#8 Pioneer Oil Refinery California Star Oil Works


Replica of the first successful commercial oil refinery in the US West

The economic situation in the whale oil business (for lighting), coupled with the increased demand for lubricants, stimulated growth in the U.S. petroleum industry. The drilling of the heavy, sulfurous, and asphaltic California crude began in the 1870s at the Pico Canyon area, using the apparatus and techniques from Titusville, Pennsylvania, developments.

After an unsuccessful attempt at refining in Lyons, the refinery at Andrews Station (Newhall) was built by the California Star Oil Works, a predecessor of the Standard Oil Company. The Pioneer Refinery became the first successful commercial refinery in the West, producing mostly kerosenes but also benzene, a fire-test safety illuminating oil, and lubricants. The refinery served the western market for some fifteen years. Each of the two largest stills had a capacity of 150 barrels a day and were restored for the public in the 1930s.

Pioneer oil Refinery after the 1930 resolution. Image src: svchistory.com

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Landmark Location

Chevron of Standard Oil
Santa Clarita Valley
238 Pine Street
Navell, CA

Related Links

Santa Clarita Valley History page:

California State Historic Landmark page:

Ceremony Notes

September 1975


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