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Re: (erielack) Refinery at Wellsville

Dear Chris and List,

I have trimmed Chris' message and  placed some info within it below, between
three asterisks; ***like this***
I did a quick search.
A couple of factoids: 1) Prior to Sinclair buying the refinery in 1917-19,
it was owned by Union Petroleum.  2)
Sinclair owned 6446 railroad tank cars

Mike Nickerson
b. Wellsville NY, 1958 -- resident until 1968

- ----- Original Message ----- 
Christopher Thurner <crthurner_@_yahoo.com> wrote:

The Sinclair Refinery complex was in the south west
corner of the Village of Wellsville and extended
southward into the Town of Wellsville.  It was bounded
on the east by the Genesee River and on the west by
Brooklyn Ave. / River Rd.  On the north is was bounded
by the WAG wye and the small yard the WAG maintained
there.  It was served by the B&O and the WAG.

Today, the location is home to the Wellsville campus
of SUNY Alfred Ag. and Tech. College and a few small
businesses (e.g. National Fuel technician dispatch
center, among others).  Many of the original brick
buildings are in place and a few are used at the SUNY

There was an accident at the plant that caused a
devastating fire in the late 50's and Sinclair chose
not to rebuild it.  ***July 17-19, 1938; closure of the plant was
approximately 1957, about a year after the WAG took over the B&O tracks.
Mike N's dad says the town was deeply hurt by loss of the refinery jobs.
http://www.darrenfleeger.com/drex_vortex_2001_023.htm has a scanned pamplet
commemorating the fire.***

I don't know much, and most people in the Wellsville
area that I've talked to, do not remember much about
the rail traffic generated from the refinery.  I have
seen pictures of the refinery with coal (interestingly
enough!!) hoppers being emptied to be burned by the
power house.  One would think that Sinclair would have
used it own product (>>Oil<<) for this, but my guess
is after the technology was developed for the cracking
process, oil was more valuable to be sold as gasoline
or lubricating / fuel oil in the market than the cost
of coal.  ***The Sinclair oil corporate website places a lot of emphasis on
the lubricating oils that Wellsville refined. Alfred P Morgan's "The Boys
Book Of Engines, Motors and Turbines" said to the effect that asphalt,
gasoline/diesel, and heating oil are present in varying degrees in all crude
oils.  (Mike N mentions the book because, although Chris is about two years
younger than me, I do not remember meeting Chris.  Our school, ICS, had one
in its library -- if he checked it out, it is another thing we have in

The hoppers I've seen bear B&O reporting
marks.  My guess is that this traffic was based from
the B&O.  After the WAG takeover, I don't think the
WAG had an interchange with the B&O <snip>  ***A major reason the B&O gave
for selling to the WAG is that a storm in the early 50's(?) isolated the
trackage from its other lines, so there no longer was a direct

As to oil shipments in or refined product out, I don't
know if this was handled on the B&O / WAG or
interchanged with the Erie.  I do know that at least a
portion of the crude supplied came via pipeline from
producing fields in the southern NY / northwestern PA
areas.  <snip by Mike>  *** By the time I was 10 and left Wellsville with my
family in 1968, I recall many small oil wells around Wellsville, in groups
around a shack.  A shack would have a motor and gearbox in it, feeding power
to a.crank.  Reciprocating motion was taken to the pumps by rodding that
stretched for dozens of feet, on trestles that were about waist-high.  I
imagine the stroke of the pumps was about 6". A lot like interlocking tower
rodding, I expect.  On my only visit to Wellsville since, in 1986, I saw the
ruins of only one such pump ***
<snip by Mike>

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