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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NEW EMPIRE STATE EXPRESS: 1941

Yellow Rows of Texas: 1943

Yellow Rows of Texas: 1943

Extracted sulfur stacked in a "vat" 60 feet tall at Freeport Sulphur Co. in Hoskins Mound, Texas. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by John Vachon.

 

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Hoskins Mound, Texas

There is little remaining at the site of the Freeport Sulphur Company's sulfur mine at Hoskins Mound. The surrounding Gulf Coast prairie stretches for miles and miles. It is desolate and unpopulated even though it is about 50 miles south of Houston. Its few remaining facilities are inaccessible behind locked gates and threatening "No Trespassing" signs.

This facility used extremely pressurized saltwater steam to melt and extract the sulfur from the earth. This brine, or the extracted sulfur, or both, continues to be a potent herbicide. The facility is surrounded by a waist high blanket of local grasses and vegetation, but its grounds are still bare, baked and lifeless.

A railroad spur once connected this sulfur plant to nearby Freeport. Its crumbling remains are easily seen. I am glad John Vachon photographed the plant during it heyday.

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