Newcastle, Wyoming: World's Only Hand-Dug Producing Oil Well

Dug with a pickaxe, and some dynamite, by Al Smith in 1966. He only had to go down a little over 20 feet. Closed as an attraction in 2005, but you can still see what remains.
US Hwy 16, Newcastle, WY
On US Hwy 16, either four miles east of its intersection with and US Hwy 85 in Newcastle, or about six miles west of the Wyoming-South Dakota state line.
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Hand Dug Well billboard.

World's Only Hand-Dug Producing Oil Well

The world's only hand-dug producing oil well. Completed in 1966 by the late Al Smith, who dug 24 feet into the Newcastle Formation. The well produces between one-quarter to one barrel of almost pure oil a day with no natural gas, distillates, or top ends. There is antique drilling equipment on the grounds. The site looks abandoned, but there are supposed to be tours June through August. Owned by the Accidental Oil Company.

[Bruce-e, 06/30/2013]

Smith turned the well into a tourist attraction in 1970. He built a ramp into the well so that visitors could see oil seep out of the rock, and opened a gift shop in a 10,000 gallon oil tank. But the attraction was shut down when Smith died, age 90, in 2005.

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August 14, 2020

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