The Early Years of Bartlesville, Oklahoma
In 1897, the frontier town of Bartlesville located in Indian Territory became the site of the first commercial oil well in Oklahoma. During the decade that followed, oil entrepreneurs streamed into the area and exploration exploded in a frenzy of spectacular success and failures. The discovery of oil and increasing settlement led to statehood in 1907. This same year, Oklahoma became the nation's leading producer of oil, a position it continued to occupy or share through the tumultuous years of growth that followed.
Frank Phillips Builds a Business
Frank Phillips, an ambitious barber-turned-bond salesman from Iowa, visited Bartlesville in 1903 to assess business possibilities in the surrounding oil fields. He returned permanently two years later with his wife, Jane, and young son, John. After a series of failures that nearly caused him to abandon the business, a string of eighty-one straight successful oil wells insured success and played a key role in the development of the oil industry in America.
A Place to Call Home
Title to 10 acres of land was acquired in 1908, and by the end of 1909 the home of Frank Phillips was complete. During Frank’s time, the home would serve not only as a place to raise his children, but also as a prime location for elegant parties and business dealings.