Opening of 'Built by Gas' exhibition at Farmington Museum delayed until November

City official says unforeseen circumstances led to postponement

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
A 1940s replica gas station will be part of the "Built by Gas" exhibition opening next month at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park.

FARMINGTON — City officials have announced that an exhibition scheduled to open next weekend at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park has been postponed until next month.

The "Built by Gas: 100 Years of Commercial Gas in the San Juan Basin" exhibition was slated to open on Saturday, Oct. 23 at the museum, 3041 E. Main Street, with an opening reception. But the opening — which had been timed to come just two days after the 100th anniversary of the drilling of the first commercial gas well in San Juan County on Oct. 21, 1921 — now has been delayed until next month.

In an email to The Daily Times, Christa Chapman, marketing and public relations specialist for the City of Farmington, said the opening has been moved to Friday, Nov. 12. She said unforeseen circumstances led to the postponement.

She said the city would issue more information later this week about the opening reception for the exhibition.

More:Farmington Museum plans exhibition focusing on birth of energy industry in San Juan County

"Built by Gas" covers the drilling of that first well in San Juan County approximately 1 mile south of Aztec adjacent to what is now U.S. Highway 55 and the subsequent growth of the energy industry in the Four Corners. The exhibition includes a replica 1940s gas station, interactive computer elements, historic photographs and a timeline built into the floor for visitors to follow.

Museum director Bart Wilsey has said the exhibition will remain on display for at least two years after it opens. He said it eventually will be paired with another long-term exhibition that chronicles Farmington's history and examines the impact of the energy industry on the city's development.

Another event related to the 100th anniversary of the county's first commercial gas well also has no date. Patty Tharp, the San Juan County Historical Society president, said the organization plans to place a granite monument at the site of the well soon. But the monument is still being constructed, she said the ceremony will not be scheduled until it is finished.

Tharp said the organization chooses one site of historic significance each year to recognize with a monument or plaque. She said when the monument for the gas well is finished and ready to be put in place, the historical society will hold a ceremony commemorating the event. Tharp said she expects that to be soon.

The first commercial gas well in the San Juan Basin was drilled on Oct. 21, 1921, 1 mile south of Aztec just west of what is now U.S. Highway 550.
An exhibition celebrating the birth of the energy industry in the San Juan Basin a century ago opens next week at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or Support local journalism with a digital subscription.