New Fund Supports Pioneer Oil Museum, Honors Allegany County Judge James Euken

(Nov. 2020) A donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has established a fund with the Allegany County Area Foundation for the benefit of the Pioneer Oil Museum (POM) in Bolivar. This gift, made in memory of the late Allegany County Judge James Euken, will provide an annual grant to the POMs facilities and operations.

Museum volunteer and board member Kelly Lounsberry notes that the museum is grateful for this assistance. “Being a small non-profit, funds such as this are vital to both our existence and the ability of the museum to improve and grow in the future.” Indeed, the museum has completed several projects recently, including the restoration of the marker at the site of O. P. Taylor’s historic Triangle #1 well and setting up a replica nitroglycerin factory. They are now on the lookout for vintage oil field engines that could potentially be returned to operating condition.

The museum preserves a history that Judge Euken treasured, going back to his high school summers working on a pipeline. “Although he loved his career as a lawyer, District Attorney and judge’” the donor recalls, “his passion was his work with oil men. He loved walking in the woods where old oil rigs remained, he loved the maps and the leases and the “get rich” and “go bust” stories of oil prospectors.”

The donor and Mr. Lounsberry, both acquainted with Judge Euken, remember him as ‘a kind and polite gentleman, the kind of man you tried to emulate …highly respected.’ They agree that this fund benefitting the Oil Museum is a fitting tribute.

The Fund’s creator notes “Allegany County has established as its brand Western New York Wild, and there is no wilder nor woollier saga than the history of the oil business … no matter how good the geographic charts, the deals and the percentages, it was all about hunches and luck and the machinery not breaking down … I’d be glad if other friends of Jim might support the museum, which seeks to preserve this industry’s huge position in our county’s history.  Oil men love to tell the tales of liquid gold, and I’d like them to know how much Jim valued their friendship and how much I have been entertained by his retelling of their stories.”

Interested persons can support the oil museum directly or contribute to this newly endowed fund. Contact ACAF at 585-296-5616 or for more information.