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Home  >  Digital Archives  >  Industry  >  Oil and Gas
Katalla: Alaska's First Oil Well  -  Related Materials
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Visit the Library for More Information:

Alaska's libraries include plenty of audio, visual, and written material about early days of the oil industry in Alaska. Visit your local library or go online to see what's available in holdings all over the state. Take these simple steps:

  1. Access SLED (State Library Electronic Doorway) at
  2. Click on the listing for ALNCat (the Alaska Library Network Catalog) to view the Basic Search window. Go to the Keyword field, and type in KATALLA OIL.

More Reading:

Alaska Geographic Society. Alaska's Oil/Gas & Minerals Industry. Edmonds, Wash.: Alaska Geographic Society, 1982.

George, H. C. The Alaska Oil Fields. 1922.

Jessup, David Eric. "The Rise and Fall of Katalla: ‘The Coming Metropolis of Alaska,'" Alaska History, Vol. 20, No. 1, Spring 2005.

Miller, Don John. Preliminary Report on the Geology and Oil Possibilities of the Katalla District, Alaska. [United States]: U.S. Department of the Interior, Geological Survey, 1951.

Nelson, Arnold G. and Helen Nelson. "The Bubble of Oil at Katalla," The Alaska Journal, a 1981 Collection. Anchorage, Alaska: Alaska Northwest Publishing Co., 1981.

Tower, Elizabeth A. Icebound Empire: Industry and Politics on the Last Frontier, 1898-1938. Anchorage, Alaska: E.A. Tower, 2000, 1996 2nd ed.

Wolf, Lisa. Katalla to Prudhoe Bay: An Entertaining Look at the First 100 Years of the Oil and Gas Industry in Alaska. Anchorage, Alaska: Petroleum News Alaska, 1997.

Archival Materials:

Franklin R. Brenneman Photographs and Letters, 1903-1922. Alaska State Library.
The Franklin Russell Brenneman photographs and papers include one photo album plus letters and various family papers which reflect his and his family's activities in Valdez and Katalla from 1903 through 1922, plus a few items concerning the family after their move to Long Beach, California, in 1922. The photo album contains snapshots of family and friends plus photographs purchased by the compiler. Of interest is the photograph of the first oil well at Katalla. The papers include letters written to Mr. Brenneman while he was U.S. Marshal, and one to him in 1922 from his senior deputy, John Bouse, which details the persons and activities in Valdez since Mr. Brenneman's departure. Other items are two small notebooks or diaries kept by Mrs. Brenneman and legal papers relating to his discharge after the Spanish-American War and his petition in California courts to establish his daughters' births, as well as obituaries and memorial books on family members.

H.A. (Heath Arlo) Ives Photograph Collection, 1910-1940s. Alaska State Library. Ron Klien of Juneau developed the collection of 50 glass plate negatives and 6 nitrate negatives (panoramas), primarily images of southeast Alaska. Subjects include the Cordova and Hyder areas, Alaskan sled dogs, a few British Columbia scenes and various other areas of Alaska. There are panoramas of the Hoonah Packing Company cannery and the Chilkat Oil Company's refinery near Katalla. The images also include photos of glaciers, rivers, and scenics.

Download Documents

(97 KB)
Katalla Oil Well

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