Wednesday, June 5, 2013

#21: The 1910-11 Lakeview Gusher (Postcard Blogathon 2013)

Title: "Reflection in Lake of Oil — Lake View Gusher — 29. Copyright 1910 by West Coast Art Co."
Publisher: California Sales Co., Pub., San Francisco.
Year: 1910.
Used: Yes.

Comments: Hey, why don't why celebrate our modern environmental disasters with postcards, like they did in 1910? We could have a whole series of glossy postcards commemorating these impressive events:

Wouldn't that be swell? And such a fine keepsake for future generations.

Anyway, this 113-year-old postcard features the Lakeview Gusher, one of the largest accidental oil spills in world history. Over the course of 18 months in 1910 and 1911, 9 million barrels of crude oil spewed from Lakeview Gusher Number One in Kern County, California.

According to a 2010 Los Angeles Times article, "The site became a tourist attraction. Special trains carried gawkers to Taft. Preachers showed up to lead prayers that the geyser of crude 'would not flood the world' ... [And] some folks saw the gusher as a sign of disapproval from the Almighty. Hadn't one preacher in Pennsylvania warned drillers that the oil was meant to remain in the earth to 'kindle the fires of Hell'?"

Perhaps the person who wrote and sent this postcard was one of those gawkers who traveled to the "tourist attraction." He sent his postcard to Norristown, Pennsylvania, and wrote:
East Bakersfield
Sept. 5, 1910.
Received your welcome card and was glad to hear from you. This view is of the Famous oil well at Maricopa, maybe you have read about it. Hope everybody is well. I remain yours truly.

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Papergreat's Chris Otto is spending June 5, 2013, blogging as many vintage postcards as possible. It's "The Fast and Furious" (and hopefully also "The Fun") for ephemera lovers and deltiologists. Read all of the posts starting here. If you don't, he will drink your milkshake.

1 comment:

  1. Back when I was trading postcard with the sole purpose of being the one to die with the most postcards, the theme "disasters" was quite popular. I didn't collect that theme, but would seek it out the cards to trade with others. Then 9/11 happened and postcards of WTC became extremely popular. There were even those who wanted postcards of the buildings collapsing. At that point I decided this was not a realm I wanted to participate in and it was pretty much then I stopped "trading" postcards and started exchanging correspondence that happened to be on the back of postcards.