Eldorado, Kansas

Houses at Eldorado Field, Kansas

Here is what my father says about the camp at the Eldorado field:

When papa arrived there all he had to live in was a tent which he took with him from Nebraska. It was some time before the company put up a "minimum" clapboard house that he could bring his family to live in. In the meantime, he had some things stolen from that open tent, including an extensive collection of Indian arrowheads, pipes, and other artifacts. When the family arrived, there was no ready source of water available, and indoor plumbing had not been invented yet, as far as we were concerned. I don't know how we managed outdoor plumbing either, as the limestone was only inches below the ground level. The Walnut river, unlike the Platte, actually had water in it, altho most of the time it had a scum of oil on the surface, plus discarded salt water from the wells.

We supplemented the tiny living quarters by erecting the tent behind the house, and storing the least essential items there. That lasted until a tornado ripped the tent down while mama was in it, and the ridgepole gave her a resounding lick on the head. The house cost the family nothing, but the company erected a couple of better-quality houses next to ours, one of which we eventually moved into. That same tornado had shifted that house catty-cornered on its foundation the year before, and levelled some 300 or more derricks in the field. It wasn't until close to the time that the family left that a school had been built within walking distance from our home.

Derricks were everywhere, even, eventually, in our own front yard. Some of the oil receiving tanks were erected so hurriedly that they had no tops on them. A catwalk of a 2 by 10 inch plank was laid across the top of the open tank, and that is what the pumper used in case he had occasion to cross the top of the tank. One day mama missed Ruth being around, and when she started looking for her, there she was, blissfully walking across the catwalk. Mama nearly had heart failure, but didn't dare distract Ruth in that precarious situation, lest she fall off into the tank. So she went to the tank as calmly as possible, and told Ruth something to the effect that it was time to quit playing around the tank and come home. Footnote: If Ruth had fallen into the tank unnoticed, she would have sunk immediately to the bottom, and nobody would have known what had become of her.
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This file was last updated on 7/15/2004.

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