Barbed Wire
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Bernd das Brot Team
N 29° 25.462 W 098° 29.718
14R E 548955 N 3255109
Quick Description: The first barbed wired corral in Texas
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 1/16/2008 7:20:16 PM
Waymark Code: WM2ZRC
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member QuesterMark
Views: 34

Long Description:

Military Plaza, now the home of San Antonio's City Hall, was the place where John Ware Gates (1855-1911), built a barbed wire corral to promote the production and sale of "The Devil's Rope." His demonstration successfully revolutionized the cattle industry and after that, the Wild West was never the same again.

Barbed Wire was so important to Texas and especially to San Antonio, that there actually is a second Historical Marker (#11742), called "Barbed Wire Demonstration" within city limits.

View this marker in the Texas Historic Sites Atlas

Marker Number: 300

Marker Text:
At first called "Devil's Rope" by cowboys, barbed wire was patented in 1873 but found little favor with Texas cattlemen until the late 1870s, when its use and practicality were shown in a sensational demonstration here in San Antonio. Its showman-sponsor was John Ware Gates (1855-1911), who came here as agent for a pioneer wire manufacturer. With permission from city officials, he built a barbed wire corral on the Military Plaza, then went into various resorts of cattlemen and boasted of its strength and economy. Some of the ranchers made bets that the wire would not hold wild cattle. While the scoffers looked on, some longhorns where turned into the corral and prodded to frenzy by burning torches. They charged the fence furiously, but the wire held. The experiment was such a success that for a long time orders exceeded the supply of barbed wire. In later life known as "bet-a-million" Gates, the agent founded or organized several wire and steel plants. About 1901 he also invested in Spindletop oil field and helped develop the city of Port Arthur, Texas. With its sister utility, the windmill, barbed wire led to upgrading of beef cattle and enhancement of nutrition and the quality of human life. (1971)

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