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Unrecorded Early California Oil Pamphlet. Bay Area Oil Drilling.

Otherwise-unrecorded investment prospectus for the La Honda Oil Fields Association, representing an early glimpse at the small, but present, oil industry in San Mateo County.

One of the most notable features in the pamphlet is the fold-out panorama of the La Honda north oil field (then, the only active oil field). The panorama shows an area approximately 1.5 miles due west of La Honda, half a mile north from present-day Highway 84, and includes edited images oil wells dotting the landscape. The panorama overlooks a ranch that sits in front of nine proposed drill sites. At the time of the prospectus, only one well was drilled, but many more were in the works. This panorama was produced by Morton and Co in San Francisco.

The prospectus is a fascinating insight into San Mateo County drilling. The prospectus is selling shares of the 250,000 dollar company at $1.00 per share, increased from the original price of 50 cents per share. The pamphlet describes the oil prospects of the region, followed by a discussion of the historical development of oil:

The latter part of the Nineteenth Century, and the first part of the Twentieth Century will go down into history as the oil age.

The other interesting point is the San Francisco price of oil at the time: $9.00 per 42-gallon barrel.

The La Honda Oil Fields

The oil fields west of La Honda exploit Miocene sedimentary rocks, possibly coeval with the now-isolated oil fields in Point Reyes, Half Moon Bay, and Davenport. The first prospect well in the area appears to have been drilled in 1897, according to the present report, but the lack of market prevented further exploitation. Surveys were made in 1916, but again prevented from continuing to exploitation, before the La Honda Oil Association became involved. The conducted early surveys and were incorporated in 1921, and finally developed the north (main) oil field in the 1920s.

Drilling continued at a limited level until the 1950s. In 1956, several new wells were drilled and in 1959, a south oil field, on the other side of Highway 84, was discovered. Between 1959 and 1981, half a million barrels were extracted from the south area. Drilling appears to continue to this day. This pamphlet is an exceptional, early record of the development of these oil fields.


We find no record of this pamphlet in OCLC, RBH, or other means.

Condition Description
16 pages including title. Folding panorama at rear. Printed paper wrappers. Apparently complete. Minor graphite markings on front cover. Some corners of text folded. Center four pages loose at bottom staple. Minor fold toning on panorama.