|The Oil Pipeline|
The morning of February 17th, 1936, has dawned along the Delaware Valley with relatively mild temperatures as several hundred people make their way along State Route Three-A below Cochecton to witness the highly anticipated event that is to usher out the end of an era.
For fifty-six years, the one hundred and twenty-five foot chimney has towered high above the surrounding landscape; a well-known landmark that had become a highly familiar beacon to river rafts-men, railroaders and highway travelers as they passed through this section of the valley.
The large brick chimney had once belched the exhaust from the eight coal-burning boilers that powered the pumps to push crude oil through four six-inch pipes, part of the Standard Oil Company’s pipeline that fed crude oil from the western Pennsylvania oil fields to the refineries at Bayonne, New Jersey. Since the closing of this operation eleven years earlier, the pumping station at Cochecton has stood idle, the chimney deteriorating into a state of disrepair. With its location being in close proximity to the nearby tracks of the Erie Railroad, the concern of it haphazardly tumbling onto the rails, or worse upon a passing train, has warranted the chimney’s controlled
demolition, set for this February morning….
In an effort to minimize the cost involved with transporting crude oil from the recently discovered oil fields of western New York and Pennsylvania, John Rockefeller and his Standard Oil Company, during the year of 1879, envisioned establishing a pipe line that would transport crude oil from the operating wells to oil refineries located along the tidewaters of New Jersey, a distance of over three hundred miles, eliminating the extra handling and exuberant rates charged by the railroad company. The proposed pipeline would traverse the Southern Tier portion of New York State, enter the Delaware River valley at Deposit and wind its way along the valley’s hillsides through Delaware and Sullivan counties, roughly following along the route of the Erie Railroad, the railroad company being vital in transporting the material needed for the pipeline’s construction. To ensure the continuous flow of oil over higher elevations along the route, pumping stations would be located approximately every thirty miles. One mile below the little river community of Cochecton, where the mountain stream of Mitchell Creek enters the Delaware River valley, on the lands purchased from the John M Tyler estate, the pumping station was proposed. From here, the large steam-driven pumps would push the oil inland from the Delaware Valley, onto the highlands of interior Sullivan County, by-passing the rugged terrain that the lower portion of the Delaware River passes through above Port Jervis. The pipeline would then descend from these highlands into the Neversink Valley, thirty-one miles away, down onto the valley’s floor where the next pumping station, located at Huguenot, would then continue to push the oil over the Shawankunk Mountain….
The old pumping station property has recently been purchased by Doctor T R Bradley, from
Over four stories in height, the walls of the pump house were totally constructed by brick, the girders and beams made of iron, and the roof of sheet
metal, making the structure fully fireproof. Where the exterior walls met the roof, the brickwork presented a decorative design. Arches graced the appearance of all the windows and entryways, while the windowsills were made of massive pieces of bluestone. A short distance away, behind where the boiler and coal house once stood, the now solitary chimney looms high into the air. To support this height, the smoke-stack’s base measures twelve foot by twelve foot. This massive base is fully needed to support the thirty-seven carloads of brick and untold amount of mortar incorporated into the chimney’s construction….
Last Updated (Tuesday, 28 June 2011 03:23)
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