In 1872, Texas & Pacific Railroad located its Gladewater depot on the Marshall-Tyler Road between Point Pleasant and Red Rock. Railroad officials told St. Clair residents there would be only one mail stop-and that would be at Gladewater.
“Black Gold” brought quick change to quiet timber and agricultural community when the first oil gusher blew in 1931. The antique oil rig downtown was the first pumping unit on Gladewater’s discovery well.
Overnight the town boomed from 500 to 10,000 people who had lost their jobs to the Great Depression came seeking work. From Old St. Clair into Gladewater, tent cities went up everywhere.
By 1938, Gladewater was the hub of production and refining and the East Texas field soon accounted for more than 10 percent of the world’s oil. Gladewater was then called the western gateway to the Great East Texas Oil Field, the largest in the world, with 25,000 wells.
After narrowly surviving the oil bust of the mid-80’s and in an effort to diversify the tax base of the City of Gladewater, the mayor formed a task force to investigate the alternatives for Gladewater. In January of 1995 at the request of that task force, the City Council called an election to obtain voters approval for a ½ cent sales tax to be utilized for economic development under Section 4A of Article 5190.6 of the Development Corporation Act of 1979. The voters overwhelmingly approved the enforcement of the sales tax and thus the formation of the Gladewater Economic Development Corporation, also known as GEDCO.