Minnesota Oil Boom

Wildcatting Minnesota Oil -- Boom or Bust?

The Minnesota Oil Boom was sparked by a Missouri mining engineer visiting his doctor in Rochester in 1923. In between treatments, he whiled away the time “going up the country,” touring the surrounding landscape. He confided to his doctor that he liked the “lay of the land,” and that many of the geologic formations resembled oil field operations out West.

The engineer must have been particularly persuasive because soon a local realtor joined them to form a wildcatting syndicate called the Rochester Oil and Development Company. The plan was to enlist 25 wealthy, local...