Record#

 

Building Name

The Dickinson Fig Factory aka Dickinson’s Mineral Oil Refinery aka

Calumet Penreco LLC

Address

4401 Park Avenue, Dickinson, Texas

 

Building Construction & History

*Chronological from established to current

Date

1900’s to 1930”s

Property Owner

The Dickinson Fig Plant (Factory)

Event

During the 1900’s to the early 1930’s, thousands of carloads of strawberries were being loaded at the Dickinson Train Depot.  Strawberries were the Italian farmer’s largest and most profitable crop at that time.  By the mid 1930’s carloads of figs were also being processed just 100’ from the Dickinson Depot in a large, corrugated building called the Dickinson Fig Plant on Dickinson Avenue.  Many Dickinson residents, who worked at the fig plant, had no idea that this facility would in just a few years be transformed into a mineral oil refinery.  At one time the Dickinson Fig Plant had over thirty employees as everything was done by hand, such as the cleaning, packing and labeling of the figs.  Some thought the new refinery would be hiring hundreds of employees.  Unfortunately, this new refinery could be operated by just nine men, so job opportunities at the new plant were extremely limited.

*Next event

Date

1941

Property Owner

Mr. Jimmy Eisler, Kermit Wade and Ward McCullough (The Dickinson Mineral Oil Refinery – Morco)

Event

These three men first met in 1937 at a refinery in Butler County, Pennsylvania.  They were interested in building a mineral oil refinery that would manufacture basic materials used in pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, agricultural sprays, textiles, chemicals, outboard motor fuel and candy.  At that time the Dickinson Fig Factory was closed and empty and these men felt it would be the perfect place for their factory as it was located between two busy seaports of Houston and Galveston and offered railroad loading facilities.  They sank their life savings into building their own refinery, The Dickinson Mineral Oil Refining Company.  These three owners became active and prominent citizens and added prestige to the small town of Dickinson. 

 

 

*Next event

Date

1985

Property Owner

Pennzoil Products Company

Event

Pennzoil Products Company purchased the plant (formerly Morco Company – Dickinson Mineral Oil Refinery) and made it part of the company’s Penreco Division.  The Dickinson plant had been in operation since 1942 and was in the business to convert tube base oils into food grade mineral oils, produce soy methyl ester, package and blend solvents and petroleum sulfonates.  The plant covered approximately 28 acres which consists of the north and south property and the east Dickinson Bayou property.  The main plant is located on the north property (10 acres) and consists of all process units and related tankage.  Located on the South property (10 acres) is a modern packaging/distribution facility and a wastewater treatment facility.  The east Dickinson Bayou property (8 acres) was purchased in 1989 and is presently undeveloped.

*Next event

Date

1997

Property Owner

Pennzoil Products Company

Event

Pennzoil Products Company entered into a joint venture agreement with Conoco for the Penreco Division and continued the original process listed above.

*Next event

Date

2008

Property Owner

Calumet Lubricants Company

Event

This distribution center encompasses drum filling and storage, tank truck loading operations, white oil blending and finished white oil bulk storage.  The facility has five distinct operating areas:  the white oil unit, the soy ethyl ester unit, the sodium bisulfite unit, crude sulfonate refining and spent salt processing.  The storage capacity of the facility is approximately 4 million gallons, which includes all feedstocks and finished products.  The average daily throughput for all finished products is about 50,000 gallons per day.  Feedstock is received by rail and tank truck.  Finished product is shipped by rail, tank truck and drums.  Calumet’s white mineral oils form the basic ingredient in such consumer items as baby oil, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.  The petroleum sulfonates are used as surfactants and rust inhibitors.  End uses include metal working fluids and motor oil additives.  The sulfur dioxide is used to produce a marketable product (sodium bisulfite) that is used in water treatment.  The acid sludge is returned to the acid suppliers for regeneration.  Processes spent salt becomes a wastewater stream.