Plantation owners settled area
before Civil War, but town was not established until building
of Great Northern Railroad (later Missouri Pacific) in 1872.
Town is center of huge East Texas Oil Field discovered
1930; over 1,200 oil wells once within city limits; some
still producing. Some remaining steel derricks are nostalgic
reminders of early boom days; now decorated during Christmas.
East Texas Oil Museum-
Every aspect of the oil
boom days of the 1930s is re-created through dioramas, films,
sound and mementos of the oil field, and from the daily lives
of the people. An ancient drilling rig is displayed outside.
Inside, stores and a street scene bring the past to life.
Also, geological exhibits and a simulated 3,800-foot elevator
ride to the oil formations within the earth. Open Tues. -
Sat. 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (till 5 p.m. May - Sept.); Sun. 2 - 5
p.m. U.S. 259 at Ross St. Tel, (903) 983-8295. (On Kilgore
College campus.) Admission.
Films and displays of props,
costumes, uniforms, awards and mementos of Kilgore College's
world-famous precision drill and dance team, known for its
trademark "highkick" routine. The first of its
kind, the Rangerettes were formed in 1940 as half time
entertainment for local football games. Their performance at
bowl games and internationally has brought fame to Kilgore
College. Open Tues. - Fri. 10 a.m. - noon, 1 - 4:30 p.m.;
Sat. - Sun. 2 - 5 p.m. On campus on Broadway at Ross; free
admission. (903) 983-8265.
World's Richest Acre-
On part of one downtown block,
actually about 1.2 acres, once stood greatest concentration
of oil wells in the world producing more than 2.5 million
barrels of oil. All but one of original derricks were
dismantled in early 1960s. The original derrick and eleven
new ones, erected in a historical preservation program, are
monuments to the oil boom of 1930S. A historical marker
details history of the plot. An interesting sidelight is that
one well was drilled through terrazzo floor of the Kilgore
National Bank that once stood on site. Business Route Texas
135 at Main and Commerce St.