According to the Taft, California local newspaper, the Daily Midway Driller, asphalt was discovered and mined in the late 1800's near what is now the city of Taft. The publication started in 1910, so, there may be a little hearsay in the story. Jack A. Bennett was the oil well driller of the first producing oil well on 25 Hills. There was a time when Bennett struck water at a depth of 1000 feet while drilliing for oil. At that time, water was worth more than oil. I think we may be coming back to that point.
Oil Worker's Monument, Taft, California 2015
sculptures by Ben Victor