Readers of Al-Ayyam Al-Jamilah are aware of various projects, such as the Heritage Gallery in Dhahran, that have attempted to tell parts of the Aramco story. Now, the full story of the company is coming home to Saudi Arabia.
Some 815 Saudi Aramco annuitants, family members, and friends convened in San Antonio at the Marriott Rivercenter over the Labor Day weekend, August 31 to September 4, 2000. It was the 22nd Aramco reunion held in the United Sates since the original biennial gathering in Pleasanton, California in 1958, but the first ever in the great state of Texas.
At the first-ever gathering of expatriate Aramco annuitants in Saudi Arabia, April 18 to May 2, 2000, organizing committee chairman Ali Baluchi greets visitors at Heritage Village, a new museum and restaurant for tourists in Dammam. Photo by William Tracy.
Three views from the 1950s by Aramcon Dorothy Miller : Hofuf, a walled city in the Al-Hasa Oasis; Dammam, a trading center on the Arabian Gulf; and early Dhahran, with a two-story dormitory and a concrete bubble house.
The Scottsdale Princess Resort Hotel in Arizona, site of the 1994 Reunion, welcomed Aramcons for a gala return visit in September 1998.
The historic photograph on the cover shows King 'Abd Al-'Aziz (looking up, center) with Floyd Ohliger (in Ghutra) and driller "Doc" Whitney (in hat) at Abu Hadriya Well No. 1, during the King's visit to Aramco facilities in 1939. Crown Prince (later King) Sa'ud and two young princes are at left. Photo from the Don McLeod Collection.
Traveling with Aramco pioneer Max Steineke in northern Arabia during the 1936 exploration season, geologist J.W. "Soak" Hoover took this photograph, identified in his notes as "Shammar tribesmen summering at Umm er-Radhuma Wells, May 4, 1936."
Annuitant Dorothy Miller photographed the slipface of a dune deep in shadow cast by a setting sun. Early Aramco geologists marveled at Arabia's desert landscapes.
Nomadic Aramco annuitants found a cool oasis in the garden lobby of the Hyatt Orlando Hotel.
In the early 1940s the late Clark Cypher worked at Aramco's Jiddah office, shown in this photo from geologist Max Steineke's collection.
The Bedouin and his falcon, photographed in the Rub 'al-Khali in 1967 by the late Brainerd Bates, is from the collection on annuitant Lois Wolfrum.
Donkeys trudging back and forth on inclined ramps to lift water into irrigation channels were a common sight in the oases of the Eastern Province 50 years ago.
An oasis reunion, stately palms and cooling waters.
Backed by his royal guards as he surveys the scene at the Dhahran Tennis Court on January 25, 1947, King 'Abd al-'Aziz is flanked by Aramco executive James MacPherson (left), by T.V. Stapleton and American Consul Waldo Bailey (right).
As intrepid Aramco travelers know, nearly every town in the Kingdom worth the name has a gold suq worth a visit. The salesboy in Riyadh was photographed by Dorothy Miller in 1975.
I remember how strange Ras Tanura looked the first year green trees began to poke above the roofs all over town, throwing circles of shade onto the ground and softening the skyline.
Lester Hilyard worked in Saudi Arabia from 1937 to 1945. After a very brief stint in Venezuela - and 26 years of service with Standard of California - he look early retirement in February 1947.
The Eighteenth Aramco Annuitants Reunion was held September 2 - 4 in Pinehurst, North Carolina, in the Pinehurst Hotel, now approaching its 90th year.
Since annuitant Dorothy Miller returned to the U.S. in 1977, she has averaged about four hours a day, three days a week, in her photo lab.
Mary Norton tells how artist Lenore DePree drew on Persian miniature art to paint her stylized scenes of life in Arabia - and the patchwork fields and hills of Appalachia.