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What's Beneath Grand Rapids?

January 15, 1887, Freeman Godfrey, John L. Shaw, William T. Powers, Robert B. Woodcock, Adolph Leitelt, William Widdicomb, James K. Johnston and fifty other citizens formed a $10,000 company to put down a well on Godfrey avenue, with the avowed purpose, as one of the group expressed it, of "going for salt, coal, petroleum, gas or China." The intention was to ascertain the character of the geological formation underlying the city and to determine whether oil, gas, slate, coal or other substances, for profitable use or manufacture, could be found.

At 240 feet there was a flow of fresh water. At 452 feet the water was cased off, and from that depth to 1,205 feet the drilling was mostly dry and through hard strata. Then came sand rock, with a flow of strong salt water. At 1,500 feet there were traces of oil and gas. The flow of gas increased until at 2,200 feet it burned at the mouth of the well, with a bluish flame four feet in height. The quantity of gas continued to increase until strong salt water came in at 2,220 feet and drowned it out. At 2,300 feet drilling ceased.

Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
Created: 16 January 2000
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/etten1926/beneath.html