KILGORE TEXAS

TEXAS REGIONS

PINEY WOODS

Kilgore became a town in 1872 with the completion of a railroad between Palestine and Longview that chose to plot its path through the new town of Kilgore.

Kilgore slowly grew over the years, a quiet little town with its economy based on agriculture.

And then in 1930 Kilgore suddenly found itself known world-wide with the discovery of a huge oil field. Eventually over 1,200 oil wells were drilled inside Kilgore's city limits. Some of those oil wells are still producing.

The Great Depression had caused a steep decline in cotton prices. Most of Kilgore was involved in some way with cotton production. Then suddenly Kilgore went from being a ghost town to a boomtown when wildcatter Columbus M. Joiner struck oil in the neighboring town of Henderson. The well is known as Daisy Bradford #3. This well was the first of what became known as the East Texas Oilfield.

If you watched the TV show Dallas. It was in the East Texas Oilfield and Kilgore oil boom that fictional Jock Ewing made his first fortune.

By 1936 Kilgore's population had grown to 12,000. The oil rush overwhelmed Kilgore's civic services, like law enforcement. At one point the rowdiness got so out of control it became a martial law situation with the Texas Rangers called in as peacekeepers.

Kilgore is on the Holiday Trail of Lights

There is one area of Kilgore known as the "World's Richest Acre." That is a memorial to this area in the picture above. On this 1.195 acre tract there were 24 oil well drilling operations, making it the most densely drilled tract in the world. Even after the oil drilling operations died down the forest of steel oil drilling derricks stood over Kilgore, marking the greatest concentration of oil wells in the history of the world.

In modern day Kilgore you will find the East Texas Oil Museum. This is a very good museum. The 1930's oil boom days is re-created using dioramas, movies, sound effects and relics from the era. You can explore a full-size recreation of a 1930s Kilgore street scene, going in various stores and restaurants. You can take an elevator ride on a simulated 3,800 ride through the earth's crust.

Near the East Texas Oil Museum you'll find the Rangerette Showcase. There you will see exhibits and films showcasing Kilgore College's world-famous precision drill and dance team. with their trademark "high kick" routine.

By downtown Kilgore you'll find the World's Richest Acre Park. Here you will see replicas of the derricks that originally sat on this spot, along with a restored pumpjack and a granite monument to the pioneer oil families of East Texas.

If you find yourself heading east or west on Interstate 20 and you see the exit to Kilgore, it is well worth getting off the freeway and checking it out.

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