The Biggest Barbecue in HIstory
We all know that Texans are the most hospitable folks on earth. That hospitality becomes ingrained even in folks who come from elsewhere and settle here. So it should be no surprise that, having just concluded the biggest business deal in Texas history up to that time ---- the sale of his oilfield to Magnolia Petroleum for 12 million dollars ----- Edgar B. Davis threw a humdinger of a BBQ picnic in Luling, Texas. The BBQ was held on June 11, 1926, drew 30,000 people, and cost Mr. Davis 5 million dollars ----- about 65 million dollars in today's money. Can you imagine what a party that must have been? But it wasn't just the picnic that Mr. Davis gave. To his employees he gave from 25 to 100 percent of their total salaries as bonuses. He also gave the citizens of Luling a golf course, an athletic clubhouse for local blacks, various other facilities, and endowments for each. One of the various other facilities was a bathhouse just south of Luling on the San Marcos river. The bathhouse still stands at the site of the picnic, though it has fallen into graffiti-covered disrepair. But, in the tragic way that many of these Texas stories turn, the Great Depression shattered Davis' finances; by 1935 his oil development company was declared insolvent. He worked for twelve years paying off most of his indebtedness, always insisting that more oil could be found. Davis died in Galveston on October 14, 1951, and was buried in Luling at the site of one of his former homes. He never married. He belonged to no church but attended each church in Luling regularly. In 1966 the Edgar B. Davis Memorial Hospital was built on the site of his home in Luling. His gravesite is on the hospital grounds.
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.