Russell E. Havenstrite

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Russell E. Havenstrite was an American wildcatter and polo player.


Early life[edit]

Russell Easton Havenstrite was a native of Lovell, Oklahoma.[1]


In the 1920s, he moved from Lovell, Oklahoma to Signal Hill, California in the Greater Los Angeles area to drill oil.[1] In 1932, he moved to Alaska to find oil.[1] He became interested in possible oil found at Iniskin, near Homer, Alaska.[1] 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).[1] By 1938, they began drilling their first oil well at Iniskin.[1]

In 1941, the found oil in Newhall, Santa Clarita, California and became prosperous.[1][2]

After the Second World War, he drilled again at Iniskin, with the financial backing of Chicago banker Hugo Anderson, the father of Robert Orville Anderson (1917–2007).[1] However, Harold L. Ickes (1874–1952), who served as United States Secretary of the Interior from 1933 to 1946, had blocked him from drilling.[1] 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.[1][3] In 1954, he drilled a second well at Iniskin, but he stopped sometime in 1955.[1] Two weeks after he stopped, Richfield Oil found more oil at Iniskin.[1]


He established the Beverly Hills Polo Club in Beverly Hills, California.[4] In 1950, he hired ten-goal polo champion Robert Skene (1914-1997) to manage the club.[5] The same year, he and Jimmy McHugh judged Queen of Mexican Polo contestants at the BHPC.[6] 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).[7]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Edith Havenstrite.[1] They had a parrot.[1] They owned a penthouse in the Fine Arts Building located at 811 West 7th Street in Los Angeles.[8] From 1938 onwards, they resided in Beverly Hills, California and attended high society events.[9][10][11] They also went shooting with William Woodward, Jr. and his wife Ann in Cooch Behar, India.[12] Moreover, they attended fundraisers for the Republican Party.[13] He was a member of the Bohemian Club, the Los Angeles Country Club and the Bel Air Country Club.[14] Havenstrite died in Los Angeles on March 18, 1958. [15]


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