Patron Saint Of The Impossible LbNA # 22189
|Placed Date||May 14 2006|
|Location||Big Lake, TX|
-- MISSING -- Check back later for updated info on replacement. Thanks
Santa Rita No. 1, located on University of Texas Lands in Reagan County, came in on May 28, 1923. It proved that oil existed in West Texas.
The Santa Rita resulted from the efforts of several men over a period of four years. Rupert P. Ricker initially leased 431,360 acres owned by the University of Texas in Reagan, Upton, Irion, and Crockett counties. He dealt the lease to Frank T. Pickrell and his partner, Haymon Krupp, a prosperous El Paso merchant. Pickrell and Krupp, along with some New York friends, incorporated as Texon Oil and Land Company. Texon Oil raised over $100,000 from the promotion and used some of the capital to make rental payments and to buy used drilling equipment. The first oil test on the vast acreage was spudded on January 8, 1921, just before the development deadline and possible loss of the lease.
Pickrell hired an experienced driller, Carl Cromwell, for fifteen dollars a day and stock in the company. Cromwell moved his family to the lonely drilling site beside the tracks of the Orient Railroad. For 646 days the cable-tool rig pounded, and the two-man crew bailed the hole. They averaged only 4.7 feet a day. Several months after drilling began, Frank Pickrell climbed to the top of the derrick. He threw out the petals of a rose that a group of Catholic women investors back in New York had given him. He christened the well in the name of the Patron Saint of the Impossible --- Santa Rita.
Late on May 27, 1923, the bit drilled into the dolomitic sands just above the 3,050-foot level. Cromwell shut down the well when he saw gas bubbles escaping from the casinghead. The experienced driller and his tool dresser, Dee Locklin, were convinced they had an oil well and left the site to lease surrounding mineral acreage while the discovery was yet unknown.
Early on May 28, with no further drilling, the Santa Rita roared to life, sprayed oil over the top of the derrick, and covered a 250-yard area around the site. The discovery ushered in an era of vast exploration and development of one of the nation’s richest petroleum producing areas known as the Permian Basin.
Directions to the Letterbox;
Santa Rita #1 is located at the former townsite of Texon just south of U.S. Highway 67 about 13 miles west of Big Lake. Follow the Historical Marker signs to the metal derrick and the site of the well. Across the road from the derrick and well site are a number of concrete beams which once supported a loading dock for the railroad. Go to the last concrete beam to the west. About ten feet in from it's southern end (the end closest to the railroad tracks) and on the west side of the beam is a flat caliche rock. The box is nestled under this rock.