|The Elk Refinery
44-acre site was located in Falling Rock, right on the Elk River near
Clendenin WV, and served as a refinery known as Elk Refining Co.
from 1913 until its closure in 1982. Beginning in 1983, Hannah Lumber
Co. leased a portion of the property and operated a wood chipping
facility. There is nothing left today but scraps and a couple of
small buildings. |
Elk Refining sold many products including gasoline which in turn was sold at Keystone Service Stations. In
1952 South Penn (Pennzoil) purchased a controlling interest in Elk
Refining. In 1955 the balance of the purchase was completed and Elk
Refining Keystone stations were distributing Pennzoil lubricants. By the
mid 60’s the Pennzoil name had no trouble standing alone, and the Elk
supplied stations were rebranded from Keystone to Pennzoil.
A west view of the Elk Refinery during
its heyday taken from the hill just above the Falling Rock
An Early photo of Elk Refining
the Cox-Morton Service Station opened on Virginia Street just down from
the Courthouse in 1937, they sold products from the Elk Refinery.
Soon however, they switched to Esso and Mobiloil products.
The man that started it all
ELK REFINING HISTORY
Elk Refinery was a major employer in the area and during its sixty
years of existence, petroleum products of all types were refined and
distributed throughout West Virginia. There was little space for
expansion and since usable real estate was a valuable commodity in the
narrow valley, a foot bridge was constructed spanning the Elk River to
connect the refinery with the north bank at a location that employees
could park and walk across to work.
The peak years were during
the World War II era into the 1950s. By the 1970s, the plant was still
operating and generating on average nine carloads each of rail traffic
on three weekday stops with variances owing to supply and demand. In
1983, Pennzoil elected to close the refinery primarily due to
obsolescence as the facility was dated and would have required
extensive and expensive upgrading. This closing was a major blow to the
region economically and to the railroad.
the early teens, “ELK REFINING COMPANY” was founded in Falling Rock EV.
Elk seems to have been formed as an affiliate company of United.
~ Extensive expansions to the United and Elk refineries allow for the
production of gasoline and fuel oil, adding this to their ever growing
1929 ~ The stock market crashes,
and Elk refining is getting ready to enter the retail gasoline and
automotive lubricant business through branding and distribution. They
are packaging their automotive lubricants as “Elk” and begin marketing
Elk Gasoline. “KEYSTONE” is deemed the brand name of United’s retail
gasoline, and the end of the 30’s the Elk refining stations are selling
Keystone branded fuel as well.
1952 ~ At this time, a controlling interest of Elk Refining Company, who operated a chain of service stations in West Virginia under the Keystone brand,
was sold to South Penn Oil Co, adding Keystone stations to South Penn’s
lineup as they were expanding their lube market and concentrating on
their successful Pennzoil lubricant line. This marks the beginning of
the end for Keystone Gasoline as far as the Elk Refining Co.
goes. In 1955 the balance of the purchase was completed and Elk
Refining Keystone stations were distributing Pennzoil lubricants. By
the mid 60’s the Pennzoil name had no trouble standing alone, and the
Elk supplied stations were rebranded from Keystone to Pennzoil.
1960 the Pennzoil Gasoline company was stagnant, a regional producer
that was primarily known for its Pennzoil motor oil, and this facility
finally closed in 1983
The Elk Refinery was dismantled during
the mid 1980s. The demolition proved to be controversial for health and
environmental reasons due to asbestos contamination.
Pennzoil is now owned by Shell.
1963, South Penn was bought by Hugh Liedtke and William Liedtke of
Zapata Petroleum and Stetco Petroleum, two Midland, Texas oil firms.
After the Liedtke purchase, South Penn Oil was renamed Pennzoil, and
the corporate offices eventually moved to Texas.
THE BULK PLANT
section is necessary due to the chemical spill which affected 300,000
people in January of 2014 in a large area and surrounding area of
Charleston WV. The chemical came from the old Pennzoil Bulk
Plant, which sold their tank farm to a private concern for the purpose
of storing chemicals many years earlier.|
The former Pennzoil Bulk Plant which was owned by Freedom Industries in 2014
This tank farm is located on Barlow Drive on the Elk River in Charleston WV.
the late 40s, the Elk Refinery Bulk Plant was located on Charleston's
West Side at Watts Street. The local neighborhood didnt care for this
and demanded the plant move. But Elk Refining had already
located a piece of land on the Elk Rive at Barlow Drive and started
that this permit is for a "garage and repair shop". It's beyond
the city limits and yet needs a city permit to build. Nothing is
mentioned yet about the tank farm that will be built here.
A pipe was run from the Elk Refinery down the river to the bulk
plant to keep it filled. Another Elk bulk plant was located on Rt
60 where the Charleston
Moose Lodge is today. It was sold to Amoco when the new Elk bulk plant
The refinery property today near Clendenin.
The Quaker State Oil Refining Co. was organized by merging 20 firms on July 1, 1931.
State Co. sold the combined 4.9-acre tract to Etowah River Terminal LLC
for $600,000 in December 2001, according to county records.
former bulk storage facility for gasoline and diesel apparently
required remediation work. Kimberly Windon, a spokeswoman for Shell Oil
Co., which now owns Pennzoil-Quaker State, said the company sent
environmental cleanup crews to the current Freedom Industries location
in 2002 and "voluntarily remediated the site" after it sold the parcel.
Quaker State moved its corporate offices to Texas in 1995.
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