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History of the Midland Valley Railroad



The Jenks Lead is operated on part of the Old Midland Valley Railroad right of way on the Tulsa to Jenks area which was taken over by the Missouri Pacific and ultimately is part of the Union Pacific lines today.







"From the Chronicles of Oklahoma - 1933 Vol II"

The spirit of the railroad building in the southwest awoke again in some of the original Choctaw crowd, of Philadelphia , and headed by Charles E. Ingersoll they decided to build another railroad starting in the coal of Arkansas , and following the banks of the Arkansas River up to Arkansas City , Kansas , a distance of 277 miles. And being invited to become and officer of the new line, I left Chicago in 1906, and settled in Muskogee , yet in the Indian Territory , as statehood had not been established and did not come for another year.

The new railroad was the Midland Valley , and starting in Arkansas , operated through the towns of Muskogee , Tulsa , and Pawhuska. Again, as in the case of the Choctaw, coal was considered the basis of traffic, as the settlement of the new country would require that commodity, and oil had not yet been found in Oklahoma .

The Midland Valley, while it was unfortunate in the fact that its hopes of handling a large traffic in coal were not fulfilled, was on the other hand fortunate in being located where the first discovery of petroleum in large quantities took place- namely, the famous Glen Pool, near Tulsa.

The Glen Pool field was discovered in March, 1906, by Robert Galbreath of Tulsa , and Frank Chesley, of Muskogee , and came in with a rush, bringing in its wake all the big oil companies of the East and also from Texas , where oil had been discovered more than ten years previously. The Standard Oil of New Jersey, the Gulf Company, and the Texas Company were first on the ground.

The Midland Valley was about seven miles east of the first Oklahoma oil development, and the Frisco about the same distance to the west. There were no pipe lines in existence to carry the oil to markets, so the rail lines were the only method of transportation. The Midland Valley quickly built a seven-mile spur and enjoyed good earnings on machinery and oil well supplies of all descriptions going into the filed, and a fine movement of crude oil to the refineries in the Port Arthur Sabine district. The maximum daily production of the Glen Pool Field reached 120,000 barrels. The finding of this oil production so near to Tulsa , gave that city a great boom and established it as "oil headquarters" for all time. Other oil developments on the Midland Valley were the Big Heart development and the Burbank pool, both in the Osage Nation.

In looking back through the years I am struck most forcibly by the influence the railroads have had in the development not only of Indian Territory and Oklahoma , but of all the great southwestern country. The men of vision who built the railroads built also the Southwest, and brought millions in wealth to the people of that part of the country. They served their day and generation magnificently, and the transportation agencies they left will continue to play a prominent part in the life of the country they helped so much to develop.