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Great State: It Rained Oil in Oklahoma City for Eleven Days, March 1930 Thanks to Wild Mary

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- Old site surveys tell us the now plugged well sat just south of present day Bryant Avenue and I-240.

It's a quiet, undeveloped industrial area these days.

On March 26th, 1930 it was the center of a huge oil play.

"They were drilling into the new Wilcox Sand formation," says historian Paul Lambert.

At the Oklahoma HIstory Center near the state capitol, Lambert can still scoop up plenty of history on what became known as 'the Wild Mary Sudik' well.

He says tool pushers and drillers were in a big hurry that day to be some of the first to tap into this new, lucrative field.

Describing drilling rules at the time, "If someone had a lease next to yours and they drilled next to you they could drain all the oil from your lease, so everybody drilled as fast as they could."

Starting with the blowout on March 26th, first gas, then oil at extreme pressure began shooting from the well head, some say as high as 400 feet.

"They couldn't get it under control," says Lambert. "It went on for 11 days."

Newsreel film crews made the event famous.

Sticky residue blown by spring winds reached both Edmond and Norman.

"It went as far as the campus at UCO," he says. "Oil residue was also reported at the University of Oklahoma campus."

The HIstory Center archives still hold a big piece of the old well head, blown apart and scrubbed smooth by the pressurized flow of oil and sand.

When crews finally brought the Wild Mary under control they recovered 200,000 barrels from around the well site.

"An estimated 800,000 barrels were completely lost, wasted," says Lambert.

In 1957 WKY Channel 4 reporters went back to the well site and spoke with a few people who were there at the blowout.

Over the years people like Paul Lambert have written about the early, wild days of the Oklahoma City oil field.

Other than a few pump jacks you'd never know anything ever happened here now, let alone the most famous blowout in history.

Lambert says the legacy of the Wild Mary Sudik well includes the invention of technology to prevent blowouts and a change in state laws allowing for the equitable sharing of proven reserves.