10 January 2015

A View of the Olinda Oil Field, ca. 1910

This post highlights an interesting cabinet card photograph of part of the Olinda oil field taken about 1910.

Given the topography of the hills and similar views, as well as the likelihood that the dirt road in the foreground is Carbon Canyon Road, it is apparent that the image shows a portion of the Santa Fe lease.

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, under its subsidiary, the Southern California Railway, obtained land in the Olinda Ranch and partnered with Edward Doheny, whose Los Angeles City oil field project with Charles Canfield, was a major success in 1892 and afterward.

In 1897, Doheny drilled a well that became a major producer (and still is "on the pump" today as part of the Olinda Oil Museum) and inaugurated Orange County's first oil field.

Known as the Santa Fe lease, the property at the foothills of the Chino Hills range along the north end of Olinda was a successful field for many decades, and is now the location of the Olinda Ranch housing subdivision.  Santa Fe Road, a main road through the tract, is a reminder of the oil heritage there, along with the museum, which is located at 4025 Santa Fe Road in the upper reaches of the development.

The image shows a few dozen wells, associated pump houses and other structures.  The road is a simple dirt one with piles of dirt forming the shoulder.  Around this time, as noted in the last post, the roadway was fully built through to Chino and opened on 9 January 1915 and so has reached its centennial year.

The term "cabinet photograph," refers to a paper photo mounted (or glued) onto a stiff paper board--which were often stored in cabinets.  They were popular from about the 1880s through the 1920s.  This image was provided courtesy of the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in the City of Industry, which collects material relating to the oil history of the Los Angeles region because the Workman and Temple families had oil-related projects in the 1870s and 1920s in the area.

Here is a circa 1910 cabinet card photograph of a section of the Olinda oil field, most likely the Santa Fe lease with Carbon Canyon Road in the foreground.  Click on the image to see it in an enlarged view in a separate window.  Courtesy of the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum, City of Industry, California.

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