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Up From the Ground Came a ‘Bubblin’ Crude – Virgin, Utah

If you are old enough to remember the theme song from the old TV show “The Beverly Hillbillies” you are probably humming it right now. 

Washington County’s history includes a brief venture into the production of oil when “black gold” was discovered in the small town of Virgin, Utah not far from Zion National Park.  In about 1930, drillers struck oil at 480 feet.  Pumps installed brought only about 15 gallons a day to the surface, but the small success – especially during the Great Depression years – encouraged local businessmen to try another well.  At 739 feet, they struck oil again – and hot sulphur water.  Although an attempt was made to cap the well, it continued to produce a steady flow in equal parts of oil and hot sulphur water, until the early 1960’s.

Although Virgin’s oil business experienced only limited success, the town did produce stove oil used throughout the territory for many years; and, a derivative of Virgin’s oil was used on area dirt roads to control dust, since water – then and now – was at a premium in the desert.  Estimates of wells dug in the area number in the thousands, though Virgin’s venture into the petroleum market generated only poor quality  products local residents nicknamed “stinkoline.”

You’ll pass through Virgin, Utah on your next visit to Zion National Park, although there isn’t anything left to see of the once “thriving” Southern Utah oil industry.  And, to enjoy the beautiful accommodations waiting for you at St. George Resort Rentals  you won’t need black gold. We look forward to serving your vacation needs whether for a week or a month.

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