Friday, June 3, 2016

Postcard: Mixing Christmas thanks and an oil fire in Warren County, Pa.

We must thank the Berger family from the now-vanished locale of Foltz, Pennsylvania, for saving their postcards. Previously on Papergreat, we've had:

This time, we have a postcard mailed to a different member of the Berger clan — Miss Rhoda Berger. No year is indicated, but the card was postmarked on December 31 in Warren, Pennsylvania.

The note, in neat cursive, states:
Dear Rhoda, Thank you many times for the pretty remembrance at Christmas time. will write you soon, Anna

Paul has started a letter to you this evening but I fear he will not finish it.
This is certainly an odd postcard for a Christmas thank-you note. The photo was copyrighted in 1907 by N.K. Wendelboe of Warren and produced in Germany. (N.K. Wendelboe was a longtime department/hardware story in Warren.)

The featured imagine is the "5,000 barrel Tiona Oil Tank, on fire." Tiona is an unincorporated community located along Route 6 in Warren County, about 9 miles south of Warren.

There was a Tiona Oil Company in Clarendon — located about halfway between Warren and Tiona. I couldn't find any information about a circa-1907 oil fire there, but they had a hell of blaze in 1919. The following article is from a March 1919 issue of the trade journal Fire and Water Engineering:
Lack of Fire Wall Causes Loss of Oil Refinery
The largest fire in the history of the county is said to be that which recently destroyed the Tiona oil refinery, Clarendon, Pa., owned by the Union Petroleum Company, of Philadelphia. When a still exploded at 3 o'clock a.m., lack of a fire wall below it permitted the buring oil to run down into the barrel house where twenty-three pumps and other valuable machinery to be used in the contemplated $500,000 addition to the refinery were stored. From the barrel house it spread until filter, pump and boiler houses and twenty-four tanks filled with oil in various processes of refining were destroyed. The burning of the pump house prevented pumping oil out of the tanks and 4,000 barrels of Pennsylvania oil worth $4 each went up in smoke. Two employees were burned slightly while fighting the flames. The refinery occupied a block in the western part of the town and was of lumber construction, two stories high, and was 20 years old. When the firemen arrived, Chief C.L. McNett was in command, the entire plant was involved and as there was only one 4-inch double hydrant available and the department had no apparatus to work with, the destruction of the planet was inevitable. The loss, principally in oil was estimated at $500,000.

No comments:

Post a Comment