Museum volunteers and True Value team up for a new display

When you go out looking at Christmas decorations this season, there's a new display to view.

That's because Taft's landmark wooden oil derrick at the West Kern Oil Museum is now decorated for the Christmas season.

Museum volunteers, with a lot of help from True Value Hardware, have strung Christmas lights from near the top of the derrick to the ground.

Strings of multicolored lights lead to a star near the crown block that tops the derrick.

The unique decorations are a throwback to another taft landmark – a steel derrick that once stood on the east side of Highway 119 at the base of 36 Hill near Harrison Street.

One of the Standard Oil (later Chevron) electricians that decorated that derrick was the late Jack Finney His wife, Olive, and son Neal both volunteer at the museum.

The new museum decorations have been a long time coming.

Director of Volunteers Don Maxwell said he and other board members had been talking about decorating the derrick for several years, and this year they decided to do something.

True Value Hardware joined the effort and donated the lights to make the display possible, with Maxwell and Danny Temple stringing the lights.

The lights were turned on for the first time Tuesday night just after sunset and the derrick will remain lit through Christmas, Maxwell said.