Tag Archive: Oil

Dec 06

Pearl Harbor Attack, Japan opens war on U.S. World War II week by week

Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor is reported in a full page headline in the Telegram-Tribune on the day of the attack, December 7, 1941.

At 1:05 p.m. the fire siren shrieked in San Luis Obispo calling all 40th Division soldiers back to Camp San Luis Obispo. The early morning attack over Pearl Harbor Hawaii  plunged the West Coast into a frenzy of activity. A second attack was also reported at Manila. The then Telegram-Tribune published a Sunday Extra, likely …

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Aug 15

Making sense of the census, 1890 school outlook

The Tribune June 6, 1890

San Luis Obispo was isolated cow town, connected to the world of commerce via the steam ships at Port Harford by a narrow gauge railway twice a day. A third train departed and connected to points south with the terminus at Los Olivos. The town had a population of about 4,000 and the three major …

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Aug 08

Oilport, before it was Shell Beach part 2

Daily Tribune December 10, 1907

Tales retold several times often wander from the truth, it is always good to get as close to the original source as possible. The now forgotten 1907 community of Oilport is often recalled in stories that use “tidal wave”. When the words Tidal Wave or Tsunami surface in a story it has the potential to …

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Aug 06

Oilport, before it was Shell Beach part-1


This story comes from the Centurama editions of the then Telegram-Tribune published May 14, 1954. Several 8 page special sections were published that month to celebrate the history of the county and the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of San Luis Obispo. Ill-Fated Oilport Refinery Operated for Only Two Weeks One of San Luis Obispo’s …

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Jul 10

Oil on the beach

STEADY TRAFFIC OF OIL TANKERS AT AVILA BEACH AND ESTERO BAY INCREASES THREAT Ship sucks in oil from pier pipeline; one like this dumped some at sea. Michael Raphael/The Tribune ©2010

BP has miles beaches to clean on the Gulf coast, but blown out oil wells are not the only source of oily beach pollution. It used to be that getting tar balls on your feet was part of going to Avila Beach. We were told it was due to natural seeps. Later  revelations revealed leaky …

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Jul 08

Pacific Coast Railroad Bridge, Avila Beach 1966

Avila Beach October 15, 1966. ©2010 The Tribune

Before the current bridge to Port San Luis was built over San Luis Creek travelers used the old single lane Pacific Coast Railroad bridge. This view looks back at Avila Beach and the Union Oil tanks from October 15, 1966. At this time the Harford pier was closed and a new parking lot was under …

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Jun 17

LNG terminal proposed near Avila Beach


Avila Beach has long been the beach that locals go to. You can’t see it from the highway but the south facing beach can be sunny, less windy and warm when others are fogged in. It also has a history of being a gritty working town in as well as a vacation spot. Harford Pier, …

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May 28

Texaco Tanker at Estero Bay


For much of the 20th century the Central Coast was a hub for oil transportation. Union Oil, Chevron and Texaco all had facilities that provided the link between tankers and the rich oil fields inland. It used to be a frequent sight to see tankers at Estero Bay north of Morro Bay or at the …

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Feb 01

Union Oil Ad 1926


April 7, 1926 In an ironic twist, while the Union Oil Tank Farm was blowing up the company had an ad for Non-detonating gas in the paper. It is an advertising approach still used today. Our gas is better quality and burns cleaner than the other guy’s. The ad did not run for the remainder …

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Jan 27

San Luis Obispo Tank Farm Fire

Tank Farm property owned by Chevron. Photo by Jayson Mellom 11-13-06

April 7, 1926 Travel through the Midwest and every barn and silo has a lightning rod on it. Not too many around here. Thunderstorms are rare on the Central Coast, but a recent electric storm set me to thinking about the biggest lightning disaster in the region. Union Oil built the tank farm along the …

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