“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Dupont City in Kanawha County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)

Burning Spring Monument

Tablet on the Burning Spring Monument image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, July 13, 2019
1. Tablet on the Burning Spring Monument
Inscription.  The burning spring that existed here and the salt lick that was located three miles downstream at the river’s edge were two natural phenomena that influenced much of the development of the Kanawha Valley. The spring was agitated by bubbling natural gas that would ignite and burn over the water. Discovered by the Van Vibbers in 1773 it later so impressed George Washington that he and General Andrew Lewis purchased the spring.

The ancient salt lick near by was a salt brine seepage that first attracted buffalo, deer and elk. Indians used it to supply their salt needs. Mary Draper Ingles of Virginia, a white prisoner of the Shawnees, was forced to make salt for her captors when the stopped at the lick en route to Kentucky in 1753.

Early settlers used the seepage brine for salt manufacture until David and Joseph Ruffner, searching for a stronger and more plentiful supply, completed drilling of a well in 1808 to a depth of 58 feet by a method they invented. It was the first drilled well in America. Their drilling technique was used to drill many salt wells and a thriving salt industry followed.

In 1841, while drilling
Burning Spring Monument image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, July 13, 2019
2. Burning Spring Monument
for salt at the edge of the burning spring, William Tompkins encountered a strong flow of natural gas which he used under his vats for salt manufacture. This was the first industrial use of natural gas.

The burning spring and the salt lick excited and inspired the early pioneers and their descendants to develop the drilling technique, tools, and skills that were later used to drill the firs oil well at Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859. These methods are still being used by the oil and gas industry. Their salt making grew into a chemical industry.
Erected 1963 by West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Industry Centennial Committee.
Topics. This historical marker monument is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceNative AmericansSettlements & Settlers.
Location. 38° 16.194′ N, 81° 33.902′ W. Marker is in Dupont City, West Virginia, in Kanawha County. Marker is on Malden Belle Road (Local Route 60/12) north of West 34th Street, on the right when traveling south. It is on the front lawn of the Dupont Middle School, facing the road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Belle WV 25015, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Camp Piatt (approx. 1.4 miles away); Belle Works (approx. 1.9 miles
Bronze relief on monument tablet image. Click for full size.
Relief by unknown artist, photographed by J.J. Prats, July 13, 2019
3. Bronze relief on monument tablet
away); Malden / Booker T. Washington Homeplace (approx. 2 miles away); The Necessary Ingredient (approx. 2 miles away); Rev. Ruffner's Grave (approx. 2.2 miles away); Ruffner Well (approx. 2.3 miles away); Samuel Shrewsbury House (approx. 2˝ miles away); Daniel Boone (approx. 4.3 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on August 14, 2019. It was originally submitted on August 14, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 84 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 14, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
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Nov. 25, 2020