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PHONE: (925) 449-9927
WEB ADDRESS: www.lhg.org




March 2001 Vol. XXX No. 6
Thursday, March 8 @ 7:00 p.m.
LHG Meeting, Carnegie Bid,
March 1st-30th
Splash of Spring, watercolor paintings by Livermore Art Association Artist of the Month
Linda Jeffery Sailors
LAA Gallery, 3rd and K St., Livermore Reception at LAA Gallery
Sunday, March 4th 1:00-3:00 p.m.
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!
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 a new home. Phone 449-9927 for pickup. This has been a fun event for everyone and we look forward to seeing you at the auction!

Pssst, Buddy----
Wanna give your sweetheart a
one-of-a-kina St. Patrick's Day gift??

Shop at the Livermore Heritage Guild's


Duarte Garage, Pine and North L,
Saturday, Much 10, 2001
9:00 All to 2:00 PM

 Page 2

Excerpted from Livermore Herald, October 17, 1967

Bitter Disappointment
Livermore Had Hopes for 'Darfing' Oil Well
by M.R Henry

The Alisal was the Livermore favorite of all the wells put down in what was called the "Livermore oil field."

"Darling" or "sweetheart" could well be better terms to describe the affection which this well had in the community.

Although not organized here and not originally financed here, actual drilling operations were under control of Livermore men and financed by Livermore capital. It was drillled at the time when hopes were highest, following some nine years of experimental drilling, all of which gave promise. Although small -- population 2,030 in 1910 -- Livermore was progressive and aggressive and wanted to grow faster than it could expect with farming and cattle raising as its principal means of support.

At the time, the very life of the town appeared to depend on striking oil. It is impossible today to make understandable the intense hope which prevailed The Alisal was looked to as the well which would produce oil, lead to the development of the field and make Livermore another Signal Hill or Coalinga, then the leading oil producing sections. A strong point was that Livermore men were in charge and they were men in which the town had confidence.

The Alisal failed, although it was the only well which produced oil which was actually used. Five barrels a day was used to fire the boilers of the W.M.&S. drilled nearby. With it, the dreams of a Livermore oil field faded away, to be followed by skepticism However, there was always an underlying hope that some day oil would be struck and a field developed This same hope has persisted to this day on the part of those who experienced the hopes and disappointments of the Alisal and 24 other wells sunk between 1900 and 1947.

The log of the Alisal may be taken as fairly typical of most of the other early wells, but from a drilling standpoint only, not from the manner in which its financing and management were handled. Livermore capital was only a minor factor in the others.

Drillers continually spoke hopefully of the bright prospects as the bit went down, and likewise continually had breakdowns, lost their tools in the well and suffered delays for many other reasons.

The log as the public knew it is reproduced here from the files of the Livermore Herald, indicative of the anticipation, the eager hope and final bitter disappointment.

March 8, 1909 -- Livermore Oil Company formed at a meeting in San Francisco. Capital stock set at $1,000,000. Plan to drill on Section 15, Township 3 South, Range 3 East, near the old 15-3 well.

May 29: Leases on 2,000 acres in Townsend district secured.

June I9: Test well is started.

July 24: Test drilling completed, finding oil sand at shallow depth.

August 7. Contract let with G. S. Mendenhall as driller. Work to start with Keystone rig but full standard outfit to be used when well reached depth of 1,000 feet. Casing to be 14 inches in diameter to start.

September 4: Drilling at 75 feet,

October 23: Oil bearing shale located at 250 feet.

January 15, 1910 Work retarded by lack of funds. Livermore men being interested in company to secure capital. W. J. Connell, high school principal H.B. Varney, banker, and H.P. Winegar, merchant, all of Livermore, to act as directors.

January 21: Livermore people in full control. M.G. Callaghan, insurance man and later postmaster, elected secretary.

February 12: Drilling resumed.

February 25: Trace of oil reported at 532 feet.

March 5: Bailer bringing up several gallons of oil from 600 feet, Well shut down because of machinery breakdown, replacement being ordered from Los Angeles. Stock selling at 10 cents a share.

 Page 3

March12: New part arrived but well had caved in for 200 feet during shutdown and this portion has to be redrilled.

March 19: Drill through caved in section. Work again delayed due to changing casing to 7 5/8 inch diameter.

March 26: Strong gas encountered at 635 feet. Well shut down waiting arrival of an under reamer from Bakersfield. Oil was trickling down from behind casing.

August 28: Pumping started, 20 barrels of oil being taken from well and used as fuel for boiler. Sand filled the hole for several hundred feet, packing so tightly it would have to be drilled out.

Octobe 8: Financial difficulties surmounted. Sand to be drilled.

October 15: Sixty feet of sand removed and well back on pump. Oil stream from pump small but increasing.

October 22: Pumping. Sand occasionally clogging pump.

November 5: Sale of stock authorized to finance purchase of standard rig and drilling of another well. Production from this well not sufficient to justify continuance of pumping but drillers felt that by drilling further back on the formation and deeper that good production could be obtained Pumping five barrels a day Oil used to fire boiler, at both Alisal and W.M.&S. and as a demonstration used tin cook stove in N.D. Dutcher & Son hardware store.

December 17: Sufficient funds subscribed to erect a standard rig on a new location but it was decided to postpone action until spring as roads to well were impassable due to heavy rains.

September 23, 1911: Paid its state license tax, renewed its leases and hoped to start drilling again.

September 10: Considered proposition from a driller to clean out well and develop oil which it produced, the directors being convinced this was not accurately determined when drilling had been stopped. The driller offered to take his pay in stock of the company.

October 21: Statement by Col. Ogden, who located the well, said Alisal was actually a test well. He spoke of it in the past tense, indicating no further activity could be expected.

December 16: History of well reviewed in San Francisco Call feature story on possibility of oil field at Livermore.

December 23: May renew activities.

March 23, 1912: Drilling plans failed after long delay and assessment of one-fifth of a cent a share levied.

April 6: Nearly all assessments paid.

May 18. All bills paid, but affairs still upset.

February 1, 1913: Suit filed against Alisal, together with W.M.&S., Independence and Monterey Southern Oil Co. of San Francisco, by property owners holding leases demanding companies to abandon premises and remove all machinery within 90 days because of cessation of work. The Alisal had long before stopped all work.

Except for the strong local interest because of Livermore capital and management, this drilling log was typical of all the shallow wells- 1,500 feet and less. Hope flared up and died down as drillers made optimistic announcements, then reported breakdowns, cave-ins, loss of tools and finally abandonment

And yet, there is still evidence that there were grounds for faith. Bulletin 140 of the state division of mines reported on a study of the area by geologists in 1948. It said "Oilstained sand can still be seen in a tunnel about 500 feet below the Alisal well."

(Part 3 will be in May newsletter)

 Page 4

Hamilton Ranch 1912


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March 11, 2001