KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - It was in the 1930s when the greatest concentration of oil derricks in the world was right here in East Texas. It’s the subject of this week’s Mark in Texas History by Mark Scirto.
It was in 1930 when Kilgore saw the oil boom. Within days of the discovery of the oilfield, thousands came to town, living in tents and shacks wherever they could find space. Honkytonks sprouted up around town, and schools were overwhelmed.
To deal with the population boom, Kilgore became an incorporated city in 1931.
Before well-spacing rules, this block of 1-point-1 acres became the most densely drilled tract in the world, dubbing it the “World’s Richest Acre.” By the time the acre received its historical marker designation in 1966, it had 24 wells on 10 lots owned by six operators. The acre had produced over 2.5 million barrels of oil and more than 5.5 million dollars.
But for the city, the huge increase in production caused prices to fall sharply, and in August of 1931, Governor Ross Sterling ordered martial law to control production. The boom began to subside in the mid-30s. By World War II, the boom was largely over.
However, the memories remain strong in Kilgore.
If you want to see the World’s Richest Acre, it’s hard to miss in downtown Kilgore. The marker is at the intersection of East Main Street and North.