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City hopes to renovate Newhall oil refinery

City: Santa Clarita invests $40,000 into restoration plan for 19th century historical site

Posted: August 26, 2010 9:56 p.m.
Updated: August 27, 2010 4:55 a.m.

The city will spend $40,000 this year devising a plan to restore the Pioneer Oil Refinery in Newhall.

The refinery stands on about an acre of a 4.5-acre historic property in southern Newhall, in the middle of what will be the Gate-King Industrial Park.

Parks, Recreation and Community Services Director Rick Gould said this is the first significant activity at the site in 10 years.

“We look forward to spending the next several months moving forward with its renovation,” Gould said.

The $40,000 will be spent creating a master plan of what and how the site will be renovated, Gould said.

“We’re beginning the process of bringing the site into a fully usable historic park,” Gould said.

Pioneer Oil Refinery was the first of its kind in California, opening in 1876. The refinery closed in 1888 after a much larger refinery opened in Northern California.

“It’s probably the oldest still-standing oil refinery this side of the Mississippi,” said Pat Saletore, executive director of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. “It would be wonderful to get it fixed up before it really falls down.”

The refinery was damaged during the 1994 Northridge earthquake and is located in an industrial area, surrounded by debris.

“It needs to have a little TLC,” Saletore said.

Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commissioner Duane Harte said once the restoration is completed, the refinery can be added to field trips for school children.


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