Kilgore: The World’s Richest Acre
Kilgore, Texas was located in the East Texas Oil Field, the richest in the state. There are many stories about people in that field. The Daisy Bradford No. 1 was the first high production well, located on the land of the widow Daisy Bradford.
Lou Della Crim went to church one Sunday morning. While she was in church the well on her land came in and when she walked out of church, she was a millionaire.
The jewel in the crown of the East Texas field was Kilgore. Kilgore became a rich boom town virtually overnight. Eventually 1100 wells would be drilled in the city limits of Kilgore, a multitude in the downtown business district. It became called, “The World’s Richest Acre”. Rigs were spotted so close together that it was possible to walk from one rig floor to another for an entire city block without ever touching the ground.
The derricks stayed in Kilgore as a part of the skyline for decades, then the decision was made to remove them. They had been a part of the skyline for so long that they were missed. Finally in 1986, Winter Dickson Elder told her husband, Jack, “Put back the derricks downtown.”
A movement was started and there are now derricks in downtown Kilgore, centered around “The World’s Richest Acre Park”. The derricks are replicas that pay homage to the oil field that put Kilgore on the list of rich boom towns. It is a nice place to visit. One can see about 30 derricks scattered around the city and tour the restored railroad depot.
Kilgore is also the location of Kilgore College. The college is the home of the world famous Kilgore Rangerettes, but that is a whole ‘nuther story.