Iconic Kilgore oil derrick to come down because of storm damage

Iconic Kilgore oil derrick to come down because of storm damage

KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - If you’ve taken a drive through Kilgore you’ve seen it, but you might want to get a picture because it’s coming down.

The East Texas Oil Museum derrick was bent enough during recent high winds that it’s going to have to be disassembled.

The derrick has stood since 1980, but its day is nearly done.

Dr. Fred Gore, Kilgore College’s vice president of administration services and chief financial officer, said Kilgore’s March 14 storm took its toll on the derrick.

“The derrick shifted during that time, and some of the wood supports on the derrick fell off and were damaged,” Gore said.

From the side, the damage is not apparent, but a look from the front reveals that the derrick is bent. Gore said it’s a replica of the first working wooden derricks in Kilgore.

“It does have a metal structure underneath the wood, which of course is different than you would have seen in the original 1930-era derricks, so it has more structural integrity than they would have had then,” Gore explained.

There is no telling what would have happened if it had just been a wooden structure. The lower part of the ladder is leaning backwards instead of slightly forwards like it’s supposed to.

Oil Museum Manager Olivia Moore said although she’s not from East Texas, she was familiar with the museum before she moved here. She’s saddened by the news, but she understands why the derrick needs to be taken down.

“As far as safety, we do need to do what is best for our visitors, our staff, and Kilgore College,” Moore said.

Since the storm hit during spring break, the damage was not noticed right away.

“We have been working with our insurance; we have been working with engineers as well to see what is the safest way to disassemble the derrick,” Gore revealed.

They are not sure what they’ll do with the remains of the derrick, but Gore said they won’t put up another one because it may “have the same possibility of being damaged by future storms, and the last thing we would want is an unsafe situation."

So the wooden derrick won’t be around much longer, but there are still plenty of metal derricks downtown for those epic selfies.

Kilgore College is open for suggestions from the public about what should be put in front of the Oil Museum. If you have an idea, contact the museum at (903) 983-8295 or email to omoore@kilgore.edu.

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