Hand-Dug Oil Well, Wyoming
Oil wells dug by hand are rare, and one that actually produces oil...well, the hand-dug well outside Newcastle is probably the only one. That alone makes it worth visiting--you can even work the hand-pump yourself!
In the 1960s, I watched as the late Al Smith, armed with little more than a pick, a shovel and sheer determination, began to dig, even though most U.S. oil wells are 4,000 feet deep. But Al hit a geological "accident"--oil-bearing sandstone just 24 feet down --that still produces up to a 1/4 barrel of oil per day!
Newcastle is just west of where U.S. Highways 16 and 85 meet in far eastern Wyoming. The oil well (5297 Hwy. 16) is 4 miles east of the intersection, and about 6 miles west of the South Dakota state line.
Guided tours run between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily from June through August. To learn more, call 1- 307/746-2042.