In October 19-30, oil was discovered in rusk county in what became known as the east Texas oil field. Thousands of families descended on east Texas to find jobs.
"People just poured in the county from everywhere because we were in the midst of the Great Depression."
With the sudden influx of people, the housing shortage was critical.
"The Gaston Museum allows you to step back in time by going into a tent
house that oil field families used to live in."
This tent house has the original furniture, wood floors and canvas roof.
"These people had to do makeshift,they did the best they could, they
might have five children, but those five children all slept in the same
bed in one room sometimes."
By 1932, Joinerville had 70 businesses in operation. The town even had a
radio repair shop.
"It was really important Mr. Burgess kept his business up and running so
they were never without communication to the outside world."
Ten churches of all denominations were built.
Trophy cases are filled with memorabilia from the Gaston schools which by
1936 had over 1800 students making it the world's largest rural school
and one of the wealthiest.
"The school went from a one room school house to having a major school
The academic level that went out of this school, doctors, lawyers,
architects, it was amazing what the money did for this community."
Museum director Stephanie Osteen's family attended Gaston school and
worked in the oil fields.
"The sense of family that you don't get, our history, my history, is
right here in this building."
A rich history she hopes to preserve.
"How lucky we are that they drilled that became an industry to give all
of us the opportunities we have in this area."
For CBS 19, I'm J.B. Smith and that's my story.