Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
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Pico No. 4 Oil Well
Pico Canyon


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Pico No. 4 oil well, 1961. National Park Service photograph.

Tucked against a hillside with its "back" to the viewer, this nondescript little pumper doesn't look like much. But looks can be deceiving. The adjacent plaque correctly identifies it as Pico (California Star Oil) No. 4, the first commercially productive oil well in the Western United States.

The well was fitted with a big wooden derrick when Alex Mentry dug it in 1876, but over the years, wooden derricks gave way to more modern grasshopper-style rigs. Except when it was temporarily shut down for a few months at a time, Pico No. 4 remained in operation until 1990.

Pico No. 4 — actually "Well No. 4, Pico Canyon Oil Field" — was listed as a National Historic Landmark on Nov. 13, 1966. The listing states: "Drilled in 1876 to 376 feet (115 m), this was the first commercially successful oil well in California, producing 25 barrels a day (4 m/d)."

Further reading:

Pico Canyon / Mentryville Index

The Pico Ghost Camp by Arthur B. Perkins, 1962.

The Story of Mentryville by Leon Worden, 1996 ff.


LW2382a: 9600 jpg from .pdf
PICO OIL CAMP

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SCV History Moment

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Early Oil & Gas Production in Calif. (Video 1985)

Standard Oil Co. History to 1929


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Description 1877

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Description 9-26-1882

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Oil Tank Const. & Death 1883

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Mentryville 1885-1891

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CSO Hill 1883

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Oil Works ~1885

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The Pico Field 1890

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PCO Hill ~1890s

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CSO Jackline Plant

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Farrar & Tufts Boiler

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Mentryville 1890s-1900s

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Reamer Patent 1900

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Machine Shop 1910

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Machine Shop 1910s

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Mentryville ~1920

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Pico No. 4, 1931

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CSO Jackline Plant

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PCO Jackline Plant Remnants

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Darryl Manzer at Firehouse ~1961

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Darryl Manzer at Field Office ~1961

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Pico No. 4, 1961

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PCO Jackline Plant Removal 1974-75

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CSO Jackline Plant 1974-75

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