The History of Michigan's Oil and Natural Gas Industry

Michigan's state motto reads "If you seek a pleasant peninsula look around you". In the Lower Peninsula that motto might well read "If you seek an abundance of oil and gas look beneath you." Michigan has an abundance of oil and natural gas located under its landscape. For over one hundred years Michiganians have been involved in the task of finding those resources and bringing them to market.

"The History of Michigan's Oil and Natural Gas Industry" is the web companion to an exhibit open between August 1, 2005 and February 1, 2006 in the Clarke Historical Library's Francis and Mary Lois Molson Exhibit Gallery and Meijer Exhibit Gallery. The exhibit includes a printed catalog telling the story of oil and natural gas exploration in Michigan, and a large number of documents and photographs that also discuss that history and the people who work in the industry. The web component of the exhibit supplements the physical exhibit with almost 800 industry photographs which are arranged by decade. Almost all of the photographs were taken from the files of the Michigan Oil and Gas News (MOGN) or the private collections of two long-time editors of the MOGN, Norm Lyons and Jack Westbrook. The web exhibit also contains the text of the exhibit catalog and supplemental geological information not found in the physical exhibit.

This exhibit has been made possible by a generous financial contribution from the Michigan Oil and Gas Producers Education Foundation. We are also especially indebted to Jack Westbrook, retired editor of the Michigan Oil and Gas News for serving as the author of the catalog and as a consultant in designing the exhibit.