1917 OIL BOOM
The oil boom that not only saved World War I but made Eastland County what it is today
One hundred years ago come this October 17 a wildcat oil well erupted in a geyser of black gold leading to help the United States and allies in the win of World War I. The McCleskey No. 1 Discovery Well, located two miles south of Ranger in 1917, gushed in at some 1,600 barrels a day of high gravity oil.
It started with a severe drought throughout the area in early summer of that same year when Ranger officials teamed up with Coal baron W.K. Gordon of Thurber to seek out the first oil well in Eastland County. Gordon, vice president of the Texas and Pacific Coal Company sunk a shallow well only to come up dry. He agreed to drill a second, much deeper, well up to 3,500 feet deep. On July 2, 1917, on the McCleskey farm just outside Ranger, Gordon and his contractor Warren Wagner spudded the well that would soon be in the history books.
On October 17, 1917 the earth rumbled, the rig shook and …..(well that is for another day)
Celebrating this 100 year giant milestone in Eastland County History, the Ranger Historical Preservation Society presents The Most Spectacular Boom of All beginning October 14, 2017 with a parade and celebration Kick Off beginning at 2 p.m. followed by the Dedication of Historical Markers on the Ranger Historical Society’s portion of the original well site. Later that afternoon the 1st Cavalry Horse Detachment from Fort Hood will hold a demonstration at the Ranger Rodeo grounds prior to the Leon River Cowboy Church Youth Rodeo. On Sunday the Ranger Ministerial Alliance will host an event to be announced soon followed by a 5K run at 3 p.m.
Wednesday, October 18 will be an Education Day on the 38 acre well site. Many events to educate students on the importance of the discovery are being planned. All school districts are encouraged to bring students to learn the story of how this historical event built not only Ranger but many communities in Eastland County.
Other events during the week are in the works including a street dance on Friday evening on the bricks of the Bankhead Highway in front of the site. The celebration will close Saturday, October 21 with an all day festival with vendors, entertainment, Poker Run, Nashville’s own Johnny Counterfit and more. Counterfit will perform at 6 pm under the giant tent to close the weeklong celebration. Ranger Chamber of Commerce will also be sponsoring a dance at the Ranger Rodeo barn that evening.
Mark your calendars for this once in a lifetime celebration of one of Eastland County’s most historical events of all time. October 14, 2017 through October 21, 2017.