This early wooden derrick is identified as being near Mt. Carmel. The photo was probably taken in the 1920s.

The Oil Industry

Oil has been important to the economy of Wabash County since 1912 when the first county well was drilled on the Lucy Courter lease. Oil had been discovered in Lawrence County, IL and the same formations were producing in Wabash County. The discovery of oil at Griffin, IN in 1938 led to an oil boom at Keensburg, in southern Wabash County in 1939.

Drilling continues today but at a slower pace. Nearly all the early formations have played out. Water flooding techniques to bring the oil to the surface by use of injecting the formation with salt water improved productivity, but those wells eventually stopped producing. The high cost of exploration, coupled with the low price of crude oil crippled the local oil economy.

In recent years, as the cost of crude oil has risen, a few exploration wells have been drilled, bringing new hope for another boom time

Men of the Oil Boom

Working Wooden Miniature Drilling Rig