Derby Refinery

1102 East 21st Street

Wichita, KS, 67214

37.723,-97.323

Oil was discovered near Wichita in 1915 and this refinery, which opened around 1920, undoubtedly processed crude oil from those fields into usable products. I lived in Wichita for a brief period in the late 1960s as a child and have distinct memories of its odor and the sight of its flare.

Remarkably, I have been unable to find any historical information on the Derby Oil Company online. Since this refinery was referred to as the "Coastal Derby Refinery", there must have been some kind of merger or acquisition between Derby and the Coastal Corporation at some point. Coastal merged with the El Paso Corporation in 2001 and the refinery was closed at some point before I visited in the spring of 2003, reputedly because El Paso had left the crude oil business. It's also probably safe to assume that there isn't as much crude flowing out of Kansas as there used to be. Plans to demolish the facility were announced in 2005 as part of the 21st Street Revitalization Program, but actual demolition does not seem to have taken place until May of 2008. At some point is was superfund site KSD000610543 although the EPA website did not list it as such the last time I checked. Regardless, there was/will be a considerable effort to remediate the effects of 80 years of refining on this location.

Historic photos of the facility are available on WichitaPhotos.org and PopArtMachine.com

Derby Refinery - Wichita Derby Refinery
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Wichita Derby Refinery
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Wichita Derby Refinery

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