NEW WOODEN GIANT BACK UP AND STANDING TALL
Update - November 2005 - The Dedication of the new Derrick on Friday, October 21, was a wonderful celebration. Those taking part in the program included Pete Gianopulos, master of ceremonies, Larry Peahl, historian and member of the very first Museum Board of Directors, Ron Bracken, current Board chairman, Don Kinzel and Keith Bracke, the men who built the new derrick, and Dorothy Gardner, Museum treasurer and Board member. Huell Howser, of Public TV Channel KCET in Los Angeles, was a special guest and he, along with about 300 others, enjoyed the beautiful day, the happy crowd, the program, ribbon cutting, and ice cream social that followed. Mr. Howser and Cameron (his camera man) recorded several interviews and pictures of the derrick. they will be included in a program to be shown on KCET sometime in January. Sorry, we don't yet know the exact date. Every night during the ten days of Oildorado, the derrick was lit from the floor up with a very bright single bulb halogen light. It was indeed a spectacular sight.
Update - October 2005 - The new Wooden Derrick will be dedicated on Friday, Oct. 21 at 3:30 p.m. followed by an ice cream social in the covered patio and park area. Pete Gianopulos will be the master of ceremonies along with several members of the Musuem giving a short history of the Musuem and the process of rebuilding the derrick including abandoment of the old well and how the money was raised for the project. The public is invited to attend.
Update - July 2005 - The new wooden derrick is going back up! Contractors started rebuilding the new wooden derrick in late May. The derrick itself is complete. Work on the belt hall, installing the old walking beam, building the derick floor and redoing the engine house is set to begin soon. Oildorado 2005 is coming up just a few months away and we hope to have everything completed by then and hold a dedication sometime during Oildorado. Here are some pictures taken by Randy Stephenson of some of the progress on the derrick. The project is a little more expensive than first expected. If you would like to make an donation to the derrick project, it would be most welcome at this time.
Keep coming back for updates and, eventually, an Internet Slide Show with pictures of the various steps taken during the tear down and build process.
LAST OF THE WOODEN GIANTS COMES DOWN
Update - January 2005 - Abandonment has been completed, following strict regulations, on the original well, Jameson #17. Work can now proceed on the reconstruction of the wooden derrick that once stood over Jameson #17. We hope to have the work completed in time for Oildorado in October.
Update - October 2004 - Our derrick will soon be started on its upward path as soon as the well has been capped according to D.O.G. instructions. Because records could not be found, extra cement will have to be poured down the well. There is also still some wood to be removed. Few can imagine the mountain of wood that came from the old rig. Many people have picked up some of the wood for special projects such has making picture frames. Some pictures and paintings with frames made of the old derick's wood are available in our giftshop. We hope to have a dedication of the new wooden derrick during Oildorado next October.
History - With increasing concerns about its stability, the Museum Board decided on Thursday, May 1, 2003. to go ahead and pull down the 1917 Wooden Derrick. Though wanting to preserve the West Side's history and leave the derrick standing, the safety of the volunteers and visitors became the deciding factor. The board decided to take action before Pioneer Days on May 10th. Although there is now a hole in Taft's skyline, we hope to be able to fill it back in later this year when we start construction on the new wooden derrick.
Due to the lack of a work crew during the summer, the progress on rebuilding the Wooden Derrick was slowed down. We have the work crew now and cleanup is proceeding. A contractor has been chosen and when the site has been cleaned of the wood, and the Deptartment of Oil and Gas has approved the final plans, rebuilding will begin.
Souvenirs are being made from the best of the original, weather-worn and splintered boards from the derrick. Frames are being made from this "distressed" wood to hold copies of Jean Kitchak's painting of wooden derricks in the old oilfields. They are a popular item on sale in the Museum Gift Shop. Other types of souvenirs are in the process of being made and will be available soon in the Gift Shop.
Drilled in 1917 and producing until the 1980's, the wooden derrick was the last of its kind in Kern County. In 1974 Jameson #17 was scheduled to be torn down too. The local American Association of University Women and some dedicated people organized and with the Jameson Company donating the derrick and 3 acres of land, the West Kern Oil Museum, Inc. was born. As the years have gone by, additional acreage and exhibits have been added to the Museum but always at the center was the wooden derrick.
The derrick has been slowly deteriorating over the years, with the last few years being the most notable. Plans have been in the works for several years to replace the derrick with an exact replica. The money has been raised and talks with contractors are on going. We're hopeful that we can begin construction later this year. More information about the construction of the new wooden derrick will be available in the near future.
For more information, please
contact the museum.
Phone (661)765-6664, Fax (661) 765-9175 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
West Kern Oil Museum
P.O. Box 491
Taft, CA 93268