When Oil Hit Redwater

Creator(s): Redwater & District Museum

A History of the Oil Industry in Redwater, Alberta

The sleepy little hamlet of Redwater, Alberta, would be forever changed when oil was discovered on the Hilton Cook farm. Oil companies were on a quest to find black gold in Alberta, after the 1947 discovery of oil at Leduc, south of Edmonton. The Imperial Oil Company looked north towards Redwater and speculated on finding oil in the area.

In the spring of 1948, an Esso wildcat crew set up a drilling rig on Hilton Cook's farm two miles northeast of Redwater. On August 30, 1948, oil blasted out of the ground, ushering in a stampede of oil workers that would have had a lasting impact on the community.

In this Community Memories exhibit, the Redwater Museum tells the story of how a small community was changed overnight through the recollections of some of those who were impacted by the 1948 oil boom.

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