Among its records for dry holes, Florida’s first – but certainly not last – unsuccessful attempt to find commercially viable oil reserves began in 1901, not far from the Gulf Coast panhandle town of Pensacola.
Two test wells were drilled, the first to 1,620 feet and the second a hundred feet deeper. Both were abandoned. Whether that wildcatter was following science or intuition, contemporary accounts of his efforts reveal only a small historical footnote: “Florida’s first dry holes.”
Twenty years later, as America’s oil demand continued to soar, oil still had not been found in Florida. The state’s panhandle still looked promising – despite a growing list of failed drilling ventures.
Indian legends and a wildcat stock promoter’s claim of oil inspired yet another attempt near today’s Falling Waters Park, about 100 miles east of Pensacola. A tall, wooden derrick and steam-driven rig were used to drill.
At a depth 3,900 feet, a brief showing of natural gas excited area residents with a false report of a possible gusher. Undeterred, the oilmen continued to drill to a depth of 4,912 feet before finally giving up.
No oil of commercial quantity was found and the well was capped in 1921. Another dry hole. Read the rest of this entry »