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It was in mid-18th century that explorers discovered oil as well as natural gas in Western Virginia although it wasn?t a state yet then. In 1771, George Washington purchased 250 acres of land in the area because of its oil and natural gas resources and with that, the President had also become the first speculator of the country?s budding petroleum industry. Half a century later and the oil and gas industry were thriving in the state, with major wells operating in California, Petroleum, and Buring Springs. By 1860, many of West Virginia?s locals soon became millionaires and the first oil barons in the country. They helped, among other things, make West Virginia a legitimate state, later serving as congressmen, senators, and governors. Much more of this fascinating side of West Virginia may be enjoyed at the Oil and Gas Museum.
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