Leonard Refineries, Inc. (Alma, Michigan) Historical Collection,
1937, 2011, and undated
The Leonard Oil Refinery of Alma, Michigan, was one of Michigan’s leading refiners and retailers of petroleum products. In 1936 Leonard took over a refinery in Alma that had operated since 1934. Leonard was one of Michigan’s best known companies in the 1950s and 1960s. Its advertising campaigns were often innovative and built around the quality and high octane of its products. In 1956 Leonard marketed a gasoline with a 105 octane rating, enough to fly a plane. There was not high demand for it. Leonard also sponsored major television programs about the outdoors, including Michigan Outdoors.
In 1970 Leonard merged with Total Petroleum and operated under the Total name. In 1972 Total moved the firm’s headquarters to Denver, Colorado, and sold its Michigan holdings to Ultramar Diamond Shamrock (UDS) in 1997. In 1999 UDS sold 179 Total retail outlets to Marathon Ashland Petroleum. Also that year, production at Alma stopped as it had not been purchased by UDS. Later the Alma plant was demolished. (This edited version of the Leonard Refinery’s history is from the Clarke Historical Library’s Board of Governors Meeting, April 30, 2009.)