The Pioneer Oil Refinery in Newhall, which was the first successful such refinery built and operated in California, has been named a Historic Site in the National Register of Historic Places.
On Tuesday, officials with the City of Santa Clarita announced that the refinery had been added as a Historic Site in the National Register of Historic Places, and had also been listed in the California Register of Historical Resources.
“Built in the 19th century, the Pioneer Oil Refinery in Newhall played a pivotal role in the early development of the Santa Clarita Valley,” an official statement issued by the City Tuesday reads. “Chevron donated the Pioneer Oil Refinery site to the City of Santa Clarita in 1997, and since then, the City Council has worked to preserve and restore this one-of-a-kind piece of American history.”
While the site is not open to the public as of this writing, the Santa Clarita City Council recently approved more than $250,000 to stabilize and restore the structures located there, with future plans to create an educational park to “share the history of the refinery with residents and visitors of all ages.”
The Pioneer Oil Refinery itself was originally built by California Star Oil Works, which would go on to become Chevron, in 1876. It was used to process oil discovered in Pico Canyon for its first dozen years of operation.
Then, in 1888, the refinery was changed to provide water to the nearby oil drilling operation at Pico Number 4 in Mentryville.
Just over 40 years after that in 1930, the site was officially recognized as California’s first commercial oil refinery. Then, in 1975, the refinery was identified as a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.
To learn more about the Pioneer Oil Refinery, contact Lance O’Keefe, Recreation and Community Services Manager, at (661) 250-3716.
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