Why One Full City Block of Kilgore is Called “World’s Richest Acre”
Listen, I realize I am going to catch some hell for this, and deservedly so. But I never knew the story behind the oil derricks in downtown Kilgore, TX. I mean I've seen the oil derricks in downtown Kilgore, but strangely enough never really thought much past "oh wow, cool."
I guess I kinda dismissed them from the start. Being a Texas newcomer the first time I saw them, I was like oh cool another new "Texas thang." Turns out the story behind them is one that is exclusive to the tiny East Texas town, and one even cooler than the massive derricks that line the streets.
So, I moved to East Texas in 1999, I attended Kilgore College for a couple of years, even gotta degree there. But I don't ever recall even hearing the "World's Richest Acre," until a friend posted about it on Facebook last night.
While most of my fellow East Texans likely know the full story of the "World's Richest Acre," this is more for the transplants, and the portion of us who never visited the Oil Museum in Kilgore -- like my pal Lance Pharis suggested I do on Facebook today.
As it turns out at one point in time, beginning in the 1930s, this downtown block in Kilgore produced over 2.5 million barrels of oil, it was the greatest concentration of oil wells in the world.
On part of one downtown block, about 1.2 acres, once stood the greatest concentration of oil wells in the world, producing more than 2.5 million barrels of oil. All but one were dismantled in the early 1960s. The original derrick and 36 new ones, a restored pumpjack, a granite monument to the pioneer oil families of East Texas, and brick walkways make the park a monument to the oil boom of 1930s.
According to the Kilgore Chamber, "The discovery of the surrounding East Texas oilfield in the fall of 1930 transformed Kilgore from a declining rural community into a boomtown. Within days thousands streamed into the town."
There ya go, a fun East Texas history lesson for at least me. I wonder what else I've missed out on in life. I could probably stand to be a bit more curious.