Sunflower

Norman No. 1
Opening Well of the Mid-Continent Field

Sunflower

          Kansas has long been oil country. There are legends that Indians held
council around the lights of burning springs. Immigrants, it is known,
skimmed "rock tar" from such oil seeps to grease the axles of their
wagons.

          Three blocks southeast, on the banks of the Verdigris, is the site of
one of the most famous oil wells in the United States. This derrick is a
replica of Norman No. 1, the first commercially successful well of the
Mid-Continent Field. It was drilled November, 1892, by McBride and Bloom
of Independence, Kansas, for William Mills of Osawatomie, Kansas, on
land owned by T. J. Norman. The price was $2.50 per foot.

          On November 28, 1892, when drilling reached 832 feet, oil began to flow.
The Norman No. 1 did indeed provide Major Mills with evidence that oil
was pooled beneath the plains of The Middle West

          Mills plugged it and hurried to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with samples.
These so galvanized backers Guffey and Galey that they leased a million
acres, while Norman No. 1 remained plugged for ten months.

          On October 1, 1892, the well was shot by G. M. Perry of Oswego, Kansas.
Its initial production was 12 barrels daily. After producing for 26
years, it was abandoned because of a leaky casing.

          Oil was first drilled in Kansas in 1860, near Paola, Kansas, 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.

 
Wooden painted sign on side of replica of Norman No. 1 oil well

Marker text sent by Robert Walter, Pittsburg, KS

Wilson County  

E. Main (U.S. 75) & S. 1st
Neodesha
Wilson County
 

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September 13, 2000 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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