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SOUR LAKE, TEXAS

"Gateway to the Big Thicket"

Hardin County, East Texas
Highways 105 and 326
15 miles SW of Hardin
18 miles NW of Beaumont

18 miles S of Kountze

Population: 1,813(2010) 1,667 (2000)

Sour Lake Area Hotels > Beaumont Hotels | Kountze Hotels

Sour Lake is known as the home of Texaco. Formed in 1903, the Texas Company was one of the three major oil companies that can trace their birth to the oil fields around SE Texas.
TEXACO logo

A Texaco gas station globe sits atop a derrick downtown
TE Photo, 9-04

History in a Pecan Shell

The oldest surviving town in Hardin County, Sour Lake was settled around 1835. First known as Sour Lake Springs after the medicinal waters, the healing properties were long known to the Indians long before the arrival of white settlers. By 1850 Sour Lake had become a full-fledged health resort. After a visit in the early 1860s, the town got a testimonial from none other than Sam Houston himself. Like many medicinal springs, the water was bottled and sold.

The population in 1885 was 150 which declined to only 50 by 1896. When oil was discovered in 1902, Sour Lake became one of the earliest Texas boom-towns with a population that was estimated as high as 10,000. It was reported that fifty-two saloons were in operation during the first year of the boom. By 1903 half of the wells were coming up dry due to over drilling.

In 1914 two railroads serviced the 2,800 residents of Sour Lake. As late as 1948, Sour Lake was still producing 3,500 barrels of crude oil daily.

Sour Lake's population was 3,032 in 1925 which declined to around 1,500 in 1942. It peaked in 1976 with 2,500 residents.

In recent years Sour Lake has been celebrating its history by restoring downtown buildings, displaying artifacts from boom days and having a professional muralist paint murals with historic themes.

Sour Lake Landmarks/Attractions/Photos:

Sour Lake Tx - Depot City Hall

Sour Lake Depot / City Hall
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2011
More Texas Depots

Sour Lake Texas Mural
One of Sour Laker's historic murals by S. Stowell
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2011
Sour Lake mural showing  Texaco gas station
Above mural as it appeared in 2004
TE Photo
Sour Lake Texas Mural
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2011
Sour Lake Texas Mural - oil and derrick
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2011
Sour Lake Texas - Birth Place of Texaco Mural
"Birth Place of TEXACO 1903-2003"
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2011
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2011
Sour Lake Texas Mural - Shoestring Row
"Shoestring Row"
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2011
Sour Lake Texas Mural - Sam Houston

Sam Houston
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2011
More Texas Murals

Sour Lake Texas Cage Jail

The Former Sour Lake Jail

TE Photo, 9-04
Sour Lake Texas Jail House with Cage Jail enclosed
The cage jail is now enclosed in the Jail House. It opens at 8AM.
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2011
Sour Lake Texas Jail House  interior
The Sour Lake Jail House through the mesh screening on the window.
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2011
More Texas Jails
Sour Lake Texas downtown
Downtown Sour Lake
TE Photo, 9-04
Sour Lake Tx Building
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2011
Sour Lake Tx - Ann & Barclay Streets

Ann & Barclay Street
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2011
More Texas Signs

Related Article

  • From Bugs Bunny to Sam Houston By Clay Coppedge
    If you're the type of motorist who doesn't mind stopping every few miles to read a brief tidbit of history by the side of the road you can put together a pretty fair sketchbook of Texas history just from the historical markers scattered all over the state.

    For instance, you can follow Sam Houston from where he first splashed across the Red River into Texas to a number of places where he lived, fought, slept or speechified. Want to know where he went in the 1860s to bathe his lingering wounds from the Battle of San Jacinto? There's a marker for that, at Sour Lake in Hardin County...
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