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Large Shipments by Car at Piru City and Buckhorn Stations. — Most of the Oil Conveyed by Pipe Lines to Ventura.
The development of the oil industry has contributed largely to the growth of Piru City. The various companies receive their supplies at this point, amounting to several hundred tons per month. While many carloads of oil are shipped every month, the great hulk of the output of the numerous wells is conveyed by pipe line to Santa Paula and Ventura. The shipments by pipe line will soon reach 20,000 barrels per month. On the Piru Fruit Ranch considerable prospecting has been done, and several wells have been bored. In the Esmeralda division, near the Piru river, oil was struck at a depth of 900 feet; the prospects are excellent for discovering more oil, and other wells are being bored.
The Modelo Oil Company has a large tank near the side-track of the Southern Pacific railroad; the oil is delivered by pipe line from their wells on the mountain and shipped by car at Piru City. The company has several wells. Two strings of tools are kept at work. David Swarts is the efficient superintendent. The wells are about four miles northwest of Piru and are reached by way of the Esmeralda ranch house.
Near Buckhorn station, in Hopper Canyon, the oil industry has assumed considerable importance. Two companies are operating, and pipe lines extend to Buckhorn station, where there are two large tanks and a sidetrack, at which the oil cars load. The Fortuna Oil Company is pumping 11 wells and drilling the 12th. The wells are two miles up the canyon. A pipe line has been laid from the wells to four large tanks on the hill above the Buckhorn ranch house. It extends to Buckhorn station, where there is another tank. At this point the cars are loaded.
Oil in the Hopper Canyon was first discovered in 1890. The Fortuna Oil Company leased the land for 20 years. The lease has 18 years to run. The company at present is shipping 1,000 to 1,200 barrels per month. The officers of the company are I.H. Warring, President; H. Warring, Secretary; and Santa Paula Bank, Treasurer. The office is at Buckhorn. The wells in Hopper Canyon are only 90 to 450 feet deep.
Two miles above the wells of the Fortuna Oil Co. are those of the Sunset Oil Co., with office at Los Angeles. This company is pumping six wells. The oil is conveyed to Buckhorn in a pipe line, where the company has a large tank.
(Now the property of the Union Oil Company.)
This company has 37 wells; they are plainly visible in the mountains south of Piru City. The output of oil is large (many thousand barrels per month) and is conveyed in pipes to Ventura. The wells vary in depth from 700 feet to 2,000 feet. Piru City is the postoffice and distributing point for supplies. The elevation of the wells is approximately 2,000 feet above sea level. The company is pushing developments. The yield of oil is increasing. Three strings of tools are kept busily at work. More wells are constantly being bored.
The wells of this company are on the mountains south of Piru, a few miles distant — not far from those of the Torrey Canyon Oil Co. The company has 15 wells and proposes to push developments. The oil is conveyed by pipe line to Santa Paula, thence to Ventura. The whole country seems saturated with oil. The work of development will be continued until the output is at least 6,000 barrels per month.
This company is boring for oil on Piru Fruit Rancho. John W. Brunton is President.
Work is progressing in the Temescal division at the Piru river.
In addition to the companies enumerated, oil developments will probably be made on the Camulos ranch. The oil territory has been leased. The Chaffee estate is also prospecting for oil on the mountains above their orchards.
While most of the oil is shipped through pipes, yet many cars are loaded by some of the companies. But Piru City is the postoffice and main point for distributing supplies. The total output of the wells is about 22,000 barrels per month, equal to 150 car loads.
W.H. Fleet is the faithful and popular superintendent of the Piru Fruit Rancho, a position of great responsibility, requiring long experience and much ability. Mr. Fleet was born in Virginia, near Richmond, in 1861. He afterwards removed to La Fayette county, Missouri, where he was engaged in the cattle business. After four years he came to California in 1887, and for a while was employed by the Southern Pacific railroad company in Los Angeles county. He then came to Ventura county. Soon after, David C. Cook of Elgin, Ill., bought the Temescal Land Grant and employed Mr. Fleet.
