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Railway Museum and Chicken Farm to celebrate 100th anniversary of Santa Rita Oil Well No. 1

Live music, food, a car show and more will be featured in the weekend-long celebration.
Credit: DTSA

SAN ANGELO, Texas — On Sunday May 28, 2023, Downtown San Angelo and the Chicken Farm Art Center will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Santa Rita Well No. 1 in a two-day appreciation celebration event.

From noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 27, all vintage & and show cars will be welcomed to a show and shine at the Railway Museum of San Angelo, 703 S Chadbourne St. Grab a bite to eat from CT Dogs Food Cart, snap a photo with Stalwart Services wooden derrick display, enjoy free sweets offered by the museum, and ask about Living History Tours dedicated to Santa Rita Oil Well No. 1 history.

From 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, May 28, at the Chicken Farm Art Center, 2505 MLK Blvd., there will be a celebration reunion with family and friends associated with San Rita No.1. The event is BYOB and will feature musical performances by T. Gozney and the Old Hat Band, and a special “Pearl” musical cast by Cynthia Jordan. Donation of $20/family requested - Checks may be made payable to Santa Rita #1 Reunion Fund.

According to a DTSA press release, the discovery of Santa Rita Well No. 1 resulted from the efforts of several men over a period of four years. San Angelo’s Santa Fe Depot provided the transportation of the equipment needed to construct the derrick and rig. The Santa Rita Well breakthrough was instrumental in establishing growth & prosperity of small towns around the Western region of Texas. It has been recognized by The Permian Basin Petroleum Association as “The Well that Launched the Permian”. The development and growth of the railroad system in West Texas was initiated by Santa Rita Well No. 1. And the transformation of Downtown San Angelo in the 1920’s was spearheaded by Santa Rita Well No. 1 into a brick-and-mortar metropolitan city. This lucrative oil well also contributed to the establishment of the Santa Rita neighborhood.

Furthermore, driller Carl Cromwell founded Cromwell Airlines, providing air services to Dallas/Fort Worth and San Antonio, Texas. Santa Rita Well No. 1 leasing rights were established as university land set aside by the state of Texas for the financing of the University of Texas and later Texas A&M University.

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