Pump Jack Capital of Texas
A 1911 April Fool’s day oil gusher at the Clayco No. 1 well near Electra, Texas, will bring prosperity and later the title of “ Pump Jack Capital of Texas.”
Electra was a small farm town barely four years old when the black gold excitement began on April 1, 1911. It became oil fever when “Roaring Ranger” came in neighboring Eastland County in 1917. When a third drilling boom began at Burkburnett in 1918, even Hollywood noticed.
Among other things, these oilfield discoveries brought prosperity to North Texas, launched hundreds of petroleum companies, fueled America’s Model T Fords (and victory in World War I), convinced Conrad Hilton to buy his first hotel, and inspired the movie “Boomtown,” which would win an Academy Award.
As early as 1913, newly discovered Mid-Continent oilfields like Electra were producing almost half of all the oil in Texas. Refineries began to appear in Wichita Falls in 1915 when Wichita County alone reported 1,025 producing wells.
Nearby, the McClesky No. 1 well in Eastland County struck oil in October 1917. The “Roaring Ranger” in Ranger reached a daily production of 1,700 barrels. Within two years eight refineries were open or under construction and Ranger banks had $5 million in deposits.
“Roaring Ranger” gained international fame for Ranger as the town whose oil wiped out critical oil shortages during World War I, allowing the Allies to “float to victory on a wave of oil.”
Visiting after the war, a young Conrad Hilton saw long lines of roughnecks seeking a place to stay. He bought the two-story red brick motel in Cisco.
Learn more North Texas history in Oil Boom Brings First Hilton Hotel.
Then, on July 28, 1918, the Fowler No. 1 well in Burkburnett came in at 3,000 barrels per day – triggering another another boom that brought more companies.