Kilgore Texas Oil & Gas, History, Higher Education

East Texas Oil Field

Kilgore, founded in 1872, is located in Gregg and Rusk counties, and had a population of about 11,000 residents in the census of 2000.

The East Texas oil and gas industry dates from the 1930s, and continues to this day to be an important part of the economy and job market of Kilgore as well as Longview, Marshall, Gladewater, Van, Jacksonville and other cities and towns.

The history of oil and gas exploration in Texas is a long one, dating from the first major discovery at Corsicana in 1894.

click to learn about East Texas Oil and Gas History in Joinerville, Rusk County ... and the Daisy Bradford No. 3

In October 1930, the Daisy Bradford No. 3 well blew in Rusk County close to Joinerville and Turnertown, opening the East Texas field.

This giant East Texas oil field extended into parts of Smith, Upshur, Gregg, Cherokee and Rusk counties.

The discoveries and production of oil have led to the creation of many Texas towns, and to the organization of companies which have become national and international players in the oil industry.

Kilgore at one time boasted a single downtown city block with the densest concentration of oil derricks in the world. For more information on Kilgore and its impact on the oil and gas industry, we highly recommend visiting the renown East Texas Oil Museum in Kilgore on Highway 259 at Ross Street, on the campus of Kilgore College. The museum depicts the people and towns of the oil boom using a series of dioramas, movies, sound presentations and antiques. For details, call the museum at 903.983.8295.

For more on the history of the oil and gas industry in Texas as a whole, we recommend you visit the Texas Almanac published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Each Christmas, Kilgore lights up its derricks, helping the city maintain its title as the state's official "City of Stars." The lights are turned on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving and remain lit until after January 1. Downtown is also the site of the the Crim Theatre, which dates to the 1930s.

Oil and gas operations in East Texas

Kilgore is the site of Kilgore College, a well known institution of higher education, and home to the world famous Kilgore Rangerettes dance and drill team.

For more information on Kilgore, we recommend you contact the Kilgore Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Kilgore.

Kilgore Motels and Accommodations


In addition, there are other accommodations in nearby Tyler including a Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Select, Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Country Inn & Suites, Homewod Suites, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn, and others.

Kilgore Texas Attractions

While visiting Kilgore and the Tyler area, you may want to take other interesting day trips in several directions:

    • Jacksonville - to the south of Tyler on U.S. 69
    • Love's Lookout - beautiful 30-mile vista to the East
    • Athens - Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
    • Canton - home of First Monday Trade Days
    • Gladewater - antique capitol of East Texas
    • Longview - historic buildings, shopping, restaurants
    • Marshall - Marshall Pottery, Railroad Museum, more
    • Lake Tyler - swimming, boating, fishing, skiing close-in to Tyler
    • Lake Palestine - boating, fishing, swimming, marinas, waterfront restaurants
    • Toledo Bend Reservoir - boating, fishing, swimming, marinas, hiking, camping, golf, resorts, restaurants

Other Things to Do Near Kilgore Texas


Oil Derricks in Downtown Kilgore, Texas
Oil Derricks in Downtown Kilgore, Texas

East Texas Oil Field - Historic Postcard
East Texas Oil Field