Thursday, September 01, 2011

Oil Then and Now

At the turn of the century, the Twentieth that is, my grandfather William (Billy) lived on a farm in Compton California. He got 15 acres from his parents and built a home from his wife and family. On the home property he grew corn, beans and other vegetable crops to sell at the farmer's market in Los Angeles. He also leased land to grow hay as an additional source of family income.

I remember Grampa telling stories about the nearby La Brea Tar Pits when they were first being explored. That must have been something to see. Back at the ranch (literally), an oil company was drilling the Moreland #1. Back in those days, you got the mineral rights with the land. Today it is all big business.

Offshore from Long Beach and Seal Beach you see oil platforms working day and night. Onshore there are pumps that look like giant insects sucking the oil out of the depths of the earth. The Moreland #1 and #2 never hit oil, but working as the night watchman, Grampa earned enough credits for a Social Security retirement income. Farmers and farmer's wives don't get much of that. -- Margy


  1. I lived in California until I was 10 (my dad's family are Californians way back, and my mom's family has been in Whatcom County since the 1880's) and it seems wherever we drove outside the cities, we would always see those oil drilling (pumping?) machines going up and down. They reminded me of big birds or dinosaurs.

  2. When oil was first discovered in the North Sea we were all going to get free electricity in the UK. Yeah right, 40 odd years on, oil prices have gone through the roof and nothing is free!!!

  3. lizziviggi - When I was little we would go past the pumps often. I always wanted to get on and ride them like a horse.

    Fran - When the mill in Powell River built the dam on Powell Lake they provided all of the town with electricity. The last I heard, they still pay a portion of the townsite (the old mill town) homes hydro bills.



We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy