Buy the DVD

Taming 1
Taming 2
Taming 3
Taming 5
Taming 6
Taming 7
Taming 8
Embudo Depot
Florence Oil
Ogden Industry
Salt Lake City
Soldier Summit
Section Foreman
Cab Safety
Engine Watch



Vol. 1
No. 12

Go to magazine Table of Contents...


Florence -- Second Oldest Oil
Field In the United States

FEW people realize that the second oldest oil field in the United States, and consequently in the world, is located on the lines of the Denver and Rio Grande Western railroad, at Florence, Colorado. It was in 1862 that oil production from the Florence field started, this being three years after the original discovery at Oil City,  Pennsylvania.

The first petroleum was obtained from a shallow well or spring on Oil Creek, by A. AL Cassedy, who came to this section from the oil fields of Pennsylvania, and knew what oil was. He, with James A. McCandless, the founder of Florence, and another man named Murphy erected a crude refinery, and made kerosene, which was hauled to market in Denver, Pueblo and Santa Fe by bull team, and which sold at $6.00 per gallon.

The first deep well was drilled in 1876, to a depth of about 1600 feet, passing through several seams of coal on the way down, for the Florence district is blessed with wealth in coal and cement shale, as well as oil.

Since that time the Florence Oil field has produced over thirteen million barrels of oil, and in the last year a new oil-bearing territory has been opened up, adding from eighty to one hundred square miles of potential riches to the community. There are more wells going down in the Florence field at the present time than has been the case for years, there now being fifteen or twenty in progress, these being, some of them, drilled by the Continental Oil Company, which has large interests in the field, but a large number by independents, both Florence capital and outsiders.

The Continental Oil Company has a large refinery at Florence, manufacturing gasoline, kerosene, lubricating oils and greases and paraffine wax. A notable fact about Florence oil is that it is of extremely high lubricating value, in fact, in the eyes of oil men it ranks with Pennsylvania crude in that regard, and is superior to any other oil produced in the, West.


THERE have been eight hundred wells drilled in the Florence field, and the percentage of dry holes has been small, as even in the early days there would be from 60 to 75 per cent of successful wells. All of the oil produced thus far has been produced from crevices in shale, and every barrel of oil has been pumped to the surface. The wells are the longest-lived known, as there are wells now pumping which have produced for forty years and are still commercial wells. The source of the Florence oil has never been found, but with modern methods of geology the outlook is rosy for its discovery, and there are many who predict that the new southern extension of the field is going to open up the mother pool or sand.

This may be or may not, but the fact remains that the Florence oil field affords a better chance for the small oil man than almost any other. Wells may be drilled very cheaply $3,500 will, in many cases, complete a well which will star in pumping 100 barrels a day, and will average 75 barrels for several years, which affords a magnificent return on the investment. The reason for the low cost of drilling is that there is seldom any casing needed, the strata are uniform and easily drilled, and the holes will range in depth from 1500 to 3000 feet.

The Florence refinery, which, as has been stated, is owned by the Continental Oil Company, was formerly owned by Denver capitalists but they sold out some years ago to the Continental and since that time the refinery has been much enlarged and modernized and now handles not only the output of the Florence field, but also large quantities of oil from Wyoming and the new Fort Collins field, which is shipped in in solid trains of tank cars. This industry is one of the most prosperous along the lines of the Denver and Rio Grande Western and its output goes far toward making Florence one of the best revenue producers along the system's lines.

florence refinery continental oil co c1920 d1-12.jpg (92010 bytes)
Oil Refinery, The Continental Oil Co.


florence oil well derrick c1920 d1-12.jpg (80014 bytes)
An oil well in Florence [built c1880]


Copyright 2005 Sandia Software All Rights Reserved