Tuesday, February 02, 2010

My Dad was born in Trees City, Louisiana, just after the First World War. An honest-to-God boomtown little remains of the once bustling town. My brother Jack and I are moving my dad, a World War II vet, to the world-class veteran’s facility in Norman, Oklahoma, so I am reprising my story about my last trip to Trees City.
The last time I visited northwest Louisiana, I visited Trees City. The town was founded by the legendary oil finders Benedum and Trees. These two wildcatters had moved to north Louisiana after finding large oil fields in Oklahoma. They discovered the Trees City Field in far Northwest Louisiana.

Trees City quickly became a boomtown, complete with churches, honkytonks and a post office. During the height of the oil boom, 25,000 people lived there. Today, it is little more than a memory.

Thick trees, vines and creepers cover most of what was once a thriving city. Permanent steel towers, constructed on site for the drilling of a single oil well, still peek up through the tall trees. Even the post office is gone, located now at the Oil Museum in nearby Oil City, Louisiana.

Benedum and Trees sold their interest in the Field to Gulf Oil for a million dollars, an enormous sum of money at the time. The amount pales compared with the vast riches recovered by Gulf Oil. It doesn’t matter much now. Where roughnecks once toiled to recover Mother Nature’s dark liquid bounty, only ghosts wisping silently over Jeems Bayou still remain.