Pumping unit donated by Fred and Barbara Holmes stands on top of old crane base
What do you get when you put one piece of history on top of anther relic from Taft's past?
You get industrial art and another decoration for Taft's Rails to Trails.
A formal dedication was held this week for the black and red Lufkin pumping unit that sits atop a pedestal.
The unit that once bobbed up and down in the oilfields rests on the pedestal that once served as the base for a wooden crane that unloaded railroad cars.
Fred and Barbara Holmes donated the pumping unit and one of their employees, Terry Destrampe, helped with the restoration and mounting.
It still bears the sign that marked its owner and location – Holmes Western Oil Corporation 1, section 13, T-32S, R-23E.
The City of Taft and Arts Council of Kern also played a role in the new display located on the walking path about halfway between Fourth and Sixth Streets. It sits on the north side of the path just a short stroll away from the Oilworker Monument.
“Now all the people that walk down this trail can appreciate it,” City Manager Bob Gorson said.
It's just a beginning, though, said Taft Grants Administrator Lucille Holt.
Working with the Arts Council, the city is planning a series of art works called the Historical Taft Art Series that will feature industrial art – sculptures based on Taft's oil heritage.
That will include placing some of the existing sculptures on Center Street atop pedestals.
Holt said she was looking for a pumping unit to place on what was then a bare concrete pillar when Councilman Craig Noble had a suggestion.
“Fred Holmes has a pumping unit. You should call him,” Noble told her.
She did and Fred agreed.
“Fred is a very generous man,” Holt said. “He is a wonderful man and he has been very generous with Taft and we really appreciate it.”
The Lufkin pumping unit that sits atop the large concrete base (now decorated with sheetrock) was from the first lease the Holmes purchased – the Kerr Fee Lease in the Midway Sunset Oilfield near Derby Acres.
They bought it from Phil McCormick, Fred Holmes said.
Just before the brief ceremony started, Holmes talked with Les Clark Jr. of the Independent Oil Producers Agency.
“How many barrels of oil went through that unit?” Clark asked.
“Not enough,” Holmes replied wryly.