Contributed photo

Looking Back 9/7

During 1879, John Rockefeller and his Standard Oil Company proposed a pipeline that would transport crude oil from the operating wells in western PA to oil refineries located 300-miles away to Bayonne, NJ. The venture would pocket enormous amounts of money, eliminating the extra handling and hefty fees charged by the railroad company. The pipeline entered the Delaware River Valley at Deposit, NY along the Erie Railroad route to Sullivan County.

The Cochecton Pump Station is where Mitchell Creek enters the Delaware River Valley on land purchased from the John M. Tyler estate. It was four stories high; the walls were brick, girders and beams of iron and the roof of sheet metal, making the structure fully fireproof. Brick arches graced all the windows and entryways. Windowsills were made of bluestone. It housed eight coal-burning boilers that powered pumps propelling crude oil through 300 miles of four six-inch pipes.

The Standard Oil Co. closed operation in 1925. On February 17, 1936, Cochecton and nearby towns residents gathered to see the demolition of the landmark. There was concern that the chimney bricks would crumble and fall upon the tracks below. The late Bob White once commented that the bricks were so hard to break down that the demolition crew gave up; thus the ghostly shell and chimney remain. [The present-day pump station is one of the locations we photographed for our Explore the Scenic Byway contest. For a slideshow of all the sights we photographed and answers to what they are and where they are located, visit]


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