This was not the first oil well in America, but it was the first really, really big oil well in America, making viable the nation's manic asphalting (and a burning need for roadside attractions). In its heyday the Lucas Gusher pumped 100,000 gallons a day, and the Spindletop oil field on which it sat built Beaumont into what it is today.
Monuments, Roadside Attractions, Museums - History
The monument was erected in 1941 by the Lucas Gusher Monument Association. It's a 25-foot-tall version of the 570-foot-tall San Jacinto monument in Houston, which had been built five years earlier. "On this spot on the tenth day of the twentieth century a new era in civilization began." The inscription is barely readable, perhaps from years of being exposed to oil field air?
Except for the oil derricks, the Gladys City Boomtown that shares the grounds with the monument looks like the main street of every other weathered Wild West Town attraction.