Discovery well for Big Lake oil field. First gusher in Permian Basin; first University of Texas producer. On land once thought almost worthless. Fruit of the faith of Big Lake lawyer Rupert Ricker. Though in 1919 no oil had been found within 100 miles, Ricker got leases on 431,360 acres of University of Texas land in Crockett, Irion, Reagan and Upton counties. Soon working with him were P. G. Stokes, Big Spring; Frank Pickrell and Haymon Krupp, El Paso; and others. Their wildcat well, 1/2 mile south of this site, on Ollie Parker's Ranch, was drilled by Carl Cromwell. Dee Locklin was tool dresser. Slow and hard drilling made crew name well for Santa Rita, Patronness of the Impossible. 4 years, 2 months and a day after permit was filled, and at 3,055 feet, well pressure tossed the rig's bucket high into the air. Santa Rita was a producer, the date was May 28, 1923. This day the Permian Basin, since acclaimed one of the greatest oil regions in the world, had its first big find. Other spectacular fields were to follow. Multi-millions in royalty dollars have since made the University of Texas one of the world's most heavily endowed schools. Original rig that brought in Santa Rita now is on the university campus.
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