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Little Chicago / Royalties: An Oil Boomtown in Alberta
Museum of the Highwood
High River , Alberta


   Anyone driving down
Highway 22 just north of
Longview, Alberta could never
imagine that there was once a
bustling oil town on both
sides of the road. Packed
into just over two square
miles, Little Chicago, later
called Royalties, grew and
developed around more than 20

oil wells.
   The exhibit begins with
the story of the discovery of
oil and gas in the Turner
Valley Oilfields. When the
Dingman No. 1 well blew in on
May 14, 1914, there was great
excitement. The area not only
produced oil and gas, but
also highly trained people

who would go on and utilize
their skills at oilfields
around the world. The
oilfields declined when
exploration slowed and oil
was discovered at Leduc,
Alberta on February 13, 1947.
   In 1936, near the south
end of the Turner Valley
Oilfields, the Royalties No.

1 well blew in. Overnight a
town sprang up near the well.
Businesses were started,
homes or shacks quickly
erected, and oil workers and
their families moved in. More
wells were drilled.
   It was extremely
dangerous working in the
oilfields. There were very

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