Augusta Mobil refinery reunion last Saturday
An Augusta Mobil refinery reunion was held last Saturday with more than 100 past and present employees, family and friends in attendance. This was the third reunion, with the last one held in 2003.
There was Mobil memorabilia on display including photos, newsletters, newspaper articles, badges, etc. Past and present employees received a gift of a Mobil Reunion mug, provided by Sue and Bill Hoefgen, along with an address roster of refinery employees.
Attendees traveled from Berryton, Kan.; Kansas City; Lyndon, Kan.; Beaumont, Texas; Bella Vista, Ark.; and Oklahoma. One family traveling from Joliet, Ill., was en route to Augusta when they hit a deer, totaled their car and wasn’t able to make it to the reunion.
Reunion organizer Sue Hoefgen said, “In 1983, some employees chose to seek employment locally and not make the move to various Mobil refineries, but others made the transfer. After retiring from Mobil, several families have returned home to Augusta to enjoy their retirement years. These Mobil people are the best working family I have ever had. If the refinery was still open, Bill and I would still be working there today.”
Some history of the Augusta Mobil refinery -
In the early 1900s oil production became the livelihood of Augusta. Oil was discovered in 1910 and White Eagle Oil Company started construction of the Augusta refinery seven years later. In 1930 Standard Oil Company of New York (Socony) acquired White Eagle and through further acquisitions, mergers and name changes, Socony became Mobil Oil Corp.
The Augusta refinery grew from a 7,000 barrel per day capacity in 1924 and a crew of less than 100, to a peak capacity in the ‘60s of more than 50,000 barrels per day and more than 500 employees. The facility produced gasoline, distillates and a fine line of asphalts.
At one time, the refinery’s Thermofor Catalytic Cracking (TCC or catcracker) unit, which stood 300 feet tall, was the tallest structure in Kansas.
The refinery employed many Augustans and brought millions of dollars into the community. Mobil Augusta supported several generations of families. The refinery whistle, which blew at shift changes, became a familiar sound for years.
Mobil closed the refinery in 1983 and sold to Williams Pipeline. Almost 200 employees chose to transfer with Mobil to other locations.
The complete demolition of the facility began in 1992.