1:PC&N – Point Reyes Oil Field Scene

Prototype Research

Point Reyes Station is important for the following reasons.

  • It is the community serving the Point Reyes National Seashore and the gateway to Richardson’s Bay.
  • It was the home of the Pioneer Paper Company, the first paper mill in the west.
  • It was a popular resort stop.
  • Oil has bubbled to the surface.  It is estimated that the largest oil deposit in the US is below it and the surrounding area.
  • It was a stop on the North Pacific Coast RR.

This is a 1920s shot of the Point Reyes Station main street with the Grandi building on the left and the depot on the right.

Point Reyes Station 1920

This is the Point Reyes Track Plan.

Point Reyes Track Plan

Oil Field Research

While oil was never struck in Point Reyes, it has seen evidence of oil seepage.

Point Reyes Oil Seep

There is an oil field in Petaluma, 25 miles to the north and east as shown on this map.  Point Reyes is at the base of Tomales Bay, shown in the left lower corner of the map.

Petaluma Oil Field

This map gives a close up view of Tomales Bay with Point Reyes at the base.

Point Reyes Area Map

The Monteray Formation is a deposit containing oil that is the grey area two maps ago.  It is estimated to contain 1.5 billion barrels of oil that could be tapped by tracking.  Of course, you can imagine the uproar if this was attempted anywhere near the Point Reyes National Seashore.  Aquadic birds and oil don’t live together happily.


For argument and modeling purposes we are going to stretch the truth a bit and assume a small oil deposit was tapped at Point Reyes in the late 19th century, giving the NPC another industry to serve.


Oil Derrick Modeling

The following image shows the mechanicals of an oil derrick that was a fairly standard implementation beginning around 1870.  It is likely that the wooden structures enclosed the steam engine on the left and the walking beam in the middle.

Derrick Mechanicals - Walking Beam

This is an installation of a single derrick.  It shows the Samson Post and Walking Beam.  The steam engine is inside the structure.

Typical Derreck Installation

This is an example of a stationary steam engine employed in powering oil rigs.

Stationery Steam Engine

Modeling the Prototype

I took a look at available models.  One that comes very close to the above photos is Campbell Scale Models Wood Oil Derrick.

Campbell Wood Oil Derrick

This close up of the structure shows the walking beam and related components.

Campbell Wood Oil Derrick Walking BeamThe majority of the derrick and structure components are wood – as they were around the turn of the century,  One of these kits is on its way to me.  I am looking to acquire two more.

Patriot Paper Mill Research

I’ve been unable to locate photos of the paper mill.  So I’ll have to work from published descriptions.Here is a postcard with an early photo of Paper Mill Creek.Paper Mill Creek Photo 1


And a later photo.

Paper Mill Creek Photo 2

The paper mill was powered with a flume carrying water diverted from this creek.


This is a preliminary plan for the Point Reyes Oil Field scene.  It will be updated as the plan evolves.

PCN Layout 7_point Reyes Oil


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