Oil From Shale

Elko County
  40.82574, -115.77942

"Hmm. I guess there really isn't another alternative for this marker. That business is an eyesore and definitely takes away from the text. Nevada isn't particularly known for its oil, but whenever there was even the slightest refined, it certainly received attention. Attention. That's something this marker isn't receiving. Once you cross Mountain City Highway, traffic all but dies on Old US 40. Time to head in for the night." -- Journal Entry, May 2008

Along W. Idaho Street (Old US 40), 1 mile west of SR 225 -- Elko

Original Date Visited: 5/14/08

Signed: No

  • Marker 229 in Elko
  • Marker 229 plaque
  • Marker 229 looking down Old US 40

Exact Description:
Directly south of this point and across the valley floor are the remains of a short-lived oil extraction plant, which reached the peak of its productive capacity in the early twenties. Driving of the main shaft began in 1916. Of several tries at extracting oil from shale, this was the only successful operation in Nevada.

Robert M. Gatlin, Sr. spent many years experimenting on the extraction of crude oil from these beds before beginning the commercial production of oil. After a production period of less than two years, the plant was closed in the fall of 1924. Hi-power Catlin oil was too expensive to compete with the fossil oils of that day.

Easily 50 years ahead of his time, Catlin did, for a few years, give Elkoans and Nevadans, a dream and the community an oil boom in the Roaring Twenties.

Marker 229 in West Elko.

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