Bluebonnet at the East Texas Oil Museum

Bluebonnet at the East Texas Oil Museum

MBC is the first to admit that a book about an oil museum sounded boring to her at first. But after our visit to the East Texas Oil Museum in Kilgore, she proclaimed it was like visiting Disney World!

MBC’s cousins, Guy and Billie Oliphint, were longtime Kilgore residents, and Guy was a docent at the museum. He gave MBC, illustrator Benjamin Vincent and myself a tour, and work began very quickly on the book. The goal was to have the book ready for the October, 2005 celebration of the 75th anniversary of the oil field discovery, and the 25th anniversary of the museum opening.

For this story, I was happy to reunite with my sister Irmadillo. Her husband, “Dad” Joiner Dillo, was named for Columbus Marion “Dad” Joiner, who had a dream about discovering the oil field. Their four sons (armadillos always have a litter of four, either all boys or all girls) have oil-industry namesakes: Bradford, named for Daisy Bradford, who owned the farm where the oil field was discovered; Lloyd, named for geologist Dr. A.D. Lloyd; Hunt, for oilman H.L. Hunt; and Wildcatter, for Wild Cat Creek, home of America’s first oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

My nephews showed me all around the museum, where I learned first hand about life in a “Boomtown” in the 1930’s. As MBC said, the exhibits make you feel like you’re at Disney World.

The book was printed in Singapore and shipped to Pelican Publishing’s home in New Orleans. However, just before the book was due to arrive, Hurricane Katrina hit. The ship was diverted to Houston, where several boxes of books were taken off the ship and put on a truck bound for Kilgore. The books arrived at the museum the day before the celebration!

The celebration was a grand and glorious event with a performance by the Kilgore Rangerettes, lots of dignitaries bringing greetings and a keynote address by Kilgore’s favorite son, the late pianist Van Cliburn. If you ask MBC about her favorite memory of that day, she would say it was getting to meet Van Cliburn and shake his hand! She thinks it improved her piano playing immensely!

The East Texas Oil Museum is indeed a fun place to visit. MBC and her husband, Vic, took their grandchildren last summer, as pictured below. A good time was had by all!

Hope you’ll be able to visit Boomtown soon!

Bluebonnet Armadillo

Ana and Bluebonnet
Revol, Patrick, Vic, Ana, Bluebonnet