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El Dorado in Union County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Oil in Arkansas — The Discovery

 
 
Oil in Arkansas — The Discovery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 1, 2018
1. Oil in Arkansas — The Discovery Marker
Inscription.  On January 10th, 1921, shortly after 4:00 P.M., on a cold January day, a deafening roar from a drilling rig one mile west of El Dorado announced the discovery of oil in Arkansas. Dr. Samuel Busey brought in the Armstrong #1 as an earthshaking, roaring oil well. The plume of oil could be seen from downtown El Dorado, a small farming and lumbering village of 3800. The town would never be the same. Church bells rang, the sawmill whistle sounded, and people streamed out of town to see oil spewing up through the 75-foot wooden derrick, and the next day a special five coach train, chartered from Shreveport, with two white flags flying from the engine, pulled into El Dorado's Rock Island station. The following day five charter trains arrived from Little Rock, and within a year twenty-two trains daily were arriving and departing from the two El Dorado Stations. Excitement surged through the little town as rumors spread of poor farmers being made millionaires overnight. Oilmen and promoters rushed in from Texas and Louisiana with drilling equipment, and within a few weeks rigs were busy drilling offsets to the Busey well.
Oil in Arkansas — The Discovery Marker (first of four). image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 1, 2018
2. Oil in Arkansas — The Discovery Marker (first of four).
Landmen scoured countryside, buying up leases, and the oil fever spread like wildfire. The Garrett Hotel lobby became the center of oil lease trading, and the influx of people was so great the hotel put up cots in the lobby. The Busey well lasted only forty-five days, but it kicked off the oil boom: within six months over 275 wells had been drilled in South Arkansas and only 26 were dry holes. As soon as these new wells confirmed the presence of additional oil fields, the boom was on and oh what a boom it was.
 
Location. 33° 12.677′ N, 92° 39.786′ W. Marker is in El Dorado, Arkansas, in Union County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of South Jefferson Avenue and East Cedar Street, on the right when traveling south. Located in Oil Heritage Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 117 East Cedar Street, El Dorado AR 71730, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Oil in Arkansas — Chaos (here, next to this marker); Oil in Arkansas — The Smackover Field (here, next to this marker); Oil in Arkansas — The Wildcatters (here, next to this marker); For Service in Iraq and Afghanistan (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Gunfight on the Square
12-foot Band Wheel with the marker behind. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 1, 2018
3. 12-foot Band Wheel with the marker behind.
The big wheels on old pump jacks are "band wheels", which connect the pumpjack to an engine of one sort or another - steam in the old days, and oil or electric these days. A giant belt, in other words the "band", enables the engine to rotate the axis of the band wheel.
(about 300 feet away); The Gunfight on El Dorado's Courthouse Square, Oct. 9, 1902 (about 300 feet away); El Dorado Masonic Temple (about 400 feet away); Union County Second Courthouse (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in El Dorado.
 
Also see . . .  American Oil & Gas Historical Society story on the First Arkansas Oil Wells. (Submitted on August 8, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
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More. Search the internet for Oil in Arkansas — The Discovery.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 8, 2018. This page originally submitted on August 8, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 84 times since then and 43 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 8, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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