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Francis John (Frank) Trost

Frank Trost, the photographer of record on the day the Lucas Gusher erupted in the Spindletop Oil Field, came to Port Arthur in 1895 from Kansas City, Missouri, where he had been involved in real ...

Frank Trost, the photographer of record on the day the Lucas Gusher erupted in the Spindletop Oil Field, came to Port Arthur in 1895 from Kansas City, Missouri, where he had been involved in real estate. He opened a photography studio at this site and turned his hobby into a successful business.

On January 10, 1901, Trost was notified of the events at Spindletop, just south of Beaumont. With his unwieldy camera equipment in tow, he managed to take at least one photograph of the gushing oil before sundown. Photographic methods were still in their infancy, so the image was created with a glass negative Trost manufactured in his studio. The photo appeared in newspapers all over the United States and in some foreign countries. It was in such demand that Trost made as many as 250 prints per day and sold them as quickly as they were printed.

Aside from his significance as a recorder of this momentous moment in Texas history, Frank Frost also served his adopted hometown as a city alderman, city commissioner and fire chief. Trost died at home in 1944 and is buried in a local cemetery. He was survived by his wife, Katherine, and two daughters  who continued his work at the Trost Studio.

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