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Matador in Motley County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Bob's Oil Well

 
 
Bob's Oil Well Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Kirchner, June 7, 2017
1. Bob's Oil Well Marker
Inscription.  Greenville, Texas native Luther Bedford "Bob" Robertson (1894-1947), a veteran of World War I, came to Matador in the 1920s. He was a gas station attendant in 1932 when he decided to open a service station here. To promote his new business, he built a wooden oil derrick over the station. He patented his design, and in 1939 replaced the wooden derrick with one of steel that reached 84 feet in height and included lights.

Robertson was a gifted businessman and promoter, and he used any opportunity to advertise his operation and attract customers. He kept a cage of live rattlesnakes for the amusement of tourists, and from that initial attraction grew a zoo that included lions, monkeys, coyotes, a white buffalo and other animals. He paid long distance truckers to place advertising signs at strategic points across the nation noting the mileage to Bob's Oil Well in Matador, and they became well known to the motoring public. As a result of his success, Robertson enlarged his operation to include a grocery, café and garage.

In addition to his business skills, Robertson was an active civic leader in Matador. He was particularly interested
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in recognizing the efforts of those who served in the military during World War II.

Bob Robertson died in 1947, and two weeks later a high wind toppled the steel derrick that had been the trademark of his business. His widow, Olga (Cunningham) (d. 1993), restored it two years later with even larger lights. The business did not continue long after, however, and closed in the 1950s. Later efforts to reopen it were short-lived. Today, the site serves as a reminder of a time when such bold roadside architecture was in its infancy and of a man who, through his business, widely promoted his adopted hometown.
 
Erected 2005 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 15089.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRoads & Vehicles. A significant historical year for this entry is 1932.
 
Location. 34° 0.722′ N, 100° 49.692′ W. Marker is in Matador, Texas, in Motley County. Marker is at the intersection of Bailey Avenue and Pipken Street, on the right when traveling east on Bailey Avenue. Marker is on the southeast corner. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Matador TX 79244, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Traweek House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Quanah Parker Trail (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Quanah Parker Trail
Bob's Oil Well image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Kirchner, June 7, 2017
2. Bob's Oil Well
(approx. 0.4 miles away); Motley County Jail (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Motley County Railroad (approx. 0.9 miles away); Motley County (approx. 0.9 miles away); Matador Ranch (approx. one mile away); Whiteflat (approx. 7.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Matador.
 
Bob's Oil Well Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Kirchner, June 7, 2017
3. Bob's Oil Well Marker
Bob's Oil Well Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jenne Bergstrom, April 9, 2024
4. Bob's Oil Well Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 10, 2024. It was originally submitted on June 24, 2017, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 973 times since then and 161 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 24, 2017, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona.   4. submitted on April 9, 2024, by Jenne Bergstrom of Julian, California.

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Apr. 20, 2024