"Get out and don't come back!" was the message John Hunton and his oil prospecting party received in 1873 from a mounted band of Arapahoe Indians while filling glass jars with pure crude oil seeping from the sandy ground. This is the first recorded incident of oil prospecting in the present-day Salt Creek Oil Field. In 1889, a well producing five to ten barrels a day launched Wyoming's first oil boom. By the early 1920's, the Salt Creek Field, approximately 20,000 acres in size, appeared as a virtual "oil derrick forest", extracting more oil than any other field in the U.S. at the time and earning Casper the title of "Oil Capitol of the Rockies." Workers from around the world flocked to the area, and boom towns - Salt Creek, Lavoye, Snyder to name a few - sprang to life. Roughnecks worked and played hard, fueled by moonshine liquor made in stills tucked away in the nearby rim rocks. Today, only Midwest and Edgerton survive. The promise of riches from "black gold" led to one of the country's most infamous scandals of the 1920s. In 1921, President Warren G Harding transferred supervision of oil reserves from the Navy to the Department of the Interior. Shortly thereafter, Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall leased the Teapot Dome reserve, just south of the Salt Creek Field,
to the Mammoth Oil Company, owned by Harry F. Sinclair, without competitive bidding. Both Fall and Sinclair stood to make "mammoth" profits. Investigations and prosecutions led to the resignations of Fall and the Secretary of the Navy, cancellation of the lease, and prison terms for Fall and Sinclair. After years of court battles, the U.S. Supreme Court voided the Mammoth Oil lease and returned supervision of the Teapot Dome reserve to the Navy.