As superintendent, Mr. Fleet is kept busy, planning and executing. The care of the immense rancho and the many foremen and workmen are under his immediate inspection and supervision. He attends to all the surveying and hydraulic engineering required on the ranch. He knows all about the water system, canals, flumes and pipe lines. During storms he knows how to protect the system from damage. He is entirely devoted to his work. An inspection of the immense orchards reflects great credit on Mr. Fleet and his five efficient foremen. Mr. Fleet owns a beautiful residence and small piece of (ground) adjoining the elegant mansion of D.C. Cook. The place is adorned with a profusion of shade trees, flowers and shrubbery, displaying nice taste. This home commands a fine view of Piru City, valley and mountain scenery.
Mrs. S.M. Padelford has a fine property of 65 acres, farmed by her son, F.H. Padelford. They have lived 10 years on the property. Twenty acres are set to apricots and almonds; the rest of the land is used for pasture and growing hay. Water is syphoned from a well on the hills, back of the house, and the indications are that water can be obtained for irrigation from that source. Mrs. Padelford's home, on high ground, commands a beautiful view of the surrounding country and is made beautiful with flowers and ornamental trees. Around the Padelford home is a variety of ornamental trees, such as fan palms, date palms, sweet gums, pines, loquats, strawberry tree, umbrella trees, century plants, cacti, etc.
H.B. Comfort is one of the old residents, having lived near Piru City nearly 19 years. He owns a fine farm of 80 acres, with nice home. He raises beans, potatoes, barley and alfalfa. He was formerly school trustee and is much esteemed.
A.A. Martin is the owner of 5 acres of choice land adjoining Piru City, and has a very pretty, homelike place, adorned with flowers, shrubbery and shade trees. Mrs. Martin has 70 varieties of roses. The large oleander trees are very beautiful. The banana tree shows the almost tropical character of the climate. This place was formerly a nursery. It has an alfalfa patch and variety orchard. Mr. Martin arrived from South Dakota five years ago.
John R. Black and Henry Wilson are pumpers of the Fortuna Oil Wells in Hopper Canyon.
D. Felsenthal has lived in the valley six years and has one of the finest lemon and orange groves, and likewise apricot orchard, in Ventura county. His place consists of 30 acres with fine water right. Mr. Felsenthal was formerly a prominent and successful dealer in general merchandise in White Pine, Nevada. At present he is president of the Fillmore Citrus Fruit Association. He is also notary public.
Hopper Canyon has come into prominence by reason of the oil wells of the Fortuna Oil Co. It is reached from Buckhorn Station. The road passes by the Buckhorn ranch and soon enters the canyon. There is a heavy growth of oak, sycamore, cottonwood and willow. The scenery is romantic and grand. The canyon is quite narrow, and the mountain walls are huge precipices. The traveller in the cars passing down the Santa Clara valley can have no conception of the wonderful scenery in the numerous canyons on either side of the main valley. In the wet season Hopper creek is a raging torrent and discharges vast quantities of water into the Santa Clara river.
G.W. Alcock is the owner of 15 acres of good land with a valuable water right. He has 2 acres set to oranges, 5 acres to lemons, and 6 acres to apricots. There is also a variety orchard, and windbreak of gum trees, 60 feet high. Mr. Alcock was born in Wisconsin and was formerly in the stock business in Nevada. In addition to caring for his fine orange and lemon grove, Mr. Alcock raises black-eyed beans on rented land.
Geo. L. Cook is foreman of the Calara subdivision of the Piru Fruit Rancho. He came to California from Michigan when a boy, having been occupied in orchards most of his life. Mr. Cook is a practical horticulturist. He has had a varied experience in Northern California, also in Santa Barbara, Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles counties. He formerly had the management of one of the best orchards in the Santa Maria Valley. He has also been placed in charge of the fruit drying yards of the Piru Fruit Rancho.
Piru City will soon become famous for its superior olives. The land in this section is peculiarly adapted to that kind of fruit. Olives grow luxuriantly. The trees bear well in the valley and on the hillside. Olive trees make beautiful borders and excellent windbreaks.
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