Steel derrick, shotgun house could be relocated to more prominent positions

It's hard to imagine a steel derrick standing about 80 feet tall not being prominent, but the West Kern Oil Museum's derrick is isn't what people notice as they drive past the museum on Wood Street just off Highway 33.

It stands in the back of the museum property, behind the more famous replica of the old wooden derrick and a few feet away from a drilling rig that stands more than 100 feet tall.

But that may change.

Museum volunteers and the Board of Directors are considering a pair of major projects that would involve moving the derrick and another exhibit to more prominent locations for museum visitors.

Nothing is definite, but the museum may end up moving the steel derrick to a position in a large clear area on the north side of the wooden derrick.

In that case, the museum would move ahead with plans to restore one of the early "gin pole" mobile pulling rigs to place it next to the steel derrick to portray old well-pulling operations, museum volunteer Dennis McCall said.

Another project under discussion is relocating an old shotgun house that is also placed at the rear to a spot next to the more accessible tent house.

Moving the two exhibits would centralize many of the major exhibits, McCall pointed out

The projects are part of ongoing plans for improvements at the museum.

Last year's major project, the erection of the Bender Drilling rig, is nearly complete.

Consultant Dennis Murphy, who was hired to head up the Bender project, is going to be hired to work on future projects as well.

While the shotgun house and steel derrick moves are only under discussion, there are more definite plans to continue to restore the landmark Jamison Derrick replica.

That includes placing a belt on the well assembly and other work on the wooden derrick as well as sprucing up the steel derrick.