Vol MMXIII, No 215
August 3, 1942
Construction Begins on the Big Inch Pipeline
Born This Date
Bigfoot Wallace born in Virginia
On this date in 1817, William Alexander Anderson "Bigfoot" Wallace was born in Lexington, Virginia.
Bigfoot Wallace was a Texas Ranger, fought in Mexican American War, and several Indian battles. Wallace came to Texas to square accounts with the Mexicans following his brother's death at the Massacre of Gonzales.
Wallace loved to tell stories about the free life of early Texas, oftentimes adding a few twines to the cloth. His story telling style became emulated by generations of tall-tellers to come giving future Texans a reputation for stretching the truth.
The town of Bigfoot south of San Antonio was named for Bigfoot Wallace.
The Big Inch
During World War II, German U-boats patrolling the Gulf of Mexico made shipments of Texas oil to the Northeast by water very risky. To counter this threat, the Department of the Interior authorized the building of two pipelines from Texas to the New York area, 1,400 miles. These pipelines were named The Big Inch (24 inch diameter to New York) and The Little Big Inch (20 inch diameter to New Jersey).
On June 10, 1942, the War Production Board gave it's approval to the Big Inch line, and this date in 1942, construction began on the first section of the Big Inch pipeline. Months later a second line was approved (the Little Big Inch).
By the end of the war, the two pipelines moved over 350 million barrels of crude oil from Texas to the North East, helping to keep vital shipping traffic moving across the Atlantic, and aiding in the Allies victory.
After the war the pipelines were leased to transport natural gas, eventually being sold at auction to Texas Easter Transmission Corporation (TETCO) for $143 million.
Today, TETCO is a major transporter of petroleum products and operates a chain of convenience stores.
Hurricane Celia strikes Corpus Christi
On this date in 1970, the costliest hurricane in Texas history (in terms of dollars, not lives) came ashore between Port Aransas and Corpus Christi. Wind gusts were clocked at up to 180 mph before equipment at the Naval Air Station blew apart.
In the days that followed the hurricane, 11 were found dead, and 466 injured. Damage estimates exceed $450 million.
In 1900, 70 years earlier, a hurricane slammed into Galveston, destroying the city, and killing over 6,000.