EARLY OIL HISTORY OF OBLONG VICINITY
The Oil Field Museum was started October 10, 1961 to preserve the tools of an era that brought great prosperity to the county. The oil museum was the realization of a dream inspired and encouraged by Enos Bloom, an Oblong mechanic. Although Enos Bloom never worked in the oil fields, he made many trips to the fields to repair broken machinery and became well acquainted with oil men and their work. This museum is "one of a kind" with oil equipment displayed outdoors as well as indoors.
Although the Shire farm oil gusher near Stoy started the oil "boom" of
1906, oil and gas were known to exist in this territory as early as 1866.
A "boom" started near
Possibly the largest real estate deal made in the township was consummated
between a company of Oblong and Robinson men and Robert Wood, paying
Shire, Birch, Brown, Baldwin, Martin, Mann, Riker, Mitchell, Tohill, Mouser, Smith, Ames, Walker, Cawood, York, Houghton, Wilkin, Whitmer, Woods, Davidson, Buck, McCrillis, Wirt, Miller, were some of the oil well owners in 1906. Mrs. Miller's No.3 well was shot June 1906 with an estimated 1,000 barrels. With three good wells and more being drilled, her estimated income was $300 a day. The wells on her place and that of Dr. Birch seemed to be the exact center of the Stoy pool with a constant flow unable to be shut off.
The Baldwin well, shot in May, was a beautiful spectacle as the oil
boiled into the air for more than three minutes at a height of 100 feet.
The largest well in the northern states, with 2,500 barrels, was drilled
on the O.B. Kirtland lands Monday, September 12, 1906, flowing 100 barrels
an hour. Within a week, another well as good as the Kirtland well was
drilled on the Pearl Dee lands.
A well on the J.A. Wood lands, shot in August of 1906 with 300 barrels, flowed at intervals of 55 minutes with such extreme force that oil and gas shot many feet above the derrick.
In August of 1906, the oil market had been flooded with Illinois oil
The Ohio Oil Co. put in a pumping station at Stoy to force the oil to Martinsville and a six inch line to Bridgeport. Four larger steel tanks with 35,000 barrel capacity were built at Stoy after rains broke oil-pool dams, washing away much oil. By March 1907, seventy of the eighty 35, 000 barrel tanks in Martinsville were filled with oil.
Oil well supply houses and machine shops quickly moved into Oblong to
service the growing oil development, swelling Oblong's population and
prosperity. The Empire Drilling Co. held the record on July 20, 1906,
for the fastest drilling. They put a well
Oil Center, located two miles south of Stoy, was quite a bustling business center in July 1906, with a restaurant and a barber shop.
A favorite recreation of people in 1906 was to come to Oblong on the morning train, rent a rig at a moderate cost, get a map of the oil field from the Oblong Oracle Newspaper office and drive through the countryside viewing the wells then leave on the evening train.
George Rhees of Columbus, Ohio, T.C. Griffin, and George Stephens of Findlay, Ohio, formed a corporation in July 1906 to build a refinery in Robinson, to construct and maintain pipe lines and to operate for oil in the field, forming the Robinson Oil Refinery.
A vein of good quality coal from 5 to 10 feet thick was struck in April 1906 in the Odell well at a depth of about 700 feet. Geologists predicted that West Crawford County would become a leading coal field.
So was the beginning of the oil "boom" in Crawford County. With the progression of time, new methods and new machinery were introduced to the oil production industry. Old machinery and old ways were discarded. But memories of the "old times" live on in the minds of our elder citizens. To preserve this heritage of the early oil days, the Oblong Oil Field Museum was assembled. Antiquated tools and machinery were collected and old pictures were given so the activities of a bygone time could be passes down to other generations.
Courtesy of the Oblong Village Board Oblong, Illinois "The Only Oblong"