Two former plant operators took one last look at the plant Standard Oil built back in the day

The last remnants of a once-prolific gas plant that anchored an oil camp on the northern edge of town have being swept away.
There is virtually nothing left now of what was the 1-C gas plant at the intersection of Lincoln Street and Midway Road.
The plant that produced millions of gallons of gasoline, propane, butane, natural gas and CO2 for half a century is nothing more than dust – another piece of local history gone.
But for two guys who spent a combined 63 years – much of that as head operator –1-C holds special memories.
They've been retired for some time now but Dave Thomas and Bob Hardin, who spent most of their careers with Standard Oil (now Chevron) calling signals at the plant, took a stroll down memory lane Tuesday as enormous pieces of machinery scooped up tons of broken concrete and other debris.
"That plant sent a lot of product out," Thomas said, who retired in 1999, nine years after Hardin. "Many times when we came to work, trucks would be lined up from the loading racks all the way out to Lincoln (street) so we would load what we had and start making more."
Some product, like CO2, was piped back into the fields while some of the propane was piped to railroad tank cars waiting near the Petroleum Club.
"We did that loading operation at night because it was safer," Thomas said.
Production changes over the years rendered the plant obsolete and piece-by-piece the place was dismantled.
"Several years ago they began taking the old plant down," Thomas said. "Now there's nothing left. I mean everything – EVERYTHING – is gone."
A walk around the plant site, though, jogged their memories about what was where.
They remembered when a new operator's shack was built replacing a shed so small they had to stand up to write their reports.
They located the slab the shack sat on.
Hardin brushed away a couple inches of dirt and debris that revealed the names he etched in the cement before it dried. There were the names: Thomas, Hardin, Leaf and Simmons. And the date: Feb. 22, 1971.
For Hardin, 1-C holds other memories.
He grew up there.
"I lived in a house in front of the pool," he said. "My mom took care of the pool. I remember the rent was $10 a month. There were a lot of houses here then. There was a bunkhouse, the pool, and a clubhouse. There were garages for people to park their cars in."
Hardin recalled the time the company drilled a well about 150 feet from his front yard.
"I watched them drill that well and then build the derrick. I had some toy soldiers that were made out of steel. I made parachutes for them and then I would climb up to the top of the derrick, drop them and watch them float to the ground."
Besides the low rent, pool, and clubhouse there was another convenience -- the gas line that went down behind his house with a "drip" gas outlet.
"That's where we got gas to put in the car."
And when the pool was drained the water went down the slope in a pipe to the cooling towers at the gas plant "as back-up water."
Hardin even helped build the plant.
"I was in high school and needed a job so I asked if I could help with the construction. They said OK, but when the union rep came by I had to hide in a cooling tower. I'd be working and someone would yell, 'here comes the union rep' so I'd go hide in the tower."
As Thomas and Hardin continued their stroll around the site a burly guy in a hard hat and bright yellow vest told them they'd have to stay out of the fenced demolition area.
So, they left.
But the memories continued to flow – just like the petroleum products they shipped out of the 1-C gas plant.