Leonard Refineries, Inc. (Alma, Mich.) Photographic collection,   1957, 2005, and undated
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History

Organizational History:

Leonard Refinery began operating in Alma, Michigan, on a 23.5-acre lot in 1936. There were three oil refineries in Alma at the time, Leonard, Wolverine and Northern. By 1936, Leonard Refinery was forced by the growing demand for oil to seek it from the southwest. The oil was brought in by a pipeline terminal in southern Michigan. In 1938, Leonard Refinery purchased the McClanahan Refinery in St. Louis, Michigan, and then moved most of its equipment to Alma. Both refineries continued to expand. In 1941 the City Commission voted for aid to oil refineries and other industries to protect their premises during the war. By 1950, the Leonard Refineries, Inc. began receiving crude oil through the Michigan-Ohio Pipeline. In 1953, Leonard Refineries, Inc. became the first refinery in the world to offer high-octane gas: 96-octane. As a result, “Alma Day” was declared at the Oil Exposition in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on May 21, 1953. Total Petroleum, Ltd. moved its North American headquarters from Alma to Denver, Colorado in August 1982. The lost of people, money, and jobs had a negative impact on Alma’s economy. In 1992, a fire damaged the refineries. Total announced that a major upgrade of the refineries would take place. However, by November 1999, the refineries closed. The refineries had processed 55,000 barrels of crude oil a day during its peak period of operation. In 2003 the facility was demolished by Ultramar Diamond Shamrock. (This information is from Down 12 decades: a pictorial history of Alma, Michigan and the Alma, Michigan website http://www.ci.alma.mi.us/milestones.htm (accessed on October 19, 2006).