Meet Oil Geek, Ken Bailey

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MEET OIL GEEK Ken Bailey. I have been a Midwesterner most of my adult life, but I grew up out in the Rangely oil patch decades ago. This historic field, the biggest in the Rocky Mountain states, tapped mile-deep Weber Sands and exploded into reality during the World War II years and thereafter.

A huge boom came out of the need for war petroleum, despite the place's remote location and lack of roads and infrastructure (they had said a railroad was coming for years) ... and the town of Rangely was born out of these boom years.

A man named Fred Nichols had run a General Store, Post Office, and Gas Station throughout the 1930s, when oil in Rangely was a few shallow wells pulling out of the paltry Mancos Shale, but it was the opening up of the much-deeper Raven A-1 Discovery Well (drilled in 1932-33 but shut-in until WWII) that led to the boom and the creation of Rangely as a formal town.

Almost 500 deep wells later, Rangely settled down amidst a sea of towering derricks and pumping "horse head" walking beam pumps, laid out in carefully-spaced "forty-acre" rows. New technology led to the elimination of most of these in the decades that followed, but Rangely is still very much a viable field, now run by Chevron Oil and called a "Unitized" field.

I love the earlier period of the derricks and walking beams, the era in which I lived at the very time it was starting to fade away.

Come back with me now and explore what was before my time (through historical photos and information), in my time (through my own photos and those of others) and what has been since. Join me in being a FAN OF THE RANGLEY WEBER OIL FIELD!

(This is the title slide to the companion page, RANGELY OIL FIELD HISTORY CLUB. But it fits well here at this time also, as I as scheduled to be the presenter at the next Rangely Museum "Fireside," over Labor Day weekend at Septemberfest).