El Dorado

(Deb) Well, we’re back and one of my favorite towns because of the art there is El Dorado, Kansas, and we featured a good friend Rod Seel who is the Director of the Coutts Museum of Art down there on Main Street. Go see him. And it’s a great time to go visit El Dorado because they are marking the 100th anniversary of the big oil strike. (Frank) Another anniversary. This time a hundred year. (Deb) Another anniversary. We’re just racking ’em up here. But it’s such a cool town and you know oil and gas have meant so much to the economy of the West and of course then the whole nation. But when the oil and gas industry was really in its infancy, the Stapleton Strike down in El Dorado was just huge. (Frank) Oh, gigantic. (Deb) Huge, huge news. Huge news. And then we’ve had others throughout the state and of course, it remains a big piece of the Kansas economy. (Frank) Yea, and if you go to Wichita on the Turnpike of course you go past El Dorado or is it El DOORAHDO, El Dorado as we call it in Kansas. (Deb) You say El Dorado, I say El DOORAHDO. (Frank)….you do see, I mean you drive through a lot of the oil fields and the refineries and all that and people don’t really…I mean they’ve heard of the Hugoton oil fields, but El Dorado actually is a bigger, bigger strike. (Deb) It’s a great story. Stay tuned. One hundred years ago on October 5, the Stapleton #1, an oil well in Butler County, finally gushed black gold. There had been many tries and lots of discouragement as other communities found gas and oil beneath the prairies. They had even turned to a spiritualist for help, with less than inspiring results. It would be science that won out in the search for oil. In June 1914, El Dorado city fathers contracted with Erasmus Haworth, soon to retire from his position as State Geologist, to perform a geological study of the area. His fieldwork outlined the El Dorado Anticline, which unsuccessfully was drilled a year later. It was abandoned and sold to the Wichita Natural Gas Company who drilled the Stapleton #1 oil well, named for the man who owned the property. The timing of the find could not have been more welcome as America entered World War I and cars became more common. Demand for oil was at a new peak. It is estimated that the oil field was producing 9 to 12 percent of the world’s oil. Some referred to it as the “Oil Field that won World War I”. Since then it has produced more than 300 million barrels. The legacy of the oil field and its transformation of Butler County and surrounding communities is celebrated by the Kansas Oil Museum in el Dorado.