There is a restaurant in Houston called Luling City Market; and for a number of years after I first came here, I thought that it was owned or founded by a person of Chinese extraction named Luling. No, it's not. It's named after an establishment of the same name in Luling, Texas, a small town near San Antonio a few miles north of I-10. Apparently, the original Luling City Market is a legend in Central Texas barbecue; and some Houston entrepreneur convinced the owners to sell him the right to open a branch in Houston, which reputedly is barely a shadow of the one in Luling. In any event, after discovering where the Luling City Market really came from, Luling became just another Central Texas barbecue mecca to me.
And then I drove through the town tonight. Anybody who has ever been to the Port Arthur would recognize the aroma in the air: it smells like a plant that processes petroleum and petroleum products. There's just no way, I thought, that Luling was not associated in some way with the oil industry. And so it is. It was originally a cow town that soon turned into a railroad town. In 1922, it became an oil town when Edward B. Davis brought in the first well in the Luling Oil Field. There are apparently still active wells within city limits, and it's a tradition to decorate the pump jacks whimsically, as pictured above. I didn't realize that there was any oil in the area; I learn something new every day.