Oil Legends of the Rockies by John Barton with Jean Torkelson

My reading went slightly off piste this week when I read the non-fiction book Oil Legends of the Rockies: The Remarkable 60-Year Quest for Oil, Power, and Money in Denver and the Rocky Mountain West by John Barton with Jean Torkelson recommended to me by my old high school friend, John M King IV.John M King

Oil Legends of the Rockies is a relatively short book of only 220 pages and recounts the history of the oil industry in the Rockies, centred on Denver, Colorado from the earliest discovery in 1949 to the present day. It also tells the stories of the men behind the oil, from Bill and Maury Goodin to Philip Anschutz and many of the wildcatters who developed smaller fields than the big companies.Philip Anschutz

The book also discusses the importance of Denver as an oil centre. Many of the companies that set up shop in Denver have names that resonate today and include Shell Oil, which was had offices at Sherman Street, while Sinclair Oil & Gas and Phillips Petroleum both had offices at the Denver Club Building while Gulf Oil was located at the University Building, and Continental Oil had its own building too.denver1

Perhaps because Oil Legends of the Rockies covers such a long period of history and the stories of so many individuals the book suffers, somewhat, in that it is a little superficial. However, for anybody studying this subject it is a great starting point. The Oil Legends of the Rockies is definitely a book of interest to a niche market, but despite that it is a useful historical record.

Val Penny


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