Oil in the Osage Indian Nation and the “Million Dollar Elm”
Symbolic of the impact oil had on the people of the Osage Indian Nation is the so-called "Million Dollar Elm." It was given this name because in its shade millions of dollars worth of Osage oil leases were auctioned. It was planted at this site sometime during the latter part of the 19th century as an ornament and for shade.
The name was not given by tribal leaders but by reporters and magazine writers who were dramatizing the events when important heads and founders of the world's greatest oil companies came in person to bid. The auctioneer himself, the histrionic Colonel Walters, became famous because of his success in getting top bids.
The story of oil and the Osages is one of the most glamorous facets of the oil industry in America. It began with the drilling of the first well in the Osage in October 1897.
On March 2, 1922, the first 160-acre tract to bring a million dollars or more was in the NE 25-27-5. Skelly Oil Company and Phillips Petroleum Company bid jointly on this tract. Highest bonus paid for a 160-acre tract was by Midland Oil Company, March 29, 1924 for $1,990,000. This was in the NW 14-27-5. A total of 18 tracts brought bonuses of $1,000,000 or more.
By November 1969 the Osage lands had produced a billion barrels of oil and it was estimated that two billion barrels remained in the area.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Oklahoma Historical Society marker series.
Location. 36° 40.058′ N, 96° 20.367′ W. Marker is in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, in Osage County. Marker is on Grandview Avenue 0.3 miles north of Main Street (U.S. 60), on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is near the Osage Tribal Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 819 Grandview Avenue, Pawhuska OK 74056, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Friendship Between the Osage and the Occitan of Montauban (within shouting distance of this marker); "Million Dollar Elm" (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Restoring the Whiting Apartments (about 600 feet away); An Answer To Prayer (about 700 feet away); Vernon Whiting (about 700 feet away); "Osage in the Enemy Camp" (approx. ¼ mile away); Site of the First Osage Agency Building (approx. 0.3 miles away); Blacksmith Home (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pawhuska.
Regarding Oil in the Osage Indian Nation and the "Million Dollar Elm". The elm tree no longer exists.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Also see . . .
1. From monopoly to 'Million Dollar Elm' (Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise article). (Submitted on May 9, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Osage Nation. (Submitted on May 9, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Environment • Exploration • Industry & Commerce • Native Americans •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 9, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 271 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 9, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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