The Jameson # 17 oil derrick, which was drilled in 1917 and produced until
the 1980's, was scheduled to be torn down. In 1974 the local American
Association of University Women and several dedicated people convinced
Jameson Oil Company to donate the wooden derrick along with three acres
of land to give the West Kern Oil Museum, Inc. a promising start.
The Jameson # 17 was the last standing wooden derrick in California,
outlasting more than 7000 wooden derricks that covered the Midway-Sunset
Field. Due to safety issues the derrick finally had to be torn down in 2003.
However, the museum had the original plans, and in 2005 raised an exact
replica of the derrick. Today, the replica stands over the original well, and is
a part of the museum, which has grown to 8 acres.
The story of the oil companies, of everyday life in early oilfields and
camps, as well as the story of oil itself are exhibited and
interpreted within the museum.
The museum, run entirely by volunteers, is dedicated to collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting artifacts, books, and equipment that
tell the story of oil in California, particularly in West Kern County.