Santa Rita Oil and History Day At the Railway Museum of San Angelo
In 1900 folks in San Angelo found out that an international railroad was planning to go through West Texas. While the Santa Fe RR came to the town in 1888, San Angelo was basically the end of that line in this part of Texas. The foresight of the San Angelo Citizens Committee which was formed to entice the new The Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railroad through San Angelo paid off big for the city especially in 1923. The first oil well in West Texas and New Mexico, Santa Rita #1, gushed into being May 28, 1923 just 140 feet from the KCM&O track. The first weekend of June 1923 the KCM&O RR ran a special train from San Angelo to the site of the well in time for the group of over 1000 people including oil men from East Texas and Pennsylvania to see the well gush in just like old Faithful at 3 pm for 20 minutes. The site of this well on State University land is responsible for start of the enormous University of Texas and Texas A&M Permanent University Funds that are currently valued at over 18 billion dollars, not including the value of the land.
Santa Rita number 1 also kicked off land rush and turned San Angelo into the first Oil Capital of West Texas with over 40 oil companies locating here.
To Celebrate the event the Railway Museum of San Angelo is hosting the 3rd annual Santa Rita Oil and History Day from 10 to 4 this Saturday at the 105 year old Passenger Depot located 703 S. Chadbourne St.
During the day you and your family can tour the Railway Museum and see several new exhibits about the start of San Angelo’s and West Texas’s rich history and the importance the Railroad and Oil played in the developing the area. You can also tour through the museum’s Caboose and two Train Engines on the siding across from the 1910 Historic Depot. The Museum’s 1938 Railroad Motor Car will be on display along with another motor car that are owned by a Museum Volunteer. Many photos and information about Santa Rita #1 and the town that grew up around it, Texon, will be featured including a 14 foot panoramic photo of Texon in its heyday.
At the height of the 20's and 30's oil boom it was said that a train of oil tank cars would roll through San Angelo every hour. Today Oil is again playing a major part in the increase of several hundred cars a week in Rail traffic.
For more information check the Museum website www.railwaymuseumsanangelo.homestead.com
or call David Wood 325-657-4880.