fishing but it was no more successful for holding water than it was for holding oil. It now is a museum, and also used for holding a variety of social events. As you can see in the picture, it now has an amphitheater. The large open area next to the stadium, is the oil tank, it covers a total of 8 acres.
 On the grounds of the museum is the relocated and restored hotel/home of oilman Eugene Holman (1895-1962). We toured that, it has some impressive early 20th century furnishings. There is also a building which contain many coke memorabilia from the Monahan Bottling Company, and an old Texas Pacific Railroad station as well as some vintage train cars. This museum has a lot more to it than an old oil tank! From the museum we drove to Monahans Sandhills State Park. Interestingly enough, while driving around the park, we saw an active oil well. A Texas tour book describes the dunes as having " the classical landscape of the Sahara".  It has the largest oak forest in the nation, the Harvard oak ,which is seldom more than 3 feet high.
West Texas certainly is the oil capital of Texas, we have seen quite a lot of oil wells as we drive around. We spent the rest of our afternoon doing some hiking over the dunes and found the claret cup cactus which is in bloom, it is pictured below. Tomorrow we are moving our rig south to Big Bend National Park. We have been warned that in the park(where we will be staying) there is no service for our phone or computer, also no cable television. Sounds like a good time for me to work on some spiritual meditation!   

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