Oil was found in the Orange Oil Field at 8:05 p.m., Aug. 17, 1913.

The Orange Oil Field Centennial Celebration will begin at 3 p.m., Aug. 17 with the opening of the Orangefield Cormier Museum.

A dedication ceremony for the State Historical Marker commemorating old Orangefield will be held at 5 p.m.

Barbecue dinners will be available for $8.

Live music begins after the dedication ceremony. Britt Godwin and BB & Company  will start playing at 7 p.m.

Children should come dressed for play because there will be plenty of activities for them, including water slides, a petting zoo and an obstacle course. Snow cones and popcorn will also be offered.

At dark, weather permitting, there will be a fireworks show.

“Come help us celebrate and see all of the new displays that we have added,” said Harvey Wilson of the Orangefield Cormier Museum Committee.

According to Wilson, the first attempt to drill for oil was in 1903 when natural gas was seeping into water wells and sulfur springs were detected along with paraffin dirt in the area.

“There were high hopes that the land six miles west of Orange and 14 miles east of Spindle Top was filled with oil.”

The J.W. Link Co. drilled the Josh Bland #1 to 1900 feet, a very deep hole in those days.

“It was plugged as a dry hole.”

Ten years later the Rio Bravo Oil Company decided to drill deeper. Oil was struck at a depth between 3,209 and 3,227 feet. No. 1 Bland produced 150 barrels of top grade petroleum a day.

“The well was said to ‘head’ like Old Faithful every 50 minutes and was the deepest well drilled in Texas at this time,” said Wilson.

Ten years later, Alpert Phenis, a writer for the Fuel Oil Journal labeled the Orange County field as possibly the most astonishing oil development the world has ever known.

“Those of us from the Orangefield Museum agree with Mr. Phenis. Oil and gas has been a tremendous part of the history in Orange County and it all started right here, one-half mile northwest of us and one-half mile southeast of us. The oil industry was big through the 20s, 30s, into the 50s, 60s and surviving even today,” said Wilson.

A new oil well was recently discovered only a mile down 105 towards Orange said Wilson.

The committee has worked hard to develop a fitting celebration for the centennial anniversary. They are still seeking volunteers to help the day of the event.

“We will need help in the museum for crowd control, safety, and sales of Tee-shirts and caps. We will also need help from about 5:30 until 8 p.m. in the food line,” said Wilson.  “We hope to have enough people to do a shift of possibly an hour and a half.”  To volunteer, call Wilson at home: 886-4804 or on his cell at: 409-670-8992.

“I will be inside the museum without phone service much of the time, so if you can’t get my cell leave a message on my home phone. We don’t overwork anyone, so if you cannot give that much time let us know what you can do.  If you cannot help, then please come to the celebration and enjoy the festival,” said Wilson.

“I do hope all of you will put this on your calendar,” he said.

A wooden derrick replica of the first oil well has been built on the Orangefield Cormier Museum grounds. 

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.