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Archibald Wayne Dingman


A.W. Dingman's name will forever be linked to the oilfields surrounding Turner Valley, with the famed Dingman No. 1 well that hit pay dirt in 1914 heralding Alberta's first petroleum boom.

"We are only at the beginning," Dingman said as the No. 1 well was completed.


Over ninety-years later his prophecy has been more than proven correct.


Dingman was born in Ontario and got his hands-on experience in the oilfields of Pennsylvania at the turn of the century. He also had a number of interest in Ontario including a prosperous soap business and a piece of the Scarboro Electric Railway.


In 1902, he left that behind after hearing of the appearance of oil in the waters of Sheep Creek. Dingman's interest in prospecting for oil and gas in the west preceded his physical arrival. He and a number of prominent partners had negotiated for exploration lands with the federal government as far back as 1891. In 1900, they drilled a gas well within the city of Edmonton. He then went to Calgary where he formed the Calgary Natural Gas Company, drilling wells on the Sarcee Indian Reserve and on the Col. James Walker Estate. The second well supplied gas for the Calgary Brewing and Malting Company.


Dingman formed the Calgary Petroleum Products Company in 1913, which drilled the Dingman No.1.


World War I ended the first oil boom at Turner Valley, with Dingman's company being taken over by Imperial Oil. Dingman regrouped and formed the Highwood Petroleum Company in 1934, which that same year drilled a large producer in south Turner Valley.


Dingman had great faith in the promise of Alberta, commenting in 1930 that he was "confident that a great future awaits the oil industry in Alberta, and that Turner Valley is just one of the many structures in which large quantities of oil would be found."


A.W. Dingman died 1937, 11 years before the Leduc No. 1 well would launch the modern petroleum age. But his persistence and entrepreneurial attitude set the standard for all that have followed.


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