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When Oil Hit Redwater
Redwater & District Museum
Redwater , Alberta

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   The sleepy little hamlet
of Redwater, in central
Alberta, would be forever
changed when oil was
discovered on the Hilton Cook
farm. Oil companies were on a
quest to find black gold, in
Alberta, after the 1947
discovery of oil at Leduc,
south of Edmonton. The

Imperial Oil Company looked
north towards Redwater and
speculated on finding oil in
this area.
   In the spring of 1948 an
Esso wildcat crew set up a
drilling rig on Hilton Cook's
farm 2 miles northeast of
Redwater. On August 30, 1948
oil blasted out of the

ground, and this would usher
in a stampede or oil workers
that have had a lasting
impact on the community of
Redwater.
   Mable Cook, wife of the
first local boy to work for
Imperial Esso and daughter in
law of Hilton and Christina
Cook, summed up the impact of

this oil boom.
   "There were oil wells
everywhere, when you went out
at night the sky was lit up
with flares from all the oil
derricks; there was even an
oil derrick in the
schoolyard! I could count 6
derricks just standing
outside my door in every

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