Russell E. Havenstrite

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Russell Havenstrite
Born (1896-03-18)March 18, 1896
Lovell, Oklahoma, U.S.
Died March 18, 1958(1958-03-18) (aged 62)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Residence Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Edith White

Russell Easton Havenstrite (1896-1958) was an American wildcatter and polo player.

Early life[edit]

Russell Havenstrite was born March 18, 1896,[1] in Lovell, Oklahoma.[2] His parents were Jacob W. Havenstrite and Jennie M. Stirk.[3] His mother's maiden name was Stirn.[4]


In the 1920s, Havenstrite moved from Lovell, Oklahoma to Signal Hill, California in the Greater Los Angeles area to drill oil.[2] In 1932, he moved to Alaska to find oil.[2] He became interested in possible oil found at Iniskin, near Homer, Alaska.[2] In 1936, he established the Iniskin Bay Associates, together with Carlton Beal (1914–1994), Walt Disney (1901–1966), Darryl F. Zanuck (1902–1979) and Hal Roach (1892–1992).[2] By 1938, they began drilling their first oil well at Iniskin.[2] In 1941, the firm found oil in Newhall, Santa Clarita, California and became prosperous.[2][5]

After the Second World War, Havenstrite drilled again at Iniskin, with the financial backing of Chicago banker Hugo Anderson, the father of Robert Orville Anderson (1917–2007).[2] However, Harold L. Ickes (1874–1952), who served as United States Secretary of the Interior from 1933 to 1946, had blocked him from drilling.[2] In 1946, he flew the Andersons, the Disneys and the Zanucks on his private Douglas DC-3 plane to see his jade mine in Kotzebue, Alaska and his gold mine in Candle, Alaska.[2][6] In 1954, he drilled a second well at Iniskin, but he stopped sometime in 1955.[2] Two weeks after he stopped, Richfield Oil found more oil at Iniskin.[2]


Havenstrite established the Beverly Hills Polo Club in Beverly Hills, California.[7] In 1950, he hired ten-goal polo champion Robert Skene (1914-1997) to manage the club.[8] The same year, he and Jimmy McHugh judged Queen of Mexican Polo contestants at the BHPC.[9] He also played polo at the Uplifters Polo Club in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles with Charles Farrell (1901–1990), Frank Borzage (1894–1962) and Walt Disney (1901–1966).[10]

The Fine Arts Building in Downtown Los Angeles, where the Havenstrites owned a penthouse.

Personal life and death[edit]

Havenstrite was married to Edith White.[11] They had a parrot.[2] They owned a penthouse in the Fine Arts Building located at 811 West 7th Street in Los Angeles.[12] From 1938 onwards, they resided in Beverly Hills, California and attended high society events.[13][14][15] They also went shooting with William Woodward, Jr. and his wife Ann in Cooch Behar, India.[16] Moreover, they attended fundraisers for the Republican Party.[17] He was a member of the Bohemian Club, the Los Angeles Country Club and the Bel Air Country Club.[18][19]

Russell and Edith had a daughter, Phyllis, on September 29, 1922 in Oxnard, California. She attended the Douglas School for Girls in Pebble Beach, California.[20]

Havenstrite died of a heart ailment in Santa Monica on March 18, 1958.[21]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Jack Roderick, Crude Dreams: A Personal History of Oil & Politics in Alaska, Epicenter Press, 1997, pp. 33-35 [1]
  3. ^ U. S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index 1936-2007.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Santa Clarita Valley History
  6. ^ Michael Barrier, The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney, University of California Press, 2007, p. 207 [2]
  7. ^ Mandeville Canyon Association
  8. ^ Horace A. Laffaye, Profiles in Polo: The Players who Changed the Game, McFarland & Company, 2007, p. 138 [3]
  9. ^ Jimmy McHugh and Russell Havenstrite judging Queen of Mexican Polo contestants at Beverly Hills Polo Club, Calif., 1950
  10. ^ Martha Crawford Cantarini, Chrystopher J. Spicer, Fall Girl: My Life As a Western Stunt Double, McFarland, 2010, p. 13 [4]
  11. ^
  12. ^ Cecilia Rasmussen, Opulent Building Brought the Arts to Downtown, The Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2004
  13. ^ Wrights, Contents, Leeds Are Among Party Hosts, The Miami News, February 11, 1938
  14. ^ 10 best dressed women at Afternoon with Eve Party, 1958
  15. ^ Society (Cameron Hall's Party), 1951
  16. ^ Susan Braudy, 'The Dark Ann and Billy Woodard', New York Magazine, p. 41 [5]
  17. ^ $12,000 Stone Lost, Returned to Owner, Spokane Daily Chronicle, August 21, 1956
  18. ^ The California Register, Social Blue Book of California, 1966, p. 346 [6]
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Obituary, found in