Mentryville Page
One of the first oil towns in California

Posted August 2021

August 2021

Mentryville was one of the very first oil towns in the state. By 1880 as many as 100 families lived here it was a full town named after Charles Alexander Mentry, who drilled the first commercially successful oil strike in California just a short distance up the canyon. [ ]

This is where the California Star Oil Works Company was founded - they later became Standard Oil Company of California.
By 1900 74 oil wells produced 100,000 barrels a year.
Horses pulled oil wagons to the refinery in Newhall. [ ]

One thing the town lacked was a bar. Mentry had reportedly imbued the town with his puritanism as well as his name prohibiting drinking and the use of foul language.
When Mentry died in 1900 - the entire town of more than 200 people, except three left behind, traveld to Los Angeles for his funeral, bringing with them a large floral arrangement in the shape of an oil derrick. Pico Cottage was not only Mentry's home but other superintendents and foremen and their families as well
Mentryville's Barn and chicken coop were built in the 1890s. Mules and horses pulled equipment and oil wagons to Newhall and hauled in barrels of clean drinking water for a nearby canyon
Felton Schoolhouse built in 1885 educated children up to eighth grade. Named after the president of Pacific Coast Oil, Charles N Felton, - who later became a US senator

All that's left in this town is Mentry's restored home, barn, and Felton school. It is a park with hiking trails.

Mentryville parallels that of other flash in the pan boom towns that sprouted suddenly and died quietly throughout California during the 1800s.

Nearby up the hill is Johnson Park, the oil company picnic area.

Mentry drilled pico 1 2 3 but it was pico #4 that struck big! pico # 4 was the first commercially successful oil strike in California 1876 and the longest running well on record until it was capped in 1990. The pico number 4 well [ ] is less than two miles up the canyon