Neodesha in Wilson County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Opening of the Mid-Continent Oil Field
Kansas has long been oil country. There are legends that Indians held council around the lights of burning springs. Emigrants, it is known, skimmed "rock tar" from such oil seeps to grease the axles of their wagons.
A mile southeast is the site of one of the most famous oil wells in the United States, Norman No. 1, first commercially successful well of the Mid-Continent field. It was drilled in 1892 by W. M. Mills of Pennsylvania. Within 22 days, at 832 feet, the hole began filling with oil. Mills plugged it, reporting a poor well and began to drill another. Then he hurried to Pittsburgh with samples. These so galvanized operators Guffey and Galey that they leased a million acres, while Norman No. 1 and its secret remained plugged for ten months. In the next two years they drilled over 100 wells, then sold out to Standard Oil.
Oil was first drilled in Kansas in 1860, near Paola, but the sinking of Norman No. 1 began the continuous development of the Mid-Continent field, the nation's largest, which spreads over Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Erected by Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission. (Marker Number 57.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Kansas Historical Society marker series.
Location. Click for map. Marker is at a roadside pulloff. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2836 US Highway 75, Neodesha KS 66757, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Dutch Lorbeer (within shouting distance of this marker); Brown Hotel (approx. 0.8 miles away); Soldiers of the World War (approx. 0.8 miles away); World War II Memorial (approx. 0.8 miles away); Sgt Mike Ritter (approx. 0.9 miles away); Norman No. 1 (approx. 1.2 miles away); Actual Site of Norman No. 1 (approx. 1.3 miles away); World War Homefront and Neodesha Cemetery Association Founders Memorial Pavilion (approx. 1.5 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Neodesha.
Also see . . .
1. Mid-Continent Field of Kansas and Oklahoma. (Submitted on July 17, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
2. Norman No. 1 at Kansapedia. (Submitted on July 17, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
3. Norman No. 1 Oil Well Photo at Kansas Memory. (Submitted on July 17, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
Categories. • Exploration • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 222 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.