“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bakersfield in Kern County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Discovery Well

Kern River Field


—California Historical Landmark —

Discovery Well Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, November 28, 2009
1. Discovery Well Marker
Inscription. Oil was discovered at 70 feet in 1899, when Tom Means persuaded Roe Elwood and Frank Wiseman, aided by Jonathan, Bert, Jed, and Ken Elwood, George Wiseman, and John Marlowe, to dig here for oil. On June 1, 1899, 400 feet to the north, Horace and Milton McWhorter drilled this region's first commercial well.
Erected 1940 by Bakersfield Parlor No.43 N.S.G.W., El Tejon Parlor No.239 N.D.G.W., Kern County Historical Society and Kern County Chamber of Commerce. (Marker Number 290.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Native Sons/Daughters of the Golden West marker series.
Location. 35° 25.692′ N, 118° 57.291′ W. Marker is in Bakersfield, California, in Kern County. Marker is on Round Mountain Road 0.8 miles east of China Grade Loop, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5736 - 5798 Round Mountain Road, Bakersfield CA 93308, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Ethel's Old Corral (approx. 0.7 miles away); Gordons Ferry (approx. 0.8 miles away); Kern County Veterans (approx. 3 miles away); Home of Elisha Stevens
Discovery Well Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, November 28, 2009
2. Discovery Well Marker
(approx. 3.6 miles away); Oildale Waits Drilling Company (approx. 3.7 miles away); Oildale, A 100 Years Ago (approx. 4.1 miles away); Jewett Family – Kern County Pioneers (approx. 4.3 miles away); Beale Memorial Clock Tower (approx. 4.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Bakersfield.
More about this marker. Marker is located approximately 100 feet south of the fence along Round Mountain Road. It is visible from the road. Appointment must be made to view the well and marker at its site.
Regarding Discovery Well. After oil was discovered at this site, the well was dug by hand.

This site was designated as California Registered Historical Landmark No.290 on June 27, 1938.
Also see . . .
1. California Oil Industry Comes of Age. A timeline of the history of oil drilling in California. (Submitted on December 8, 2009.) 

2. Donald Laird Website of His Visits to California Historical Landmarks. A 1997 photo of the well is displayed. (Submitted on December 8, 2009.) 

3. A Waymarking Post Displaying a More Recent Photo of the Well.
Discovery Well and Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, November 28, 2009
3. Discovery Well and Marker
The Discovery Well is surrounded by the yellow fence.
(Submitted on December 8, 2009.)
Additional comments.
1. Ten Historic Events That Have Shaped the History of Bakersfield
An article By Jeff Nickell published on reports that one of the 10 Historic Events that have shaped the history of Bakersfield is Kern River Oil Discovery:

The Discovery Well on the banks of the Kern River brought an oil boom to what became the Kern River Oil Field. Within a very short time, more than two-hundred companies were created to try their luck at drilling for oil. As noted oil historian Bill Rintoul wrote in his 1990 publication Drilling Through Time, “the names of the companies reflected everything from high hopes to pride in regional areas…including Prosperity, the Pennsylvanian, the Hawkeye State, the Sovereign, American Eagle, and Uncle Sam just to name a few.”

"The main use of crude oil from the Kern River Field’s was as fuel for locomotives. People were so enamored with the black gold that was flowing and the forest of wooden derricks, that Southern Pacific Railroad began promoting sightseeing trips from San Francisco to visit the Kern River Field. The cost of a round-trip excursion was $10.60."
Sign Posted at Fence Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, November 28, 2009
4. Sign Posted at Fence
Attempted to get additional information by phoning this number, however no one had any knowledge of a tour or the site.
In addition, there was no "adjacent" sign.
Submitted December 8, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.

Categories. Industry & CommerceNatural Resources
Kern River Oil Fields Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, November 28, 2009
5. Kern River Oil Fields
Location of the Discovery Well
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 2,383 times since then and 263 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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