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Fundraising Challenge - Update Jan 2015

West Kern Oil Museum has launched an ambitious program aimed at dramatically improving Taft's No. 1 tourist attraction and we are getting a big boost from two benefactors.

G. Barton and Margaret Heuler, who grew up on the Westside and met while attending Taft Junior College, have already helped with a monthly contribution for day-to-day expenses.  Now they want ot do more by issuing a challenge to Museum members.  The Huelers are offering to match donations to the special projects fund.

Dr. Heuler and his wife Margaret are offereing matching donations up to a total of $25,000 for donations from anyone.  I can be one dollar or many and they will match it.  At this time, just over $20,000 has been raised since July 2014.

Send checks to West Kern Oil Museum, PO Box 491, Taft, CA 93268.  Designate "special projects" on the check.

The Derrick

   Our 1917 wooden derrick standing over its original well is the last of over 7000 wooden derricks that once stood on the Westside stretching from east of Sunset, engulfing the towns, covering the hills (25 Hill, Buena Vista Hills, Elk Hills) past the oilcamps and Midway Valley to McKittrick, Cymric and on toward Belridge.  Today, time has weakened and weather has rotted the original wood of the rig so that it is impossible to nail it anymore and thus save the original derrick.
   However, we have a plan and the original blueprint.  The plan is to build a duplicate wooden rig, 106 ft. tall, over the original well - saving the original bull wheel, band wheel, calf wheel, sand reel, walking beam, crown block, the original belt hall and engine house.  As you can tell, this well was drilled with cable tools (the old fashioned method).
    Since there are no more living rig builders, we plan to build the derrick leg by leg, girt by girt out of preserved wood using skilled carpenters and re-erect it over the original hole with large cranes.  Since a 2" X 12" is no longer 12" but rather 11 5/8", we are having to have the wood rough sawn according to the original derrick plans.  We know the exact cost of each piece of wood and the crane rental.  We have priced each section of the well at $1000.   However, there are four sides to a section; therefore contributions of $250 would count toward the sections.  Donations of any amount will be accepted though towards raising the derrick.  All donors' names will be placed on a large permanent plaque near the base of the derrick.  To be part of saving this derrick and a large piece of California history, donations may be mailed to:

            West Kern Oil Museum
            Box 491
            Taft, CA 93268

    Your name (individual, family or company) will be placed on the plaque.  The project is a little more expensive than first planned.  We are still accepting donations for the derrick fund if you would like to still contribute.  All donations are tax deductible and each donor will receive an official receipt.

UPDATE (07/2005) - The new 106' Wooden Derrick is standing with work on the engine house soon to begin.  Click Here to see more information!