MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF VENEZUELA

SHORT STORIES by STEVE SLEIGHTHOLM

Click the title above for a wonderfully engrossing collection of memories & short stories from Steve's many years in Venezuela that will have many of us going back in time and remembering some of our own unique and personal memories of Venezuela!
 
 
 
 
 
Click here to see the collection of beautifully-detailed prints of Venezuela that Steve has found by reknowned Texas artist & illustrator Bob Wygant. The prints were commissioned by CREOLE in the early 1950's.
 
I particularly like the realism and detail of Wygant's style, with the print of Caripito to be a stunning example.
Campo de Caripito, Estado Monagas

Calle de Timotes, Estado Mérida

Iglesia de Santa Ana, Estado Falcón

Paisaje Andino

 

Primera Refineria de Venezuela, “La Alquitrana”, Rubio, Estado Táchira
Arreando Ganado
Carretera de Palmarejo, Estado Zúlia
Cordillera Andina
Playa de Porlamar

 
And click here to see the collection of unique images that Steve has found of 20th-Century impressionist Adolph Dehn's paintings of oil camps in Venezuela in 1944.
 
 
 
These early, historical photos taken at two of the best-known Lake Maracaibo oil camps. The first was taken in 1945, the other two in the 1920's by Steve's grandfather. All of these photos are quite spectacular, and we're grateful that he's sharing them with us here.
(Many of the photos on this page, particularly the enlargements, are high-resolution. A high-speed connection is recommended.)
 
Steve contributed this spectacular aerial view of the La Salina area taken in 1945 and marked up the areas of interest.
Steve writes, My grandfather took this photo back in the late 20's I believe when he was working for Lago Petroleum Corp. It is old Lagunillas and he had a note on the back of it saying that one had to be out of their minds with boredom to go into the village.”

Attached is a very early photo of the original La Salina oil camp. The camp was first owned by Lago Petroleum Corporation (owned by Rockefeller) which was later acquired by Standard Oil of New Jersey in 1928 and then was rolled into Creole Petroleum Corporation when Rockerfeller acquired a majority interest in that company in 1932.

“My first memories as a child start in this camp. We lived in one of the houses on stilts which was on the lake-front just behind the coconut palms in the left forground. You can see the roofs of those houses. If you enlarge the photo and look towards the center, you can see the two tennis courts and swimming pool. There is a lady walking her child in a stroller on the sidewalk and you can see a 1929 car on a the bay-side road slightly off-center-right.

 

Main Street at Midday, Cabimas, late 1920's.
Market street, Lagunillas, 1929.
Busy Maracaibo harbor. On the right you can see pelicans lined up on the roof the the large warehouse. In the foreground, you can see sacks of grain that have been transferred to the pier and which men are loading on trucks. The style of the truck cabs help date the picture -- late 1920s. In the harbor in the foreground are jettney boats for transporting passengers. Further down the harbor is a building with a large printed sign: Tome Cerveza Polar.

Schooner berthed at Lagunillas dock. Workers are unloading supplies from a barge. In the distance beyond the schooner at the dock you can see sails of additinal schooners on the lake. Again, this picture is from the late 1920's as was taken by my grandfather.

 

This is one of the few closeups that I am aware of depicting how the village was constructed. The wooden wall on the left was a wave barrier to protect the homes during the occasional lake storm. Grandfather wrote in his letters to my father that the village was filthy and stunk terribly as there was no sanitation -- just the lake. Both he, my father and uncle used to frequent the bars in the village with other oil hands.
Note the limited harbor facilities that existed at the time. You can see one tanker taking on oil on the long warf. The dike is very low. The string of buildings just off shore are pump stations to move the oil in the pipelines coming from the lake. Also, note how few wells there are.”
A note on the back of the photo written by grandad says that a native worker would pay a real per day for a place to sleep in this boarding house and if he wanted 'company' it would cost Bs 5. Lagunillas village, circa late '20s. Pretty premitive conditions.”

Schooners in Maracaibo Harbor, 1929.