Standing tall and proud in the heart of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Golden Driller statue is an iconic symbol of the city’s rich oil heritage and entrepreneurial spirit. Towering at a height of 75 feet, this colossal statue of an oil worker has become a beloved landmark and a testament to Tulsa’s deep-rooted connection to the oil industry. Information can be found here.
History and Construction:
The idea for the Golden Driller was conceived by the Mid-Continent Supply Company, an oil equipment supplier, in the 1950s. The company wanted a grand exhibit for the 1953 International Petroleum Exposition, which was being held in Tulsa. Prominent sculptor Hugh Davis was commissioned to design and build the statue. Constructed from steel and concrete, the Golden Driller was an engineering marvel of its time. See here for information about Memorial Park Cemetery: Preserving History and Honoring Memories in Tulsa, OK.
Depiction and Design:
The Golden Driller statue depicts an oil worker, commonly referred to as a “roughneck.” The worker is dressed in traditional oilfield clothing, including a hard hat, coveralls, and work boots. In one hand, the driller holds a large oil drill bit, and in the other, he grips a mighty wrench. The statue’s features are meticulously detailed, capturing the rugged determination and resilience of the workers who played a crucial role in the oil industry’s growth.
Significance and Recognition:
As Tulsa’s official state monument, the Golden Driller has earned widespread recognition and admiration. Over the years, the statue has become a symbol of the city’s identity and a representation of the vital role the oil industry played in shaping Tulsa’s history and economy. It has become an essential part of local culture, often appearing on souvenirs, postcards, and promotional materials.
Relocation and Restoration:
Originally constructed as a temporary exhibit for the 1953 Petroleum Exposition, the Golden Driller’s popularity ensured its permanence. After the exposition, it was relocated to various sites before finally finding its permanent home at the Tulsa Expo Center. Throughout the years, the statue has undergone several restorations to maintain its structural integrity and vibrant appearance, ensuring it remains an enduring icon of the city.
The Golden Driller statue stands as a testament to Tulsa’s rich oil heritage and serves as a cherished symbol of the city’s industrial past. With its towering presence and distinctive design, the Golden Driller continues to captivate locals and visitors alike, reminding all who see it of the hardworking spirit and resilience that defines the people of Tulsa, Oklahoma.