Header Image 1
Places, Earth
Pioneer Oil Refinery
Header Image 2

National Parks Under Attack
This Web site doesn't like to take political stands, but now it is necessary.

The current administration wants to reduce the size and number of National Monuments and allow oil drilling and mining in National Parks for the first time since the system was established. If you prefer trees and streams to oil wells and pipelines, contact your representatives in Washington NOW and tell them to protect these Crown Jewels of America.

Places Earth extends sympathies and hopes to both the people fighting to restore their lives in Puerto Rica and to those who’s lives have been taken or disrupted by the shooting in Las Vegas. Also to hurricane victims in Texas, Florida, and other areas of the Gulf region. Also to the fire victims in California. So many disasters in short time, all made worse by climate change.

State Parks, Historic Sites, and Museums need your help.

Throughout the country, state parks, historic sites, museums, and similar institutions are struggling to continue operating. Because of general financial problems, many of these institutions are operating on a reduced schedule or in danger of closing. Some are being forced to sell off artifacts and property. Many will not weather these hard times without your help.

Places Earth urges everyone to support these vital and important public resources any way you can. Please donate your treasure, time, and talent. Write to your governor and other elected officials telling them to find a way to keep state parks open. It will be your loss.


Public Service Announcement


Film Los Angeles - bring Hollywood back to Hollywood
Explanation.
This web site contains no paid advertising. Donations help.

Back Back to Los Angeles County

Pioneer Oil Refinery

All photographs taken by Kenneth A. Larson. All rights reserved. © 2004 - 2006.


In a forgotten industrial corner of Newhhall, California is what is believed to be the world's oldest remaining oil refinery. Established in 1876, The pioneer Oil Refinery produced Kerosene, Benzine, and lubricants for a dozen years.

Oil was discovered in the Pico Canyon town of Mentryville in 1875 and soon after, the first commercially productive oil well in the western United States began operation there.

Originally a refinery was established in 1874 at Lyon's Station, a stagecoach stop near present day Eternal Valley Cemetery. My research shows the establishment of the refinery a year before the discovery of oil, which I can't yet explain. Old maps show the refinery to be in the now forgotten town of Elayon. This new refinery, the first commercially successful oil refinery in California and the west, wasn't at first successful. There was insufficient water and the refinery was not producing the desired smoke-free kerosene. New railroad tracks were laid in 1876, adjacent to Andrew's Station, another stage stop run by Andrew Kazinski, and some distance from the refinery at Lyon's Station. The refinery packed up its stills and moved in 1876 to its present location at the former Andrew's Station. John A. Scoll, an experienced refiner from Pennsylvania, supervised the move and construction and the refinery was immediately successful when it opened in August 1876.

Within a few years, oil was being produced along much of the California Coast. A large refinery began operation in Alameda, a short distance across the bay from the major market of San Francisco. Despite early success, the small refinery in Newhall was too remote to be profitable and ceased operations in 1888.

Pacific Oil Company became Standard Oil of California which became part of Chevron. In 1988, Chevron gave the four and one half acre refinery to the City of Santa Clarita. The site had been restored in 1930 and 1976, but suffered sever damage in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and further damage occurred from near-by development. Efforts are now underway to restore the site and make it accessible to the public.

Location:
Pioneer Oil Refinery is located on the east side of Pine Street, a quarter mile south of San Fernando Road in the City of Newhall, about three miles west of Highway 14. The refinery is a few hundred feet east of Pine along an undeveloped dirt driveway in an industrial area. There is no parking. The site is fenced and not open to the public. It can be viewed any time, but is best on the weekend when the surrounding industries are not as busy.

The historic marker is on the southeast corner of Lyons and I-5 Freeway, about three miles west of the site.











Sign
The sign is hard to read. It is in shadows behind an inner chain link fence, about 30 feet from the outer chain link fence. The sign reads
This pumping equipment provided water for oil producing operations during the early 1900's. It was located here because of a supply of spring water.

The emgine is a 12 horsepower, one cylinder Farbanks Morse "hit and miss" type N built in 1908. It used natural gas as fuel. Through the leather belt it powered the vertical triplex pump sending water miles to pico canyon, about 225 feet above this elevation.

As the pumphouse post dates the end of operations for the refinery, I am theorizing that the pump was in connection to the still active oil wells a few miles north.















Photo date: 6-25-06.

Photo date: 6-25-06.

Photo date: 6-25-06.

Photo date: 6-25-06.
Marker
The historic marker is about three miles west of the site at the southeast corner of the intersection of Lyons and I-5. Photo date: 6-25-06.
The Pioneer Oil Refinery lies in the middle of an industrial park. This artificial Matterhorn towers a hundred feet north.
Top Back to Earth Back
Los Angeles County Main Page

This page last updated: Saturday, 06-Jul-2013 19:06:02 EDT

Note:This is not the official site for any of the places shown in Places Earth. Places Earth is not responsible for accuracy of the information. Hours of operations, prices, exhibits, and sometimes locations are subject to change without notice.

Support this Web Site

I hope that you find this web site helpful. It started because of my love for Architecture and interest in History. I don't allow paid advertising (but this may change). This web site is for your benefit and enjoyment and I make no profit on it. For ten years it has been supported primarily from my regular paycheck as a Set Designer and there haven't been many the last few years. I can no longer run it without help. Alternative funding is needed. A non-tax deductable donation helps cover the cost of operating this web site and may be made to Kesign Design Consulting through PayPal.

Buy my Photographs or Art.
My Art

Or donations can be mailed to the address on the contact page.
If you are in the need of a designer, please see my portfolio site www.kesigndesign.com.
Kesign Design Consulting
or Set Design Portfolio.

Links

Web Design This site maintained by Kenneth A. Larson.
Copyright © 2004 - 2017, Kenneth A. Larson. All Rights Reserved.
Website content including photographic and graphic images may not be redistributed for use on another website.
Please Don't Pirate Videos
Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional Valid CSS