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Looking back on Cisco's time as a "boom" town

CISCO, Texas (KTAB) - We've talked about the history inherent in your Towns, your Counties, and your State. But have you ever stopped to consider what events might have taken place in your own home?

"No not really. I wished I'd thought and took pictures of it before it changed"

Ella Stedum lives on avenue m and west 4th Street across from Chesley Field in Cisco.

She spends her days tending to the grounds and acting as landlord to the converted aparments her family built from the pre-existing structure. 

But just a few decades earlier the building housed a much more volitive clientele

"Glyceryl Trinitrate, or more simply, nitroglycerin the most powerful known commercial explosive in the world"

Where today the town hosts companies like Frac-Tech that use Hydrofracking to extract oil and natural gas from deep within the earth, in the early 1900s the American Glycerin Company used nitroglycerin to do that same thing. Albiet in a much more violent manor.

In those days fracking consisted of loading nitro into a tube or torpedo as they called them. Setting a time bomb, dropping it in the hole and running for the horizon.

In the 4 or so decades that the company operated they were no stranger to catastrophe.

In 1926 Ed "Chigger" Brown had just graduated from Cisco High and was working for the A-G-C that summer

One June morning he along with 300 quarts of nitro were headed from the headquarters on Bernie Lake in Cisco to Burkburnett. Sadly Brown would not return that evening after one wrong bump set the whole truck off. Leaving nothing more than a lock of hair and a shocking headline.

While fracking methods no longer require large explosions, the danger to our environment is still painfully present.

"Unlike with conventional drilling, you have to pump all this water down in there containing these chemicals for multiple purposes and it's not a short list. And if that water gets contaminated it may be going into our surface water because a lot of aquifers do empty into surface streams and rivers. And then you're contaminating surface water."


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