"To be compelled to either walk or ride the twelve and a half miles between Wyoming and Oil Springs is a dreadful calamity. The number of mud holes is something wonderful. Not little paltry affairs, giving the vehicle a slight twist and jerk, but ‘big things’, large enough for a horse and wagon to swim in.” Oil Springs was truly an “old west” town, exploding with activity, the opportunist population too focused on oil to worry about managing urban development. The streets were a rough mixture of black crude and mud – the ingredients that covered almost everything in town.
John Henry Fairbank first came to Oil Springs as a surveyor in 1861. He fell in love with the area and put all his savings into drilling for oil. He is often credited with inventing the Jerker Line System, a more economically efficient method of drilling. His enthusiasm wasn’t even dampened by the millions of mosquitoes that exhausted and plagued him during his time spent in the oil fields.