Motorists Visit Site Where First Oil Well Was Drilled Member of Earle C. Anthony Company Explores Historic Spots in Overhauled Reo. San Francisco Chronicle | Sunday, December 1, 1918.
Near the little town of Newhall, thirty miles north of Los Angeles, is the first oil well ever drilled in California. It is located near the head of Pico canyon and was put down more than half a century ago.
While hunting deer in the Newhall hills a Mexican named Ramon Perea found a black sticky fluid exuding from the side of the canyon and, through curiosity, gathered some of it in a canteen and showed it to J. Del Valle, who was living on the Camulos rancho (Ramona’s home), near Piru. He in turn submitted it to Dr. Gelsich [sic; s/b Gelcich], formerly of Pennsylvania, who pronounced it petroleum.
A company was formed for its exploitation and placer claims staked and filed. It was nearly five years later than the discovery before a well was sunk. The old spring-pole method was used, and some ten years later a steam engine was installed and the well deepened. During its early days the well had a production of from seventy to seventy-five barrels a day, and, while it is still producing, it averages slightly less than three barrels per day at present, as the ground has been covered by a forest of derricks which rise from the side of the canyon and extends well up on the ridges.
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