Remarkable Ohio


Below is a complete listing of all Ohio Historical Markers. To find a detailed marker listing including text, photographs, and locations, click on a county below. Our listing is updated by the markers program as new markers are installed and older markers are reported damaged or missing.

3-2 Solar Refinery

Side A: Oil became a valuable resource in Ohio when significant quantities were discovered in Lima in 1885. The discovery brought an economic boom to Lima and northwest Ohio. News of the Lima oil field spread, attracting the attention of John D. Rockefeller, co-founder of Standard Oil. Against the advice of his board, Rockefeller invested heavily in Lima crude, despite its high sulfur content and foul odor. Storage tanks and pipelines for the crude sprung up rapidly. Having great faith in the ingenuity of his engineers and scientists, Rockefeller stockpiled the crude and sent Standard’s chief refining specialist, J.W. Van Dyke, to Lima to construct and manage the new Solar Refinery. Together with Herman Frasch, a German chemist, the two men perfected the technique to desulphurize the crude and turn it into quality kerosene and fuel oil. (Continued on the other side)
Side B: From 1886 to 1900, the Lima Oil Field was the leading producer of oil in the world yielding 190 million barrels. Lima also became a significant pipeline center and by 1893 a trunk line carried oil to light the buildings at the Chicago World’s Fair. While the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 eventually led to the 1911 break up of Standard Oil’s monopoly, the company continued to play an important role in Ohio. In the year 2000, Ohio had more than 62,000 active oil wells and produced 6.5 million barrels of crude. Although the current Lima refinery imports its oil via pipeline, the complex is the oldest, continuously operated oil refinery site in Ohio.
Sponsors: Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, Premcor Lima Refinery, and The Ohio Historical Society
Address: 1150 S. Metcalf Street, 
Location: Marker located in a small park at the main entrance to the building
Latitude: 40.7203170
Longitude: -84.1138170