First Exploratory Oil Well in Taylor County
Marker Text: Founded in 1881, the city of Abilene became a regional economic center, yet civic boosters believed that the discovery of oil and gas in the area had the potential to advance the area's economy and population even further. Significant oil discoveries had been made in Texas by 1915, including the discovery of oil 40 miles east near Moran in Shackleford County. Rather than relying on the initiative of outsiders, chamber of commerce chose to solicit the interest of large petroleum companies to drill for oil in northeastern Taylor County.
Dr. J. A. Udden was hired to conduct a geological survey of the area, and he recommended two square structures for further testing: one located five miles southeast of Abilene, and a second located about 2.5 miles northeast of town correspondence from the city leaders to several oil and gas companies encouraged them to come to the area to drill for oil. The Frank P. Fox Oil Company of Indianapolis expressed interest in drilling in the Abilene area in 1915 and the company leased land and began drilling 6.5 miles southeast of Abilene on the John Bowyer lease (which was not one of the two locations identified by Udden and later verified by additional testing). Although drilling proceeded to 3,340 feet, the site was abandoned when no oil was found. However, positive signs at the site spurred interest in a second well, which would produce 6 barrels of oil and 11 barrels f water each day. While gas and oil production did not become profitable in Taylor County until the 1930s, this first oil venture was an important early step in the creation of a significant Taylor County industry. (2009)
Marker No: 15925
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Geographic: 32.357777, -99.707779
Location: intersection of FM 1750 (Oldham Lane) and FM 707