Brief History of Oil Development in East Canyon

This topo map shows the three well sites in East Canyon

There are three known wells in East Canyon.

The first well in East Canyon was drilled by Bradshaw and Beville in 1899. It had a good showing of oil at about 800 feet, but encountered water immediately beneath the oil, flooding the well. It had to be abandoned. In 1922-23, the Occidental Petroleum Corporation tried to pump and deepen the well, but the flow of water could not be stopped. It was not officially plugged and abandoned until 1998.

DOGGR records also show a Bradshaw and Beville well number 2, but it is based on an X on an old map and is highly suspect. There are no records for the well and it is not reported in any of the old reports. I searched for it at the location given, but it would be impossible for a well to be there. There is no road to the area and there is a deep gulley that would have to be crossed.

The Grapevine Oil Company drilled a well in 1901. It was reported to have had no oil showings.

In 1943, well Mendota 1 was drilled by the General Petroleum Corporation. It was abandoned after reaching 6834 feet and finding no oil.

Table of the wells drilled in East Canyon

(From Walling, 1934, and DOGGR records)
Last Well No. Last owner Drilled by Original well No Year drilled Depth Remarks
1 Occidental Petroleum Corp. Bradshaw & Beville 1 1899 876 Plugged in 1998
1 Grapevine Oil Co. Grapevine Oil Co. 1 1901 1300? No records
Mendota 1 General Petroleum Corporation General Petroleum Corporation Mendota 1 1943 6834 Abandoned in 1943 - no oil found

Here is the Mendota 1 well site from a distance. It looks like a foundation or a helicopter pad.

From closer in you can see that the foundation is actually a square with a hole in the middle - like a square donut. The hole in the middle is where the well was and the cement foundation supported the derrick. The black object is my backpack.

These hooks were embedded into the cement, but for some reason they were cut off along with some large bolts.

Here is the Occidental Petroleum Corporation Well No. 1 being abandoned in 1998. Note the objects in the red circles. The object on the right is an old steam boiler and the other object is an old steam engine. The boiler provided steam for the engine. See the artifacts page for their current state.

Here is a closer view of the old boiler. There is no historical interpretive site.

Here is the story from the 1998 Annual Report of the State Oil & Gas Supervisor. The two above pictures are also from this report. As of 2008 there is no interpretive trail to the boiler.

Here is the letter from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to DOGGR requesting the boiler and other objects be left alone

Here is well today

It was filled with cement and capped off with a plate on top. Normally when a well is abandoned it is cut off one or more feet below the surface.

Looking in the opposite direction you can see the boiler (see the artifacts page)

This graded area is on the opposite side of the creek bed and higher up from the Mendota 1 well site. It does not match any known well location. I believe it is the site of the Grapevine Oil Company well. There is evidence of an old access road that goes down to the bottom of the creek bed. At, and around, the GPS location published by the DOG, there is no flat area and no evidence of any road. DOG records for this well indicate that they used old aerial photos to estimate the location of the well site.

From the Los Angeles Herald of May 9, 1900. I think the Grapevine Canyon Oil Co. and the Grapevine Oil Co. were the same.