Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Leonard Refineries, Inc. (Alma, Mich.) Photographic collection

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Leonard Refineries, Inc. (Alma, Mich.) Photographic collection,
Creator: Leonard Refineries, Inc. (Alma, Mich.)
Inclusive dates: 1957, 2005, and undated
Extent: .5 cubic feet (in 1 box)
Abstract:
Image collection of the staff, building, laboratory, refinery, Sohio visits, and newspaper clippings of the company.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160
Email: clarke@cmich.edu
Website: http://clarke.cmich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc#70083

Access Restrictions:

Leonard Refineries, Inc. (Alma, Mich.) Photographic collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Leonard Refineries, Inc. (Alma, Mich.) Photographic collection, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement

Arrangement is alphabetical and chronological.


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).


Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection consists mainly of both strips of black and white photographs and negatives of the Leonard Refineries, Inc. Images include office staff and managers, Ted Bennet, J. Walter Leonard, and Jim Wright; the main building and laboratory, both interior and exterior views with staff; a local photograph contest with a cash prize of $4,000 which was probably awarded by the refinery; a visit by Sohio representatives on December 29, 1959 and January 1960; and some images entitled “Special Effects of the refinery, July 1957.” It is difficult to ascertain what the special effects were from the images. There are also 29 negatives of the Midwest Refinery in Alma. The obituaries (copies) of Vance W. Orr and George House, both refinery staff, 2005, and a newspaper article (copy) about the negative economic effect the closure of the Alma refinery had on Alma, 2005, complete the collection. The collection provides good visual documentation of the refinery and its staff during the late 1950s and 1960. Most of the images are undated.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Leonard Refineries, Inc. (Alma, Mich.)
    • Standard Oil Company (Ohio)
    • Total Petroleum, Inc. (Alma, Mich.)
    • Petroleum industry and trade--History--Michigan.
    • Petroleum refineries--Michigan.
    • Alma (Mich.)--History.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    Leonard Refineries, Inc. (Alma, Mich.) Photographic collection [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Bennet, Ted, Office Manager, Negatives (5 on 1 strip) and Photographs (8 on 2 strips) (3 sleeves in 1 folder), undated
    Box   1 F   2
    Leonard, J. Walter, Portraits, Negatives (3 on 1 strip) and Photographs (3 on 1 strip) (2 sleeves in 1 folder), undated
    Box   1 F   3
    Main Building Assembly Area, Photographs (8 on 2 strips) (2 sleeves in 1 folder), undated
    Box   1 F   4
    Main Lab Views, Negatives (23 on 4 strips) and Photographs (23 on 4 strips) (8 sleeves in 1 folder), undated
    Box   1 F   5
    Midwest Refinery (Alma, Mich.), Negatives (29 on 5 strips) (5 sleeves in 1 folder), undated
    Box   1 F   6
    Night Views, General Refinery, Negatives (6 on 1 strip) (1 sleeve in 1 folder), undated
    Box   1 F   7
    Office Staff, Negatives (40 on 8 strips) (8 sleeves in 1 folder), undated
    Box   1 F   8
    Photograph Contest, Negatives (31 on 6 strips) (6 sleeves in 1 folder), undated
    Box   1 F   9
    Sohio Story, Photographs (6 on 1 strip) (1 sleeve in 1 folder), December 29, 1959
    Box   1 F   10
    Sohio Story, Negatives (27 on 9 strips) (9 sleeves in 1 folder), December 29, 1959
    Box   1 F   11
    Sohio Story, Negatives (50 on 8 strips) (9 sleeves in 1 folder), January 1960
    Box   1 F   12
    Special Effects, Refinery, Negatives (5 on 1 strip) and Photographs (5 on 1 strip) (2 sleeves in 1 folder), July 1957
    Box   1 F   13
    Wright, Jim, Alma Station Manager, Negatives (5 on 1 strip) and Photographs (5 on 1 strip) (2 sleeves in 1 folder), undated
    Box   1 F   14
    Newspaper Clippings (copies), Alma Refinery Closure, 2005
    Box   1 F   15
    Newspaper Clippings (copies), Obituaries of Vance W. Orr and George House, 2005