Details for Church and Fields Oil Discovery Well (Atlas Number 5103000851)

Historical Marker — Atlas Number 5103000851

Data

Marker Number 851
Atlas Number 5103000851
Marker Title Church and Fields Oil Discovery Well
Index Entry Church and Fields Oil Discovery Well
Address
City Crane
County Crane
UTM Zone 13
UTM Easting 749804
UTM Northing 3487845
Subject Codes educational topics; oil/petroleum topics
Marker Year 1978
Designations
Marker Location On US 385 about 5 miles N of Crane in Roadside Park
Marker Size 27" x 42"
Marker Text Since 1839 Texas has set aside her public lands to finance education. The University of Texas at Austin acquired the land at this site in 1883, after the first owner, a railroad company, returned it to the state as worthless. For years McElroy Ranch grazed cattle here. On similar terrain 70 miles to the southeast the Santa Rita Gusher blew in during 1923, and soon other University lands were being explored for oil. Church & Fields Exploration Company, composed of George M. Church and Robert Fields of San Angelo, obtained a permit late in 1925 to drill in section 34, block 30, in University land on McElroy Ranch. On Dec. 28, 1925, contractor Burton F. Weekley and Driller John Garlin started the church and field well, 2.25 miles southeast of this spot. In March 1926 this became Crane County's first oil producer, opening a new major field for west Texas. Soon other wells were driller and local population rose from 27 to about 4,500. In Sept. 1927 county government was organized as a result of the oil field activity. Until 1955 the discovery well continued to produce. Since the day it proved successful and an asset to education and energy production, over a billion barrels of oil have come from University of Texas lands.