Located in historic Johnstone Park will be a new replica of Oklahoma's first commercial oil well in Discovery 1 Park, along with the Hulah Depot, a steam locomotive, and the kiddie-park with 30-cent rides.
History was born when a family named Johnstone ventured out of Canada and into the United States settling in Minnesota in 1866. Bringing with them two young sons, ages seven and three, the Johnstones, Samuel and Maria, put down roots in Glenwood, Pope County and established a general store. As fate would have it, by 1876 Maria had developed health problems that would affect the family's future and they removed to Coodys Bluff, Indian Territory four miles east of Nowata in the old Cherokee Nation. Traveling south they arrived by prairie schooner to what certainly must have seemed a vast empty territory. And for Bartlesville an oil legacy was soon in the budding stages.
A lot of water has gone under the bridge since Bartlesville's first oil well gushed, or perhaps a lot of oil. Nellie Johnstone, her pioneering family, the Nellie J No. 1, Jacob Bartles and all the rest will never be forgotten. The community of Bartlesville continues to build on the past, expand the future and give honor to those who came before us.
Several replicas of the original Nellie No. 1 have replaced the original over the years. The first replica was erected over the original site of the Nellie Johnstone No. 1, at the Johnstone Park in May of 1948, which was subsequently removed in 1962. That replica was instigated by Chamber of Commerce President Ralph Taylor. The second replica made of redwood, was built in 1963 and erected on March 5, 1964. In attendance at the dedication of this replica, was W.W. Keeler, grandson of George W. Keeler and Nellie Johnstone Cannon, daughter of William Johnstone and namesake of the original well. This version, badly deteriorated, was a hazard. Again a committee was formed by the Bartlesville Area Chamber of Commerce working with the City of Bartlesville to make plans to recreate the experience of bringing in the Nellie. "Discovery 1 Park - Where Oklahoma Oil Began!" will feature a working cable tool drilling rig and periodic gusher, along with an open air Visitor Center and Path of Petroleum Pioneers. The second replica was dismantled in August of 2007 to make room for the 84 ft. high reconstruction of the Nellie Johnstone No. 1, a replica that is to be part of the coming of "Discovery 1 Park", a five acre site at the entry of Bartlesville's historic Johnstone Park where it all began.
The Bartlesville Area History Museum, located at 401 S. Johnstone will commemorate the birth of the first commercial oil well with an exhibit of the history surrounding that occasion and what led up to it. Included in the exhibit will be a four foot recreation of an oil derrick that represents the Nellie Johnstone No. 1 and will coincide with the ongoing development, planning and construction of "Discovery 1 Park".
Admission: Free Admission
Address: N Cherokee and Hensley Blvd.
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