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LIVERMORE
HERITAGE
GUILD

HIGHWAY GARAGE

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February 2001 Vol. XXX No. 5
 
CALENDAR
Thursday, March 8 @ 7:00 p.m.
LHG Meeting, Carnegie Bldg
 
Saturday, March 10 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Livermore Heritage Guild GARAGE SALE
Duarte Garage, corner of Portola and North L St.
Lots of good stuff!
 
January 17 to February 28
"Love is in the Air", a Valentine challenge, is presented by the members of the Livermore Art Association Gallery Unique valentines and paintings for viewing and purchase at the Carnegie Bldg
 
HERITAGE GUILD HAPPENINGS
Don't forget to buy your 2001 Heritage Guild Calendar. This year's calendar features photographs by various Livermore photographers from the 1870s to today. Cost: $8.50 each.
 
We are looking for donations for this year's LHG AUCTION. The auction will be upon us soon. Donations of goods and services are greatly appreciated. All usable items will be accepted except books, clothing and furniture (unless considered antique). Unfortunately, computer equipment not working or more than 4 years old also cannot be accepted. Time to clean out those garages and let us help you dispose of those items that need anew home. Phone 449-9927 for pickup. This has been a fun event for everyone and we took forward to seeing you at the auction!

Excerpted from Livermore Herald, October 7,1967

Third Oil Show in In Area
LIVERMORE: Nestled in the scrubby hills east of Livermore -- halfway to LRL's site 300 -- is an oil well.
Geologist Kit Heffelfinger, for Trico Oil and Gas Co., reported yesterday the hole on E.J. Mulqueeney property has oil in it. It bottomed out early yesterday at 5,020 feet and logging was under way yesterday afternoon.

The Trico-Mulqueeney well makes the third oil showing this week. Two others reported yesterday were McCulloch Oil Corp. on May Nissen property and E.C. Brown Petroleum Co. on Robert Frick property on Lupin Way.

Three other wells now are producing -- all drilled by McCulloch. However, they are all in one field within a quarter of a mile of each other.

The site is a half mile east of the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory on Patterson Pass Road. The Trico-Mulqueeney well is the first to show oil so far from the McCulloch sites.

The Brown-Lupin Investment No. 2 on Frick's property is approximately a mile from McCulloch's wells Trico-Mulqueeney is about five miles away. By road, it is 10 miles out Tesla Road.

The only other oil drilling aside from the McCulloch field area was on Cross Rd. on Graham Nissen property earlier this year. McBurney Oil and Gas went to 5,000 feet before abandoning.

Actual production ability cannot be determined until pumping equipment is installed and oilmen are reluctant to make public guesses of a well's capability.

The three McCulloch wells and their daily pumping figures are: McCulloch-Greenville No. 1: 45 barrIes a day: McCulloch-Greenville No. 2:40 barrels a day, McCullochNissen No. 2: 125 barrels a day. (McCulloch-Nissen No. I was a dry hole.)

 Page 2
Excerpted from Livermore Herald. October 1967

Livermore Valley Oil Boom Recalls
Gusher of Yesteryear

by MR Henry
 
Following the recent activity in oil discoveries in the Livermore Valley the Herald & News, beginning today, is publishing a four part series on the history of Valley oil exploration. M.R. Henry, former publisher of this newspaper, has prepared the articles it which will he accompanied by photos related to the early oil efforts.

Calhoma, Independence, W.M.&S., 15/3 and Alisal are names which come floating back through the mists of time, a half century and more, reviving memories of early attempts at oil development in the Livermore Valley.

The recent activity again brings the hope and possibility of a Livermore oil field to the front.

No less than 25 wells were drilled between 1900 and 1947. Those attracting the most attention, were put down from 1900 to 1929. All showed hopeful signs and some actually produced oil but none in paying quantities. This latest development, starting 10 months ago, comes after some 20 years of inactivity.

All the search for oil was carried on in the face of adverse testimony by two of the most famous names in geology in California.

In his history of the Livermore Valley, published in the
Livermore Herald in 1936, the late Elmer G. Still, former
Livermore city clerk, quoted Clarence King, an early day
California geologist, as saying when he visited the Valley in
1885: "Oil will never be found in this vicinity in paying
quantities because the underground strata being so inclined
that the oil drains toward the San Joaquin Valley and cannot
accumulate here."

