J. Paul Getty and the Early History of Bartlesville

The following  excerpt from last week’s column profiles one of the many people who made their fortune in Bartlesville during the early days…

“The story begin in Bartlesvile in the early 1900s. Back then the town had about 3,500 residents, most of whom were living in tents. The Right Way Hotel was the only permanent structure in the community and on most days you could find a twelve- year- old boy standing on the corner in front of the hotel hawking Saturday Evening Post newspapers.

This boy was ambitious and after a $5 investment for 100 shares of oil lease lot number 50, which ran alongside Sand Creek near Ochelata, he changed jobs,. In 1910 he was working as a roustabout and then in 1911 his gamble paid off with a 100 barrel a day well came in on the first day of drilling on lot 50. He went on to drill 43 wells on this lease and hit oil all but once. By the age of 23 he had made his first million dollars and he went on to become the richest man in America. When he finally sold lot 50, the site had netted him $336,000 and started his career in the oil industry. You may have guessed that this man was J. Paul Getty…..”

5 thoughts on “J. Paul Getty and the Early History of Bartlesville

  1. J. Paul Getty owned the Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, where they trained pilots and mechanics for the military. In the early sixties they started a Electronic Engineering School, from which I graduated. The head professor at the Engineering school was an older man by the name of Bruner. He told me that he talked J. Paul into starting the Engineering school. At the time J. Paul was living over in Europe. The Aeronautics School is still going today. They have trained thousands of people for the Airline Industry, plus lots of civilian pilots.. Don

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