LOCAL Houston | The City Guide September 2016 - Page 62

“WHO WAS...?” GEORGE W. STRAKE GEORGE W. STRAKE Photography courtesy of www.countygenweb.com Photography courtesy of St. Joseph Medical Center By Tim Moloney The GEORGE W. STRAKE Building at St. Joseph Medical Center, Strake Jesuit College Prep, the Boy Scouts’ Camp Strake….just who was this man whose family name can be found throughout the Houston area? Born in 1894 in St. Louis, Missouri, George William Strake was a pioneer oilman and philanthropist. He was educated in the public schools of St. Louis and received a B.S. degree from St. Louis University in 1917. He served in the United States Army Air Corps in World War I, then worked in the oil industry in Mexico from 1919 to 1925. Afterwards, he went to Havana, Cuba, where he lost almost all of the $250,000 he had made in Mexico. In 1927, Strake moved to the Houston area and, as an independent oilman, leased land near Conroe. His 8,500 acres of South Texas Development Company land was the largest block of land leased up to that time for oil exploration. Geologists claimed that no oil was to be found there, however, and Strake could not get outside financial backing; nevertheless, after drilling many dry wells, he struck oil in December 1931. 62 L O C A L | september 16 Other successful wells followed in th