While the reason for making the statement is not known, it was probably in answer to questions about a well bored in 1875 on the James Brown place, five miles northeast of Livermore. Some oil was found, the first recorded oil well in the Valley.

Col. M.M. Ogden, an important figure in Livermore oil development, said in 1911 in a statement on the possibility of striking oil here: "It has been said by Professor LeConte that we would never find oil of a parafine base in California. But it has been found at Livermore"

All these early wells were shallow -- 1,500 feet and less. Four were between 500 and 1,000 feet deep and three less than 500. Lack of adequate machinery and financial difficulties were primary reasons for not going deeper.

An area just north off Tesla Road, about five miles southeast of Livermore in the Altamont hills, Section 15, Township 3 South, Range 3 East, was the favored spot for drilling. Well sites were located at or near spots in canyons where oil seepages were visible. Ten of the 25 early wells were located on Section 15.

One of the deepest wells, however, was several miles
further east -- the Daisy, half a mile east of Midway. It
reached a depth of 3,100 feet.

Another, one of the latest and deepest, was on the Hansen property near the corner of Arroyo Road and Marina Avenue, several miles to the west. The Tesla Coal Company found seepages in 1901 in Corral Hollow near the mouth of Mitchell Ravine, and drilled two wells further north on the Livermore-Tesla Road.

Work was carried on at intervals up to 1906. The company had strong faith in the Tesla area as an oil field and planned to sink a third well, but this project never materialized.

Standard Oil Company put down two wells near Altamont, several miles to the north, and Coast Exploration Company went to 3,496 feet a mile southeast of the Daisy, both on the east slope of the hills.

While the concentration of wells was on Section 15, abandoned holes dot the extensive area from Altamont on the north to Corral Hollow on the south, and from Midway to Arroyo Road, a mile south of Livermore on the west. In addition, there were prospects discovered and, in several instances, wells put down in the Pleasanton-Dublin Tassajara area.

 Page 3

Any little seepage or other sign of oil was a temptation to wildcatters; and, whenever they could raise a few dollars to get started a well went down. Each failure was followed by another on several wells. Hope never died.

The latest era of the early period found wells drilled close to the present strike. Bulletin 140, State Division of Mines, issued in 1948 gives this information:

"In 1944, a well being drilled for water on the Hieffner ranch, encountered sand at depth of 241 feet from which a heavy oil-water emulsion was baled. This oil showing led Bradford and Guardino in 1945 to drill a shallow well adjacent to the abandoned water well to a depth of about 500 feet. This well was abandoned and presumably they obtained comparable showings.

"In the spring of 1947, a water well drilled on the ranch of Mingoia Brothers near the northwest quarter of the same section was abandoned because of oil showings. A successful water well was then drilled about 1,000 feet southwest of the abandoned well."

Regarding the general possibilities the bulletin says: "A few oil seeps, a small amount of produced medium gravity oil and about 25 abandoned wells make a short story of the unsuccessful search for an economic accumulation of oil or gas in the Tesla quadrangle. Almost half of these ventures were shallow cable-tool holes drilled prior to 1912. The largest concentration of wells is near some old seeps on the Hamilton Ranch.. ."

Actual well borings were for the most part honest attempts to secure oil Faith based on showings was deemed sufficiently promising to justify work and expenditure of money. Qualified drillers were brought in from proven fields. Several of the large oil companies were interested and one, Standard, made two attempts in the early days

But the other aspects were typical of wildcatting. Delays were frequent and sometimes long lasting, due either to shortage offunds or breakdowns. Thomas and Hammil started a well--the "15/3" -in 1926 but it was shut down from mid-1927 to August 1928 because of a money shortage.

 

Old Independence Oil Company Rig

 Page 4

The 15/3 was shutdown again for a month in 1901 when a driller died suddenly and for another month in March 1902, when the derrick was blown away by a heavy gale. These disasters proved minor, however, when a few months later the drilling tools were lost in the well They were not recovered for more than a year. Drilling resurned July 1, 1903.

Another well -- the Independence -- was scheduled to start in June 1910, when Col. Ogden located the site. It had not

started by October. In December, heavy rains made roads impassable and all work was stopped. When work finally was resumed, a heavier derrick was chosen and drilling did not get underway until November 1911

Machinery breakdowns were common and it was often necessary to secure replacement parts from Bakersfield or Los Angeles. (to be continued in March newsletter)

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March 10, 2001