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MOONSHINE HILL, TEXAS

Texas Ghost Town
Harris County, Texas Gulf Coast

Off FM 1960
2 Miles E of Humble
20 miles NE of Houston
Population: Unknown

Moonshine Hill, Texas Area Hotels

Humble Hotels | Houston Hotels
Moonshine Hill TX - Mail Box
"Out of place mail box"
Photo courtesy Paul Latour, 2011
By Paul Latour

History in a Pecan Shell

Moonshine Hill began as a result of an oil boom and was located 2 miles east of Humble in northeastern Harris County off of FM 1960. Gas seepage were first noticed in 1887 by James Slaughter, who, in cooperation with S.A. Hart, unsuccessfully drilled for the commodity. The Moonshine Hill Road is supposedly the oldest paved road in Texas. In 1903 the Houstonian Charles F. Barrett took a lease at Moonshine Hill which is now part of Farm Road 1960. In 1904 oil was discovered, and led to the town's growth, and equally, after a total of 3 oil booms and no more prospects, led to its demise.

Interestingly however, at one point, Moonshine Hill's population was bigger than neighboring Humble, culminating at approximately 10,000 people. In its heyday at the beginning of the twentieth century, Moonshine Hill had 6 to 8 saloons, 3 grocery stores, a dance hall, a meat market, a drugstore, a school, and a union church. The drop in population is easily apparent in comparing the 1916 topographic map of the town to the 1995 map.
Moonshine Hill TX - 1916 Topography Map
Moonshine Hill - 1916 Topography Map
Moonshine Hill TX - 1955 Topography Map
Moonshine Hill - 1955 Topography Map
"During World War I elements of the 19th Inf from Fort Sam Houston were stationed at Moonshine Hill. A reminder of WWI exists today in the name of Belleau Woods Drive." This is a reference to the Battle of Belleau Wood in 1918 during World War I, in which a wooded area on the Metz-Paris road, known as the "Bois de Belleau" i.e. Belleau Woods was recaptured by American forces from the Germans.

Sources:
http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/belleau.htm
http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasGulfCoastTowns/Humble-Texas.htm
References: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrmnl


See Moonshine Hill Historical Marker



The Flood of October 1994

More damage was done to the town of Moonshine Hill and other areas surrounding the San Jacinto River in the Flood of October 1994. According to the Houston Chronicle, the larger
Houston area suffered over 15,000 damaged homes, over 3,000 destroyed homes and 22 deaths. This is no surprise, as 29 inches of rain fell over the course of 3 days in Harris County. Many homes along the river were simply washed away, while others were later scrapped due to the amount of water and mold damage.

Sources:
http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-073-94/pdf/FS-94-073.pdf
http://www.wxresearch.com/almanac/houflood.html

Moonshine Hill Today >
Moonshine Hill TX Historical Marker
Moonshine Hill Historical Marker
Location 2735 FM 1960 E
Photo courtesy Paul Latour, 2011

MOONSHINE HILL

Early reports of natural gas seepages in this area were not uncommon in the late 19th century. James Slaughter noticed such natural occurences near the San Jacinto River in 1887. Several years later, with S. A. Hart, he set up a drilling operation in the area, but it proved unsuccessful. Charles Barrett, a former Huston merchant, also drilled wells here, but found the results limited. In 1904, the Higgins Oil Company brought in a major gas well and the following year, the first successful oil well was drilled.

This area, known as the Moonshine Hill section of the great Humble oil field, became the site of a boom town. Within months of the 1905 discovery, the population of the Moonshine Hill settlement increased to 10,000. Early operations associated with the site included the Moonshine Oil Company of Walter Sharp, Ed Prather, and Howard R. Hughes. Although tents comprised most of the early structures, Moonshine Hill eventually included a church, school, postal station, stores, hotels, and saloons.

Despite three separate boom eras, the last occurring in 1929, Moonshine Hill declined as a community. Its brief existence, however, had a dramatic impact on the economic development of Humble and Houston.
Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 - 1986
Moonshine Hill TX -  Moonshine Hill Saloon
Saloon
Photo courtesy Paul Latour, 2011

Moonshine Hill Today

Moonshine Hill today is but a reminder of what was once there. A few homes are strewn about the streets that are still accessible, however many of the homes that are lived in are littered with "No Trespassing" signs and/or security video cameras. A few of the homes appear to have burned down. Though unproven, it is possible that some of the homes are even tenanted by squatters. There are many signs that this area is old: old shacks barely standing, antiquated or out of place fire hydrants, old looking or out of place mail boxes, gravel and dirt roads, and a bit of a feeling of lawlessness. Trash is dumped in places that truly ruin the beauty and mystery of the old town. Also, there are metal scrappers roaming the area like a vulture circling a carcass overhead, and people fishing in areas that were once scenic and serene, but now are filled with trash.

© Paul Latour

July 9, 2011
Moonshine Hill TX -  Old Oil Well
Old Oil Well
Photo courtesy Paul Latour, 2011
Moonshine Hill TX -  Old Fire Hydrant
"Out of place fire hydrant"
Photo courtesy Paul Latour, 2011
Moonshine Hill TX -  Abandoned Building
Abandoned Building
Photo courtesy Paul Latour, 2011
Moonshine Hill TX -  Falling Apart Structure
Falling Apart Structure
Photo courtesy Paul Latour, 2011
Moonshine Hill TX -  Old Barn
Old Barn
Photo courtesy Paul Latour, 2011
Moonshine Hill TX -  Burned Building
Burned Building
Photo courtesy Paul Latour, 2011
Moonshine Hill TX - Trash pile
Photo courtesy Paul Latour, 2011
Moonshine Hill, Texas, Texas Area Destinations:
See Harris County | Humble | Houston
Moonshine Hill, Texas Area Hotels
Humble Hotels | Houston Hotels

Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.




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