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The only giant Michigan oil and natural gas field was discovered in January 1957 on the dairy farm of Ferne Houseknecht. Her first oil well revealed the 29-mile-long “Golden Gulch.”

michigan oil and gas

Ferne Houseknecht proudly holds a plaque commemorating the oil well on her dairy farm. The Houseknecht No. 1 well of January 7, 1957, revealed a giant, 29-miles-long oil field – the largest in Michigan.

The story of the discovery of Michigan’s only giant oil field is the stuff of dreams and legends, says one historian.

After decades of dry holes or small oil discoveries, the Houseknecht No. 1 discovery well of January 7, 1957, reveals the massive oil and natural gas field.

It takes more than two years of drilling, but the Houseknecht No. 1 well discovers Michigan’s largest oilfield – the “Golden Gulch” Albion-Pulaski-Scipio Field.

The 3,576-foot-deep well near Scipio Township in Hillsdale County in southwestern Michigan produces from the Black River formation of the Trenton zone.

Local lore says that the well’s namesake, Ferne Houseknecht, had been told by a spiritualist that there was oil under her farm.

She convinced her uncle, Clifford Perry, to help drill a well one joint of pipe at a time between other farm projects.

“The story of the discovery well of Michigan’s only ‘giant’ oil field, using the worldwide definition of having produced more than 100 million barrels of oil from a single contiguous reservoir is the stuff of dreams, and of oil field legends,” explains Michigan oil and gas historian and author Jack Westbrook. Read the rest of this entry »

 

An updated collection of brief articles about obscure oil and natural gas company histories. Please support this research and website with a tax-deductible donation today.

A petroleum stock certificate’s vignette often is an important part of its value for scripophily – the buying and selling of certificates as collectibles after they have no redeemable value as a security.

A petroleum stock certificate’s vignette often is an important part of its value for scripophily – the buying and selling of certificates as collectibles after they have no redeemable value as a security.

Note to visitors: The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) website: This society is a small – with just one employee – nonprofit program that depends on your financial support.

AOGHS serves as a resource for petroleum history for researchers, teachers, students, historians and the public.

U.S. exploration and production industry’s heritage of social, economic and technological achievements provide a context for teaching the modern energy business.

AOGHS survives on donations. Your contribution helps the society promote community oil and natural gas museums – and national energy education.

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oil and gas company

In the rush to print stock certificates during drilling booms, some new companies simply used a common vignette of derricks. See Centralized Oil & Gas Company, Double Standard Oil & Gas Company, Evangeline Oil Company, Texas Production Company, and Tulsa Producing and Refining Company.

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Can you tell me anything about this old petroleum company (for free)? I found its stock certificate in an attic. Am I rich? Probably not. As shown in the companies below, since the 1850s the U.S. petroleum industry’s boom and bust cycles have left many casualties.  For an example of one that actually made it to courts, see Not a Millionaire from Old Oil Stock. Read the rest of this entry »