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a piece of local oil history donated to santa paula, california

2 min read | march 01, 2024

The headquarters of the Union Oil Company of California, founded in Santa Paula, California, in 1890, occupied the second floor of this building. A hardware store and post office were located on the first floor.

Chevron has donated the building that housed the former headquarters of the Union Oil Company of California to the city of Santa Paula, which will use grant money included as part of the donation to rehabilitate a piece of the city’s history.

“Acquiring this piece of local history is a major win for our community, and we are looking forward to restoring operations for our residents and visitors to enjoy,” said Mayor Leslie Cornejo.

a brief history

Union Oil Company of California was founded in a second-floor office of the building in 1890. It continued to serve as headquarters until the company moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1900. In 2005, the company was acquired and became a Chevron affiliate.

Gaynor Shirreffs, president of Chevron’s Environmental Management Company (EMC), says the history of the company and the city go hand in hand.

“The historic donation of the former Union Oil Company of California’s headquarter building to city of Santa Paula contributes a piece of local history that will continue to serve as a cultural and economic anchor for the community’s enjoyment,” she said.

“The birthplace of Union Oil Company of California is part of the proud history of Chevron.”

gaynor shirreffs
environmental management company

history on display

After Union Oil Company of California moved to Los Angeles, the building housed a museum showcasing the rich history of the petroleum industry, from drill bits to old gas station signs. The company’s second-floor offices were restored for its 100th anniversary in 1990.

The museum was formerly run by the nonprofit California Oil Museum Foundation, which ran into financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city will get a $2 million grant for any repairs or upkeep. Any unused funds will go into an endowment for additional maintenance.

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